Almost all hikers who are serious about their hobby reach a point where they feel the need to broaden their horizons like learning how to hike overnight.
If you’re looking for a challenge, you may want to try a trail that’s more challenging than what you’re used to. It’s possible to discover a trail that is more difficult or has a better perspective from the top as long as you are prepared to travel.
Some hikes, on the other hand, are insurmountably difficult to complete in a single day. This could be the time of year to look into several overnight hikes as a new challenge or as a way to improve your hiking knowledge and expertise.
For some people, backpacking can be an expensive and exhausting way to spend their time, but it is a favorite pastime for many others.
Even if you don’t have time for a week-long backpacking trip, an overnight hike may offer you a taste of what it’s like on a smaller scale, all within the limitations of a single weekend trip. This is just one of the many reasons why overnight walks are so popular with hiking enthusiasts and adventurers alike.
Now is the perfect time to start thinking about your first one. To get you ready for your first overnight backpacking trip, here are a few pointers.
Table of Contents
- 1 1. Keep Things Simple
- 2 2. Plan Ahead Of Time
- 3 3. Make Arrangements For Overnight Hygiene
- 4 4. Packing Essentials
- 5 5. Maintain A Minimal Weight In Your Backpack
- 6 6. Pick The Right Time Of The Year
- 7 7. Consider Safety Protocols
- 8 8. Familiarize Yourself With The Principles Of Leave No Trace
- 9 9. Keep A Record Of Your Hiking Adventures
- 10 10. Additional Essentials & Emergency Gear
- 11 11. Improve Your Fitness
- 12 The Benefits Of Hiking Overnight
- 13 Conclusion: Final Thoughts!
1. Keep Things Simple
If you’ve never been on an “overnight” trek before, that’s exactly what you should do on your first outing. If you’re up for the challenge, you can take a one-night or two-night trip away from home. Short and uncomplicated trips will help you get acquainted with life on the path without committing yourself for a lengthy period of time. For those who have never hiked overnight, it can be a bit of an adjustment.
Carrying a burden makes walking significantly more taxing on the body. It’s important to prepare for an overnight trip by acclimating yourself to long periods of physical exertion as well as carrying your load.
Finally, the transition from sleeping in a tent to a lightweight mat and using all of your other gear—such as a sleeping bag and headlamp—is required. In addition, you’ll have to become used to hiking meals. Make sure your supplies are light and packed with nourishment and components that provide slow-release energy. Even making your own dehydrated meals is a better option than relying on pre-packaged meals.
2. Plan Ahead Of Time
It’s critical to thoroughly prepare for every hike, whether it’s a short day trip or a multi day journey. It is much easier to enjoy yourself when hiking if you have done some before planning. You can plan as much or as little as you like, but there are a few things you should know before you leave.
The weather can have a significant impact on your hiking experience. Find out what kind of weather you can expect and make preparations based on that information. While checking the forecast is a no-brainer, it’s also a good idea to study up on local weather conditions before you go. The weather can change quickly in mountainous and coastal places, and the predictions aren’t always correct.
Plan your hike based on the time of year you intend to go, and research the typical weather conditions for that time of year. What is the frequency of a sudden storm? What is the risk of a forest fire in the summer?
Planning ahead for logistics is an important element of the process. This trailhead is quite a distance away. What if you don’t have a car and need to arrange a carpool with other hikers to get to the end? The logistics of a hike can take some time to set up, but staying near to home can help keep the planning to a minimum.
Before embarking on a hiking trip, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the park’s rules and regulations. To ensure that you are adhering to any local regulations, find out what they are and abide by them.
Is there a cost for camping? Do you require special authorization to go trekking? The official park websites, depending on where you’re visiting, frequently have this kind of information.
3. Make Arrangements For Overnight Hygiene
Because you’ll be sleeping in the open air with no access to a shower, you’ll want to prepare ahead of time. Wet wipes can be used in place of a shower or bath, so you may want to stock up.
For this reason, you should familiarize yourself with park restrictions and bring whatever equipment you’ll need to dig or carry any rubbish you generate. As long as you remain away from water sources, a toothbrush and toothpaste may keep you feeling clean and fresh at night.
Even if you plan to use hand sanitizer, it’s still a good idea to have some soap with you. Hand washing with soap and water is an easy way to remove dirt and grime from your hands.
You can also use a little towel to wipe yourself off, or take a shower and dry yourself off with a modest amount of water. Make a mental list of what you’ll need throughout the day, and especially at night before you go to sleep.
4. Packing Essentials
The majority of your trip’s gear may be borrowed, so there’s no need to spend a lot of money on it. A tent, sleeping pad, and pillow are all you’ll need for a comfortable night’s sleep.
Hiking shoes, socks, trekking pants/shorts, a merino wool vest/t-shirt, and a light down jacket — Cotopaxi has a nice selection – are all essentials for any hiking journey.
As the day warms up, you’ll be able to remove the layers you’ve put on at night and in the early morning hours.
Protective gear such as waterproof clothing is an absolute necessity. If you don’t have a place to shelter yourself from the rain, it’s a miserable experience. Take a water purifier, sunscreen, a headlamp, a basic emergency kit, and a shovel with you if you go camping.
When preparing food, you’ll need tools, as well as access to a burner and a pan. Take advantage of the many pockets and pouches in your pack to store items such as a first aid kit, water, a map, or food.
5. Maintain A Minimal Weight In Your Backpack
A light backpack is essential for any hike, but perhaps even more so for your first one. If you’ve never had to lug around a large backpack before, you’ll quickly learn just how significant it is to shave even a few hundred grams off your load.
Make your life simpler by purchasing lightweight gear, especially when it comes to bulkier items like a tent and a sleeping bag. Lightweight gear, however, is often the most expensive, and you may not yet be ready for full investment in this type of gear. You can also reduce the weight of your pack in various ways.
Because food can be quite weighty, it’s important to think ahead about what you’re bringing and make sure it’s not too much. Remove unnecessary goods, such as additional clothing and hefty toiletries, from your luggage. Be honest with yourself about what you’ll truly use.
Simple and less expensive changes to lighter objects can be made. Switch to a tiny, quick-drying towel or download an e-book to read at night instead of lugging about a bulky book in your handbag. It doesn’t take a lot to make a big difference!
6. Pick The Right Time Of The Year
As unpredictable as the weather might be, try to schedule your trip for a time when the forecast is favorable. As part of your preparation, visit the BOM website and consider downloading their app to stay up to date.
Temperatures in the low to mid-20s are great, as long as the weather is clear. Taking your first walk in the rain or in the sweltering heat is unlikely to provide you with the memorable experience you had hoped for. In late spring, when snakes emerge from their winter slumber, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the weather.
Even if it’s gloomy and cool outside, always wear sunscreen and a hat while out and about. Rather than swigging down a full bottle of water, take little sips throughout the day.
7. Consider Safety Protocols
Choose a local path with distinct tracks and a well-defined route if you take our advice above to heart. In order to make sure you’re going in the proper way, you’ll still need to bring a map and compass. This could also be an advantage of walking with a more experienced companion or group.
Map programs like Strava or Avenza, which are GPS-enabled, are useful for planning and navigating your route ahead of time. You may control how much information you share with the community and how much information you share with performance tracking features by adjusting your privacy settings.
Check in with friends and loved ones, or have an emergency device in case you need it. Make sure you have a means of communication. For your first journey, try to choose an area with decent cell phone reception, but if this is not possible, you may need to think about an alternative.
Satellite Phones, UHF portable radios, PLBs, and Satellite Messengers enhance coverage when mobile phone service is weak. PLBs are a lifesaver when you need to be rescued in an emergency. Satellite Messengers allow you to send an SOS alert, as well as a text message to a friend or family member to let them know that you’re fine.
There are many decent communications outlets and even some ranger stations where you may rent a GPS unit if you want to go hiking frequently.
8. Familiarize Yourself With The Principles Of Leave No Trace
Hikers should be aware of the need to leave no trace when they walk out into the wilderness. It’s about making sure you can both enjoy and contribute to the preservation of nature. To ensure that hikers were knowledgeable about environmental stewardship, the effort began as a not-for-profit in the 1990s. This is now widely accepted as a best practice for outdoor conduct all around the world. The following are the seven guiding principles:
- Prepare ahead of time.
- Camp and travel on hard surfaces.
- Clean up for yourself.
- Do not carry anything you found on the road.
- Reduce the harm caused by campfires
- It’s important to show consideration towards wildlife.
- Take into account the needs of others who may be in the area.
You should also be aware of any additional rules and regulations that may apply to the park where you want to trek, such as limits on campfires.
9. Keep A Record Of Your Hiking Adventures
Hiking is popular for several reasons, chief among them the exhilaration that comes with being out in nature. As well as improving our physical and emotional well-being, it allows us to re-establish a connection with the natural world. So, whether you’re traveling with a camera or just your phone, make sure to document those special moments so you can show them off to your loved ones once you get back home.
The value of journaling cannot be understated, even if a picture says a thousand words. If you’re feeling creative, consider bringing a small sketchbook and some pencils with you.
Additionally, you’ll be able to record your ideas and thoughts, along with the things you’d like to improve on for future excursions. The more information you can provide about your hike, the better. Alternatively, you may come across a fellow hiker who offers some helpful advice.
10. Additional Essentials & Emergency Gear
When venturing into the great outdoors, you need to be prepared. This could include things like fire starters, flares, first aid kits, and bear spray. You’ll want to be sure that in the event of an emergency, you can handle it until you can return to safety.
You’ll want to make sure you’re prepared for any outdoor adventure, whether it’s hiking or camping.
To do this, you’ll need to bring things like sunscreen, bug spray, and either wet wipes or toilet paper. A camping shovel comes in handy when hiking through avalanche terrain or in the dead of winter. Don’t forget to bring any permits or equipment required by the local authorities.
11. Improve Your Fitness
If you’re planning on hiking, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared in terms of training and preparedness in addition to knowing the terrain. As a result, you should prepare your body for the hike ahead of time by engaging in physical activity that will allow you to do so without discomfort.
It’s possible that if you’re just used to hiking a few miles at a time and find yourself sore the next day, a two-day nightly overnight walk might be too much for your ability level.
In order to ensure that you are prepared for an overnight hike, you can go on two longer hikes in a succession. To guarantee that you are prepared for whatever may come your way, plan and practice ahead of time.
The Benefits Of Hiking Overnight
In the end, the best reason to go on an overnight hiking expedition is to experience the thrill. It’s possible to step up your hiking game without committing to a long-distance backpacking trip by taking an overnight hike.
It’s possible to enjoy an unforgettable experience on some overnight hikes that lead to awe-inspiring destinations. It’s possible to enjoy the outdoors while still being able to return home in time for the Sunday night football game or episode of your favorite television show.
It allows you to take in the beauty of nature while also keeping you in check with your own personal boundaries. For those who prefer day treks but want to expand their horizons, this is a wonderful next step.
More than simply expanding your hiking expertise, overnight walks are an enjoyable opportunity to spend some time in nature and disconnect from the commotion of daily life.
Although an overnight vacation may not sound like an adventurous getaway, spending a few days in nature can be beneficial. Indulging in nature’s splendor can help you return to work on Monday feeling energized, healthy, and ready to tackle the week’s challenges.
To prepare for longer backpacking journeys, overnight hikes can help by allowing you to gradually build up your stamina without having to immediately embark on one of the more challenging hiking routes. We’re confident that you’ll enjoy the convenience and fun of an overnight hike!
Conclusion: Final Thoughts!
The most important piece of advice on this lineup is to have fun! Overnight hiking is one of the best ways to experience the outdoors, even if you have second thoughts about carrying 18 pounds of gear through the wilderness for a single night.
It’s okay to take your time and enjoy the beauty of nature. You don’t have to be connected to technology or social media to do this. You may just sit back and observe.
Hey Guys I am Michael, I am a writer & editor at Outside Origin. I love being in the outdoors and I hike quite often. I have actually hiked at Inca Trail, Samaria Gorge, and Milford to name a few. I plan on visiting more locations and hiking trails!