Hiking bags and camping backpacks are easier to carry than luggage. I'm already packing mine. By Tuesday of every week, I am dreaming about the weekend and where I'll be hiking. I'm planning and making food, I'm checking weather conditions online and I'm feeling a surge of anticipation for putting the work week behind me and giving the stress to my Mother....Nature that is. Not many people can afford two week luxury vacations, but there is no reason to not take time for yourself in the great outdoors and experience the calming tranquility of a weekend adventure that awaits you in hiking and camping.
Outdoor Backpacks Are Different
Hiking packs are not like little Susie's second grade book bag to be used in the outdoors on hiking and camping missions. A hiking pack needs to be designed for the elements outdoors and with a means of carrying it comfortably once you pack it will all of your necessities for a couple of days. You never realize how much "stuff" you use until you need to contain it. With practice and experience, you will quickly learn what is truly needed and what is just extra when you are camping overnight. Rain showers do pop up, even if you double checked the weather report. You will need a hiking backpack that is water resistant, or cover it with a hiking gear bag meant to make it waterproof. Susie's book bag, most likely will not have multiple compartments for organization of things you need quick access to on the trail. It will not have MOLLE webbing to attach other hiking gear and pouches that contain necessities.
Backpacking Backpacks - How Do I Choose?
Camping backpack selections can be overwhelming, but the folks at www.naturetrailbackpacks.com will help you decide on which type works for the activity you will be using it for. They are a great e-store with knowledgeable staff. No question is too crazy. For hiking overnight you will need a large backpack that can accommodate a sleeping bag and small tent, plus food, water, first aid supplies and some hiking gear. During a day hike, for example, you would use a small hiking backpack. A good rule of thumb is the longer you will be on your journey, the larger the hiking bag should be. It can also be confusion when the size of the hiking pack is stated in liters. For a beginning guideline, camping overnight could be done with a 20-30 liter hiking day pack. Hiking and camping for the weekend would require more like a 40-45 liter outdoor backpack.
Backpack Hiking Weekend Plan
Outdoor backpacks filled with the essentials for being outside all weekend is not as daunting as it sounds. If the "where to go" part confuses you, search online for hiking and camping areas in your zipcode. You may want to opt for a guided tour your first few times, which is not a bad idea if you are an inexperienced hiker. There are groups that hike together that can help you be social and make friends. If you want quality time with your significant other, that's OK too. The beauty of hiking is that you get to choose where, when and how often you go. You can plan everything in advance, which is great for campsites that need a reservation for you to pitch your tent there. You can also "fly by the seat of your pants" and be totally spontaneous. That can be very romantic and carefree.
If you are in the Chicago area, why not enjoy one of these urban hikes: https://traveler.marriott.com/health-and-fitness/walk-this-way-best-urban-hikes-in-chicago/
Hiking Packs Can Contain Surprises
Everything about nature screams romance, yet not many totally get that. You've got blue skies, sunshine, wildflowers, bright stars and moon, campfire light, seclusion and a sense of freedom to do whatever makes you happy. It truly is an aphrodisiac to the senses. A five-star hotel can't compete with a night under the stars. There are even double size air mattresses and sleeping bags to get cozy. When you toss some grapes and non-dairy cheese into your backpack bag, feed each other a late night snack. Spend your time around the campfire talking about the future or reminisce about the past. Keep your relationship alive without the pressures of a tourist type get-away, not to mention the cost is minimal to enjoy the wilderness. You could always shop ahead of the weekend for a little trinket or memento to tuck away inside your hiking bag to surprise your partner with.
Hiking Packs Bring Home To The Outdoors
Small hiking backpacks can carry all you need for a weekend. We all like our creature comforts, but packing for a vacation trip is different. You stuff all you can in a suitcase and pray it doesn't exceed the 50 lb. limit that the airlines impose. Think of packing for a weekend camping hike as different, yet similar. Your time and attention will be spent exploring nature, relaxing under a beautiful sky and empowering your body to move and climb. The only imperative things needed are nourishment and water, protective clothing and outerwear for weather changes, sunscreen, first aid items and some camping gear. You won't need a whole bag just for hair products, makeup and shaving. Hiking is "roughing it" and feeling good about things being natural, so you can travel much lighter.
I am already psyched about going to snowshoe hiking this weekend, but other parts of the country aren't having the colder temps we are experiencing, so I am longing for the camping hiking opportunities that are coming soon with Spring approaching. Why not take advantage of a romantic weekend to get some exercise, alone time to nurture a relationship or solo hiking to decompress from a hectic week. It's all good. Happy hiking!