What I Learned from our First Backpacking Trip

On the first weekend in May, we packed up everything we’d need for one night and walked into the woods. Backpacking, for me, it’s the tip of the iceberg. I needed this trip to be a wild success.What I learned from my First Backpacking Trip-Heidi Schertz (image of a dad and his son hiking along a trail, dad has a backpack)

Eventually, I plan to convince my family to hike the Appalachian Trail with me. I viewed this trip as a gateway. If it went well, then I could find a way to gradually work us up to a 2,000 mile trek. If it spiraled into the pits of despair, I’d have to either abandon my AT hopes or go solo. (I haven’t hiked solo, ever. It’s a personal goal to work on.)

The trip went well. Surprisingly well. My kids did great! The total walking mileage to the site was just under 3 miles. Graham wasn’t feeling well, so I alternated carrying Warren and Graham the whole time in our Onya. Elliot had the bulk of all our stuff. I carried my sister’s ultralight backpacking gear that we borrowed for the occassion.

Things I learned from my first backpacking trip- Walking Towards Less by Heidi Schertz (Image of little boy in a wool coverall and red rain boots walking alond a dirt path)Part of the reason for our success is that we went with 3 other families. There were so many kids to play with. And so many hammocks to swing from. Because we were traveling with so many families, we didn’t need to carry a stove. I dehydrated all the dinners (Unstuffed Peppers with Quinoa from Another Fork in the Trail) and another family brought breakfast.

Things We Loved

  • Our Friends had a Jet Boil Sumo that easily heated up enough water for our meals to rehydrate
  • The total distance was about right for the first trip
  • Our tent was the about the right size-we could bring our packs inside
  • Hammock for hanging out in was worth the weight
  • Our kids loved this little mini animal tracks book

Things I’d Do Differently

  • Double Sleeping Pad- We had a lot of shift around in the night and many of us ended up on the ground
  • Warren needs a different sleeping solution- Warren kept crawling out of his sleeping bag and ended up sleeping inside my bag. There is not enough room in there for both of us. It was a bit chilly
  • Perhaps a Quilt would better suit us.
  • Not go when Graham has an ear infection (whoops) so that he’d walk more/ carry his water
  • I need a different pack
  • I did a great job of packing the kids extra layers. Myself, not so much. Elliot, not at all.
  • I’d like to try this again with just our family and see how it goes

Overall, I’m super pleased. We didn’t buy anything extra for this trip. We only borrowed equipment from my mom and sister. This was a great idea for us. We needed to get a taste to see if this is something we wanted to spend money on. There’s nothing worse than buying a whole bunch of gear and then hating the activity. Also, it gave us a good reference point for when we do go shopping.

Everyone had a good time. Which was the most important element here. I’m not sure why I’m constantly surprised, but my kids really love camping. We are planning to do more camping and backpacking trips next summer.

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About Heidi

I'm a hiking, camping, reading, writing and cooking mom to two crazy boys. I love to knit in my free time.
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