(CNN) — Every summer, Emily Davenport spends days carrying heavy loads on White Mountains in New Hampshire.
She is sleeping on the ground. She suffers from insect bites and abrasions and returns to civilization. Professional backpacker Davenport lives his dreams.
“You can go to these remote places, these places that might not have been seen otherwise,” she said. “Backpacking is very unique in that you can just escape.”
In recent years, new backpacking routes have opened up some of the most beautiful places on the planet to hikers.
White Mountain National Forests in eastern New Hampshire and western Maine offer ample opportunities for outdoor adventures.
A bit of backpacking history
People have traveled the world on foot for a long time, but romantic artists and poets of the late 18th century helped celebrate walking as a recreation for Europeans, Rebecca Solnitt wrote in her book Wonder. Last: History of Walking ”.
A century later, urbanization in the United States spurred a boom in outdoor recreation as Americans tried to flee the city for some time in the woods.
Early pedestrians simply traveled by land or followed traditional routes, but the growing interest in this activity has affected dedicated trails around the world. Completed in 1930, the Vermont Long Trail was the first long-distance walkway built in the United States. The National Blue Trail, held in Hungary in 1938, was the first long-distance trail in Europe.
Advantages of backpacking
Those early backpackers sought a connection to nature, adventure, and beautiful places. Today, ever-increasing evidence shows that spending a lot of time in the wilderness, like a backpacking trip, has a powerful impact on happiness. Exposure to nature enhances creativity, generosity, and happiness. Hiking is also a great exercise.
And you don’t need a lifetime of outdoor knowledge to hit the trail. She didn’t try backpacking overnight to college while Davenport was hiking and camping. After that, she joined the student group and stayed at the Grand Canyon for 7 nights.
“It was a little scary, but it was an incredible experience and I learned a lot,” she said. Here’s what you need to know to hone your own overnight adventure.
Located along the Sugarland Mountain Trail near the Appalachian Trail in Tennessee, such a shelter is a good option if you don’t want to carry a tent.
How to get started
Start small and take a dry run
You may have dreamed of a full week on the trail, but Davenport suggests that new backpackers start with something a little easier.
“You don’t have to get in shape to try it,” she said. “Hike a few miles on a flat trail and set up a tent.”
However, before leaving, Davenport suggests that hikers put all their gear in their backpacks for a walk in the neighborhood. See how it feels and adjust as needed. If you are wearing new hiking boots, don’t forget to break them before a big trip to prevent painful blisters.
Choose your gear wisely
When it came back to nature in the 1960s, a full-fledged backpacking epidemic began, with hikers heading for the masses, many sports hard leather boots, woolen clothing, and backpacks for outer frames.
Since then, Gear has come a long way. With careful selection, the load does not need to be too heavy. According to Davenport, a fit backpack and comfortable boots are gearlist’s top priorities. Otherwise, you may run into unpleasant trips.
Instead of ordering a backpack online, Davenport suggested going to the store.
“There are employees out there who can help you fit in,” she said. “”[Backpacks] Also, many stores like REI put sand bags because the fit is different when they are heavy. You can walk around the store a bit, and they adjust it to you correctly. “
The same applies to boots. Boots can be fastened with insoles or laces. Davenport said it’s best to find a store with a tolerant return policy. “If you take them out on a hike and they feel terrible, you can return them.”
Before going out on the trail in a group, Davenport asks everyone to empty the pack for inspection. There is usually extra gear that can be left behind, such as extra shirts and extra shoes.
“All you really need is a specific basic layer,” Davenport said. “You try to slim down all those extras you don’t need.” The basics include a wicking base layer, lightweight insulation, and waterproof rainwear.
Even if you’re not deep into the wilderness, it’s worth considering battery-powered satellite devices such as SPOT Beacons. Losing or twisting ankles can be a serious problem, as many backpacking destinations do not have cell services.
You may never use a satellite device, but it can provide you with peace of mind and potentially life-saving access to emergency services.
Borrowing gear for your first foray into backpacking is a good way to see if you’re enjoying it.
Andrew Lichtenstein / Corbis News / Getty Images
Borrow or borrow if possible
All that gear can be expensive, so if you’re getting the feel of backpacking, it’s a good idea to rent or rent gear instead. (This is also a good way to test drive a particular brand.)
Have fun (and don’t try speed recording)
As Davenport prepares a group for a trip to White Mountain, she often hears from hikers who are worried about their pace. “Usually I’m worried they’ll be incredibly slow,” she said.
But if going fast is what you want, there are other easier vacation options. But whether you’re a superfit athlete or struggling to lift a pack after lunch, backpacking is your chance to slow down from the pace of modern life.
“It’s good to be separated from everything,” Davenport said.
Once on the trail, you can listen to the surrounding natural world at a walking pace. Instead of rushing, take in the scenery, listen to the elusive wildlife, and find trailside vegetation that you can never see through your car window.
“Go step by step,” she said. “Have a good time.”
The 211-mile John Muir Trail stretches from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney in California.
Victor Volta / Alamy
Where to go backpacking
You don’t have to be far from home to get started. Some state and regional parks have walk-in campgrounds that are ideal for learning ropes and testing gear.
These world-class backpacking trips offer a once-in-a-lifetime challenge-and spectacular views-when you’re ready to go further:
-Or, find a flock of reindeer as you head 270 miles (434 km) to Lapland, Sweden.