Backpacking for Beginners: Featuring The Ozark Trail

Backpacking is somewhat of a new adventure for me.

I have been on several long hiking trips on some pretty tough trails in California, Tennessee etc. so, I thought that the trails in Southern Missouri would be nothing short of a breeze.

Backpacking comes with its own set of unique challenges that I had never encountered before on day hikes.

I spent several weeks researching and comparing different products that we would need for this trip so that we would be completely prepared for anything that might be thrown our way!

I have provided the links and reviews for all of the camping gear my group and I used throughout our backpacking trip.

Here is my advice to any backpacking newbie:

1. Drink water, more water, and then some more water

Staying hydrated while hiking is extremely crucial. Having quick easy access to water is probably the single most important thing to consider on your backpacking trip.

For this trip I used a couple of different things: A Platypus Hoser Hydration System and a Sawyer Water Filtration System.

The Platypus is hands down the best water bladder I’ve ever owned. It holds 3 Liters of water which lasted me an entire day of hiking and also through the night. It fit perfectly in my backpack with no leaks or kinks. The mouthpiece is also super easy to drink from unlike other bladders I’ve owned.

The Sawyer water filter gave us the ability to rapidly filter water out of any river, pond, or lake that we came across. It also reduced our pack weight since we didn’t have to carry extra water around with us. We have recommended this product to all of our hiking friends. 10/10 product.

2. Never underestimate the power of a good backpack

Since this was my first backpacking trip I decided to invest in a smaller/cheaper backpack to make sure this was something that I was going to stick to. It was actually overall a very stable, comfortable, reliable backpack and I will definitely be using on my next trip.

On the contrary, one of the girls in our group was using a backpack that I would assume was from a 1980’s summer camp. This thing had 2 large metal poles holding a small cloth pouch and only had one strap adjustment. She was very uncomfortable the on the whole trip and was unable to hold adequate supplies.

Moral of the story- invest where it’s necessary or it could create a huge damper on the backpacking experience.

3. If you like to eat bring a propane camp stove

For so long I used the camp fire to cook my meals. I purchased a PocketRocket Stove and it changed my life forever. It boils water in about 2 minutes, and it’s very lightweight and portable!

Instead of waiting 10-15 minutes for ashy camp fire water this camp stove gave me clean boiling water almost instantly, which is a plus since I am always starving after a hike!

I used this to cook ramen noodles, instant mashed potatoes, oatmeal, and the list goes on!

4. Keep the bug spray handy

I love the outdoors, but I do not love bugs. That is why I use repellant that contains deet.

I know that everyone has developed a phobia of deet, but in moderation it is going to help you more than it will hurt.

I am not quite sure where we purchased our repellant but this anything with deet will work the best!

5. Hang around in a hammock

The first thing I do after finding a camp site is set up my hammock. It is the perfect place to relax, cool down, and enjoy nature after a long hike.

We have an ENO DoubleNest Hammock and it is super comfortable, flexible, and strong enough to hold 2-3 people. They come in fun colors as well (ours is pink and orange)!

In addition to the hammock we realized after many trips that it is pretty hard to find good trees to attach to. That is why we use the ENO Atlas XL Hammock Straps, they allow us to securely support our hammock even in the most extreme of spaces.
While this is not a full list of backpacking supplies, these were the things I felt were worth noting specifically because of how well they worked for us! Our other supplies such as our tent, hiking boots, sleeping bags etc. were all purchased at second hand.
Stay tuned for more hiking tips and updates on where I’m going to next!




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