View Full Version : Beginner backpacker

04-12-2014, 20:19
Looking to try an overnight backpack trip. Have never hiked to a destination, only car camped.

Day hiked a section of the (NET) M-M trail in Ma today and was thinking about trying the whole thing....(I think 200 miles or so?)

Would probably like to start with a one night, then a two night and so on.

I figured I would ask here since everyone is so helpful and I never hear crickets when I ask a question...:shades:

So.....do you have a favorite thru-hiking/backpacking forum where there is good traffic and the members are helpful? I will have MANY newbie questions.


04-12-2014, 20:23
http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/forum.php should be good, but I've never posted on it (just looked through the archives).

You can also ask most questions here, but they might will get moved to the members only section if you go too off-topic.

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/index.html also good, just pricey.

You can also join some of the group hangs. It's probably a good idea (and is supposedly a lot of fun).

04-12-2014, 20:38
Thanks! I will check those out.

And yes, I do not want to hijack threads here just to talk about my desire to distance hike.

04-12-2014, 20:49
I occasionally look at whiteblaze.net for info, but they're generally not as civil as HF. Better to focus on specific trails you want to hike, google it, and then you'll find info on various forums and websites. Some people use meetup.com to find/arrange trips.

If you're looking for backpacking trips and company, then post a thread in the Hangouts, Campouts, and Trip Planning thread. Or you can join one of the trips somebody else is planning. I've had good luck getting hiking company from HF members, but I don't mind going solo.

I have always wanted to canoe from Little Tupper Lake to Lake Lila in the Adirondacks. You can google your brains out and find limited info on the trip (at least, free info). I'm gonna do it this August anyway.

04-19-2014, 14:28
Welcome to backpacking, Naperica! You may want to check out meetup.com. I am an asst organizer for the DC Backpackers meetup, and we do a lot of "beginner" friendly trips in addition to more strenuous trips. At first I was super hesitant to camp in the woods with a lot of strangers, but I am so glad I did! Most people on the beginner trips are newbies who don't know a lot of other people in the group, nor have much experience backpacking.

If you are interested, look for a group that has car camping trips so you can get to meet other people before you commit to being alone in the woods with them! There are as many leading styles as groups, but with a little luck you could find one quickly you "mesh" with. Plus, a lot of leaders are happy to share gear and knowledge with beginners. My one piece of advice for anyone considering a meetup is to look for a group with a leading team, as opposed to a group with one or two leaders ( ours has about 30), as the former tends to be a little control freakish.

The group hangs here are an incredible resource as well. The hikes in and out vary and you can almost always find someone to hook up with.

Good luck!!

04-19-2014, 17:42
For general questions on backpacking (not local meetups or specific trail info):
Trailspace.com has some very experienced folks in the forums. They seem to be pretty civil over there.
Hit your Paypal account (or checking account) for $10 and become a 'Donating Member' here at HF, and you can ask all the backpacking and hiking questions you want! One really good piece of advice is worth $10 to me, so it's not hard to get ones moneys-worth.

In your (sensible) sequence of day-hike, overnight, 2-nights, etc., I'd suggest adding 'a few hours day hike with full pack for 2-nighter' into the sequence. No need to dive into the deep end right away, and you can get ideas about footwear, pack comfort, etc. that you don't learn on an ordinary day hike.

04-19-2014, 17:55
You're in Rhode Island? There are some great New England forums. I especially like

Have fun!

04-19-2014, 19:11
I highly recommend testing your gear before you hike. Just sleeping in the gear you're going to sleep in on the trail will expose some unexpected things that you really, really don't want to learn the hard way. The nice thing is if something isn't working, you can just move inside and still get a good night's sleep. Trying to sleep when you're cold and wet is not just a buzz kill, it can be life-threatening.

Practice doing key activities like making a fire, cooking your food, setting up camp, and sleeping in the rain. Thinking you can do stuff like that is a light year from knowing that you can. You will gain a lot of practical experience with very little risk or inconvenience compared to trying to figure it out when you're miles from civilization.

One item you might want to think about investing in is an emergency GPS system. These are 4 button waterproof systems - on/off, checkin, non-emergency help request, and 911 (emergency) - that can save your life or someone else's life that you encounter on the trail. You can buy first gen SPOT devices for around $75 and about $100 a year (~$8/month) for the service. That completely changes the safety equation. Your home base back up doesn't have to wonder if you're ok or need help - they know. And, if you get yourself in a serious jam, emergency response teams will know exactly where you are. Trust me, if you get yourself into a fix, you are going to be thinking $75 is a bargain. Cell phones don't work everywhere and won't work if they get wet or the batteries are low.


04-19-2014, 19:25
Have you joined the Donating Members forum here? For just $10 it's a great bargain.

Seeing Bill make fire is worth the price of admission!