The most overwhelming part of any trip is always the packing beforehand. Whether it is due to a new experience or an unfamiliar area, the concept of packing is usually enough to make me rethink my trip altogether. Spokane and the surrounding areas are filled with hiking and backpacking opportunities galore and it’s important for hikers of all levels to know the essentials of packing.
First things first: water.
“Always bring more water than you think you will need,” said junior Peter Jonas, a trip leader for GU Outdoors.
Whether that is through water bottles or having a method to get water, like a portable water filter, having enough water is crucial for an enjoyable hike.
“You have to stay hydrated, especially when you are going up in elevation,” said GU freshman Kelly Coyne.
A quality backpack is important too. Look for a backpack that fits your torso length and sits comfortably on your back and shoulders. A good backpack has padding on the back panel, on the shoulder straps and on the hip belt strap. A well-ventilated back panel will help control a sweaty back on hot days.
Backpacks can get expensive but are worth the investment when you find the right one. REI and Rambleraven are two shops in Spokane that are highly suggested for backpacking gear.
Clothing can make or break a hike. Try to avoid cotton fabrics, as it holds onto water and will keep your clothing wet. Make sure your pants are comfortable, yet sturdy. Temperatures can vary in the mountains.
“I always have either a rain jacket or a fleece layer,” Jonas said.
Sturdy shoes are a camping must have. Your footwear should provide support for rough terrain and traction on wet and dry.
Snacks are also necessary to fuel your hike. Lightweight foods like nuts, trail mix, jerky, granola and fruits are nice to keep on hand.
“I love LaraBars. Key Lime Pie is my favorite,” said Coyne, “and apples and nuts are my go-to. I always go with cashews because they’re filling.”
“PB&J is timeless,” Jonas said.
He recommends peanut butter and jelly tortillas.
“Just bring a jar of peanut butter, a jar of jelly and a stack of tortillas”, Jonas said “It’s the best.”
As for camping or backpacking, a stove is a must. Whisperlite and Jetboils are two popular models on the market right now. They can be an investment but make cooking much easier. Jonas recommends making gado gado, a common backpacking dish. It consists of a peanut butter sauce you can pre-make at home, noodles, broth and water. To prepare, simply boil the water and broth, add the noodles and serve with the sauce on top.
When preparing for a backpacking trip, space is key. “Just evaluate and ask yourself, will I use this realistically?” Jonas said.
Jonas also said that you should split up gear between group members when backpacking.
Packing minimally is the key to prevent exhaustion and injury, but it is also something you must figure out as you go.
Check your location before going. Knowing…