Things I’ve Learned On My First Backpacking Trip… AKA The AT
⁃ Get meals that allow you to cook in the packaging because drinking the water from cleaning the pot you cook in is NASTY.
⁃ Be calorically efficient in your choices of bars or snacks, but also make sure you have some fun foods too. A couple Sour Patch Kids can change a lot.
⁃ Get a bear proof food sack so you don’t have to worry about hanging your food or deal with the weight of a bear can. Yes, they’re expensive, but they’re worth not worrying.
⁃ Get a pot a scraper! They make cleaning your pot at the end of a meal so much easier. A tortilla also works great!
⁃ When you filter water, use a bladder for your dirty water because it makes squeezing the water through a filter SO much faster.
⁃ Sleep with your water filter!! If it freezes you have to buy a new one.
⁃ Swallowing whitening toothpaste is nasty, so get a toothpaste that won’t hurt going down.
⁃ Pushing miles to get to a privy is worth it if you’re still adjusting to pooping outside.
⁃ Outdoor wipes are AMAZING when you only shower once a week.
⁃ Glide is a must.
⁃ For those with long hair, braiding your hair in town and leaving it for a week is a great way to keep dirty hair under control. However, make sure you have a buff or headband that will cover your scalp.
⁃ Make sure you pack out enough toilet paper.
Random Other Things to Know
⁃ Taking turmeric for swelling and magnesium for muscle health has CHANGED the game for me.
⁃ I’m allergic to the down in my bag, so I end up with a puffy face in the morning. My solution is allergy medicine before bed!
⁃ Sleep with less! We were freezing until we figured out that the less clothes you sleep in the warmer your sleeping bag will get (body heat! Duh!!)
⁃ Put your clothes for the next day in your bag as well as anything sweaty from the day before so that they dry/ get warm by the morning.
⁃ Puffy booties for the night time are fantastic.
⁃ Have a towel or cloth to wipe the condensation out of your tent in the morning.
⁃ Using apps like Far Out are super helpful. Make sure to read the comments on each shelter too! Some shelters have worse mice problems than others, and some shelters turn out to be far off the trail.
At the end of the day, everyone hikes their own hike and learns what works for them! If you’re nervous about hiking the AT, don’t be! People are more than happy to give you advice along the way as long as you’re willing to listen. Not everything that works for me will work for you, but that’s the point! This community is for sharing and learning.
Comment anything you’ve learned that’s helped you along the way!
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