What is Backpacking?

And how it's different than Hiking

Backpacker standing on top of a mountain and enjoying sunrise.

Backpacking is a fun and exciting way to travel. To understand what backpacking really is, it's best to look at what a backpacker is.

A backpacker is someone who doesn't want to just lay on the beach for weeks on vacation but wants to have exciting new experiences in areas they may or may not have been to. Backpackers are often interested in being outdoors and away from the city. They love to find new adventures, new lands & tails, even meeting the "locals" from other countries as well as seeing the sights and experiencing their culture.

Backpacking is very cost-friendly, and you can experience the great outdoors in ways that most people will never experience. That, of course, comes with some of the greatest stories you can tell and pictures you can show your friends and family.

Every trip has a lot of incredible moments, sights and conversations. Lots of websites will give you plenty of info on how to backpack, but the absolute best way is to go backpacking yourself by starting with a simple day trip somewhere close to home. Before going on your first overnight, you should take the time to properly prepare yourself before going. Do some research on where you'll be going, what trails you'll be taking to get there, make a solid packing-list and research the weather. I highly recommend giving it a try and seeing how great it is for yourself!

A tent glows under a night sky full of stars.

Backpacking means everything you need on your adventure is in a pack on your back. That includes clothes, food, personals and of course camping gear. Backpacking also means that there is at least one overnight in the plan, but can stretch to days or even weeks. Backpacking adventures rarely follow local trails and are more off-the-beaten-path. Pre-planning is a must; knowing the route and camping location before the leaving makes the experience much more enjoyable.

How is backpacking different than Hiking? Some think hiking is more of a stroll on local trails at a leisurely pace where you hardly break a sweat but still get outdoors and experience nature. Well, not so fast. I see hiking as a shorter version of Backpacking without the overnight camping. This means a lot less gear is needed and instead of a large backpack, a smaller daypack can be used. Very often on multi-day trips, the backpacker will bring along a daypack and go out on short treks centered around camp.

What are your thought? Comment below!

Chris Sgaraglino

Over the past 37 years of my adult life, I have gained a very diverse portfolio of adventures from which I have been blessed to be a participant. This wealth of experience and knowledge has defined my character, my morals and values, and my healthy respect for people and the great outdoors. It is a true definition of an Outdoorsman!