The basics to backpacking in San Diego - The CW San Diego - News 8

The basics to backpacking in San Diego

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - After doing the Five Peak Challenge and conquering all the day hikes San Diego has to offer, it is now time to prepare for a backpacking trip.

The first step in your outdoor backpacking journey is picking where to go. To start, try selecting a shorter hike and stay local. Since you are carrying a lot more weight than a day trip, you won’t want to be hiking for too long. You will also want to take into account the season, weather, and elevation gain of the hike. Those conditions will determine what you will be packing and how long it will take to get to the top.

Now it is time to pack. Taking all of your creature comforts can mean a lot of weight so it is important to just pack the essentials. Shelter is important which means a tent, a sleeping pad, and a sleeping bag are key. The type of tents that best suits your needs can range on what kind of weather you're hiking in, how many people they hold, and how much they weigh, so picking the right one depends on several factors. Although San Diego tends to stay sunny year round, the nights are still chilly so you will want a sleeping pad and sleeping bag that are insulated.

Just as clothing for a day hike includes lots of layers, so does clothing for a backpacking trip. Pants for the evening and sleeping are important to stay warm and comfortable socks for hiking can prevent blisters. Another consideration is campsite shoes, which can give your feet a break after a long day on the trail. These can be slip on sandals or shoes that are comfortable and lightweight. Remember weight matters, because you have to carry everything.

Arguably one of the most important essentials is food. Carrying more weight requires extra fuel and packing enough for an overnight trip can be difficult. Not only that, but in order to cook food, kitchen tools need to be packed in as well. Bringing plastic can be lightweight, but for cooking on a small stove top a pan is suggested. Keep it simple with oatmeal for breakfast, roasting hot dogs over the fire for dinner, or even making sandwiches. For snacks think high calorie and high energy including trail mix, protein bars, and just about anything involving peanut butter. Packing light food is important and keeping it simple makes it easier for everybody involved. 

A few last things to consider before going includes getting passes. During the winter season, most parks only require backpackers to get a pass to keep track of who is on the trails, but the summertime requires passes to allow only a certain amount of backpackers on the trail to avoid overcrowding. When on the trails, pack out everything that was packed in and leave no trace behind. Do a sweep of your site before leaving to ensure everything is gone and there is no leftover trash. The last thing to remember is enjoy your trip! Take lots of pictures to remember the adventure and take time to disconnect and bond with the people around you.

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