(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.

31-year-old Davenport works as a guide to the Appalachian Mountains Club, the oldest outdoor group in the United States. She has led hikers for seven years on several days of trekking. White Mountain National ForestIncludes the famous section of 2,190 miles (3,524 kilometers) Appalachian trailThe longest hiking trail in the world.
Backpacking is a daunting task, but Davenport said his efforts paid off brilliantly. trip experience.

“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.”

Where do you run away? In the United States, backpacking is National Wilderness Conservation SystemCars and even bicycles are banned.
Such wilderness extends to soaring Colorado Maroon Bells To Arctic National Park Gate In Alaska, it’s a dramatic landscape of grizzly bears and caribou. The wilderness area is just the beginning of US backpacking. The country is surrounded by two spectacular long-distance hiking trails, the Appalachian Trail and 2,650 miles (4,265 kilometers). Pacific Crest TrailThere are many short routes in between.

In recent years, new backpacking routes have opened up some of the most beautiful places on the planet to hikers.

Slovenian Juliana Trail Connecting the mountain villages of the Julian Alps with the summit Red Sea mountain trail In Egypt, we are traveling through the dry Bedouin territory. World-class backpacking is everywhere in Bolivia, Japan and Morocco.

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.

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.”

At White Mountain, Davenport’s favorite beginner destinations are: Naumann tent siteA forested shelter just 2.5 miles from Trailhead. If you don’t have a tent, or don’t want to carry one, you can hike to a one-way roof instead. Ethan Pond Shelter, By a clean pond on the edge of Pemigewasset Wilderness.Hundreds of such Shelter Suitable for backpackers along the Appalachian Trail.

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.

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.)

The Appalachian Mountains Club is a lodge where Davenport is active. Highland Center Lodge When Jododge LodgeWe will prepare a room with rental equipment that guests can stay in.
In recent years, gear rental services have emerged that ship camping and backpacking kits to your home or destination.Backpacking Oregon “pods” Xscape pod Includes high quality packs, tents, headlamps, cooking kits, and other essentials for planning shipments to the 48 states of the continental United States.Kit from Arrive outdoors It has similar value in California.
If you already have your own gear, consider renting an extra with an a la carte option. Camp crateYou can find everything from trekking poles to high-tech camping stoves.

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.

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:

-Plan overnight-or walk for a full week-along along 211 miles (340 kilometers) John Muir Trail From Yosemite National Park, California.
-Walk to a 33 mile (55 km) hut in New Zealand Milford truck In the country’s Fiordland National Park.
-Climb steep hills for spectacular views of New Hampshire’s 30-mile (48 km) Pemiloop. Pemigewa set wilderness..
–Participate in a 143 mile (230 km) Egyptian guide Shinite TrailA long-distance hike across the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.

-Or, find a flock of reindeer as you head 270 miles (434 km) to Lapland, Sweden.