To some backpacking can seem daunting at first. It is best to start out with small half-day or day-long treks with easier terrain, before taking on larger adventures. This will allow your body to get acclimated to carrying a smaller backpack as you will undoubtedly need less gear for an afternoon backpacking adventure than for a weekend's stay in the wilderness. Slowly increase the distance that you backpack as well as the amount of items that you carry. This will help you build up your muscles and cardio vascular system to take the more strenuous treks in stride.
It goes without saying that in order to go backpacking, you'll need a backpack. There are a variety of packs to choose from. You'll see internal frame backpacks as well as external frame backpacks. There are even backpacks that are shaped specifically for women. Some are more lightweight and others will offer you more storage space. There are smaller day packs that look very similar to the backpacks you used to bring to school as a kid. These are great for day trips where you won't need to pack much. You may also consider a hydration system which is essentially a wearable source of hydration for your backpacking hike. It may be best, when starting out, to speak with a knowledgeable outfitter or salesperson at your local outdoor store in order to find exactly what you need for your backpacking adventures. Keep in mind what you will need to carry as well as having enough space to hold provisions for the length of time you plan to be out on the trail. Your backpack will be one of your biggest tools, and you need to be comfortable with it. It must also serve the your purposes completely. With the variety of comfortable and high-quality backpacks available today, you shouldn't be hard pressed ot find exactly what you need.
There are also several high-quality hand held GPS and mapping electronics available on today's market. Companies such as DeLorme, Magellan, Garmin, Lowrance and others have made incredible improvements to their hand held GPS systems in recent years. In addition, many different maps are available for these hand helds. It is best to check which mapping software is compatible with each type of GPS system. Make sure that the areas where you will be backpacking are well covered by the software available for the GPS you choose. It is also a good idea to talk to other backpackers who use hand held GPS units to find out what they like and don't like about each manufacturer or software.
Backpacking can be a safe and fun adventure, and nothing can beat the scenery. Take some care out outfit yourself properly, and you will find yourself making memories that others can only dream about.
First and foremost you will want to take care of your feet. They are, after all, going to carry you on all of these adventures. You will want to spend some money on your hiking boots or shoes. You want them to be of the highest quality you can afford. Having extra moleskin on hand is also a good idea. Keep in mind that you will most likely be backpacking in all kinds of conditions so waterproof shoes or boots that fit your feet perfectly should be your highest priority.