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How Much Does Backpacking Cost?

Once you decide you want to go backpacking, the first thing everyone does is start shopping. There's so much to buy, and it can be a bit overwhelming. There are lots of lists out there, but let's begin with the basics that most people want on the trail:

  • Backpack

  • Sleeping bag or quilt

  • Stuff sack

  • Sleeping pad

  • Tent or Hammock

  • Tarp

  • Stove

  • Bowl, cup, utensils

  • Water bottle and/or bladder

  • The appropriate clothing, hats, and outerwear for the season plus sleep clothes

  • 10 Essentials

  • Bear bag or canister

  • Food

  • Electronics and chargers

This is a basic and general list, but it gives you an idea of what you'll need to acquire. If you're going to buy the things you need, you'll spend at least $1,000 for intro-level equipment and up to $5,000 if you want to invest in lasting, high-end, ultra-light equipment. Of course, you can always depend on the three B's to bring down your costs: borrow, barter, or find a bargain. Regardless, backpacking requires an investment, and most hiking enthusiasts don't bat an eye at spending time finding deals or shopping around for equipment. Shopping is sometimes the most fun part! Backpackers love organizing their gear share their pics of shiny new stuff on group sites.

Once you've got your gear, you trust that it's not going to fail you. Your backpack will hold up, your tent will keep you dry, and your stove will light even when it's damp outside. All that stuff means nothing if you can transport it - and your body is the vehicle. Now, if you are taking a road trip, you would likely make sure you had air in your tires and gas in your tank. You would assess if your car was road-worthy and could make it to your destination. But the mode of transport in backpacking is your body.

Equipment Failure

After investing in external equipment, have you made sure your body is up for the task?

Think of training for backpacking as doing everything possible to make sure you get the best return on your investment. What's the cost of not training? If you have to bail on your trip or have a miserable time because it's a struggle, you will have wasted a significant amount of time and money. If something more significant happens, like you suffer an injury because you weren't ready, then you'll likely incur an added expense in time and money.

So, what's the best way to ensure that your ROI (return on investment) is the highest it can be? Start training!

Backpacking requires strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance. Therefore, your fitness plan should include all of these! A sample weekly schedule looks like this:

  • Monday: Cardio

  • Tuesday: Strength training and walking

  • Wednesday: Cardio

  • Thursday: Strength training and walking

  • Friday: Yoga

  • Saturday: Progressively long hikes with progressively heavier loads

  • Sunday: Recovery walking or stretching

If you're planning a backpacking trip, you can't afford not to train. If you're not sure where to start, how to work training into your schedule, or how to develop an effective program you'll actually stick with, message me! I can help you make the best investment in your backpacking with the longest return of dividends by helping you become the healthiest hiker you can be!

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