First backpacking trip….and lessons learned

BUCKS SUMMIT TO THREE LAKES = 11-12 miles (1-way) depending of which signs or GPS used.


Honestly this trip was WAY too much for me as I did not train (this was couch to 12miles) nor did I have any idea of what I was doing, but I always wanted to cross off backpacking from my bucket list and my husband knows what he is doing, so I tagged along. The first 4 miles were uphill and we ascended 1800 feet. Even the first 2 miles I felt like I was adjusting my pack consistently but the weight was way more than what I was used as a day hiker. I’ve hiked a lot before but not with almost 30lbs on my back. Thanks goodness Deuter makes their packs so the hydration bladder can go on the outside of the main compartment as my sleeping bag did not fit in the “sleeping bag compartment” even compressed down. I have a Deuter Futura 34L for women. (try for deals on gear). And the suspension on the pack is not made for that really that kind of backpacking….I also got measured at REI and found out the pack is too short for my torso, ugh.

I have to say – backpacking is exhausting. I liked the adventure but wow, exhausting! I weigh 122lbs so 25lbs is 20% of my body weight so I thought I was right on target for my first trip, but I was WAY UNDER PREPARED as again, this was couch to 12 miles. My back, hips and even shoulders hurt at the end of the day and around mile 6, old soccer injuries started to bug me. The weight made it worse.  I now understand why lighter gear is so expensive and worth it! My brother told me that in the military they say, “ounces equals pounds, pounds equal pain.” And it’s so true. Everything adds up quickly. Here’s what I learned:

  1. LESS is best!! We didn’t over pack…..well, expect water as the drought in California was a concern and my goodness that was heavy but I would consider lighter gear: sleeping bag, pad, tent. 
  2. I have a 34L pack and I would get a larger backpack. I now have the Osprey Aura Anti-gracity 55 or 65L. With better padding and suspension i can carry more weight and not “feel” it as much. (Pic of my old pack below)wpid-photogrid_1439499879426.jpg
  3. Flips flops were key when we got to camp – I was so thankful for my Wal-mart $0.99 flip flops that I just looped through a strap.
  4. I should have brought more freeze dried food. Luckily we had enough and they hit the spot when you are exhausted. I recommend Mountainhouse pasta primavera. It’s like a cheddar cheese soup with spiral noodles, zuchini, red and yellow peppers, broccoli and more. SO good!!

Things I’m SO GLAD I brought:

  1. My sleeping pad – is heavy (2 lbs. 10 oz.) for backpacking so it’s a catch 22 when I complain about weight but man, do I sleep well on this pad. REI now makes the same pad at 1/2 the weight. It’s only 20″ but the long version is the same length as the Incamp. The new pad is the REI Cirrus Insulated Air Sleeping Pad. Anyhow, I would be willing to find a lighter one….I’m a side sleeper so I need some cush under the hips.
  2. Flip flops – it was so nice to just chill at camp with these.
  3. Collapsible mugs – Sea to Summit X-mug. Perfectly fine as a mug or a bowl.wpid-photogrid_1439499798435-1.jpg
  4. Convertible pants – I wear Prana Monarch. I love these for travel as well.
  5. Nike Dri-Fit short sleeve shirt – Get them at Kohl’s and use coupons. 🙂
  6. Wright socks = no blisters
  7. Trekking Poles – I just have some Black Diamond ones that I received as a gift. They are on the budget but hey, they work and I like’em.
  8. Nuun tablets – Strawberry Lemonade was delicious!
  9. Spork – Sea to Summit Alpha Light Spork
  10. Instant starbucks coffee – mixed with hot coco is a nice mocha in the morning.wpid-wp-1439500939567.jpeg
  11. For Ladies – Panty liners, Sorry guys TMI

Things I wish I brought – but optional:

  1. A book – I did find out that my kindle app on my phone in airplane mode will pull up the last book I was reading. Score! 🙂
  2. Some sort of game to play – After a cat nap, we felt refreshed and wanted to do something but conserve energy.

If anyone else has any suggestions,
I would love you for you to leave a comment below!!


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