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Backpacking newbie trying to tag along with like minded people

Hey Guys,

I am new to backpacking. As a newbie backpacking can get really overwhelming especially due to the idea of being on your own and of course there's all this gear you have to buy. While I am getting some really good help from the REI store folks but due to the covid 19 situation all the activity classes are not happening. Is it a good idea to look for someone who I can tag along for the first couple of backpacking until to get a hang of it? Unfortunately, none of my friends are up to it so yeah I am on my own.

For a quick background, I live in North Texas and I have done a lot of small to medium day long hikes in Zion, Bryce, Smokies and Rockies NP's so I have some experience. I also like outdoor and nature adventure so that's why I am putting in some money to buy all the necessary equipment and gears for backpacking. Any help in finding like minded people to tag along would be really helpful.

22 Replies


You're welcome! The nervousness is totally normal and to be expected for an adventure that takes you out of your comfort zone. That nervousness will serve you well to help you be prepared when the time comes to hit the trail. Don't hesitate to bring any questions you come across to us here in the community!


At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

One last comment.  Take a good first aid curse, minimum Red Cross Advanced First Aid.  Courses oriented to outdoor settings are even better.  The knowledge gained will be useful in all sorts of situations, not just the wild.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

@trails I agree with what @hikermor said about first aid training. NOLS has a great Wilderness First Aid class that could provides you with the basics of first aid in a wilderness (outdoor, away from people) setting. If you are looking for even more training, they have a Wilderness First Responder certification as well. I've taken both of these courses in the past and would highly recommend them both.

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Yes the wilderness first aid course will definitely help @bryndsharp and thanks for all the good safety suggestions.


@REI-JohnJ had some great advice and I also suggest checking out the backpacking board!

If you have time before your first trip, I also highly recommend doing a day hike with your backpacking backpack (that includes the items you will take backpacking), to help you adjust to the weight and feel of the pack over a longer distance (try to go as far as, if not farther than, the longest day distance you will have while backpacking). 

This will also help you identify any adjustments/changes you might need to make before you find yourself backpacking!

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Sound like a good idea.  Good luck.  By the way, I am doing the Teton Crest trail at the end of August though I have to admit I am still relatively new and learning.  This is my third big trip backpacking.  Before that I horse camped.

@Daxigaitwho doesn't love the tetons. I have been to Yellowstone NP once and I still remember I slept in my car for 3 hours enroute to get a glimpse of the teton sunrise. Unfortunately, all my old pics are in RAW format and I can't find my camera but here is a quick thumbnail type image of the tetons I took.

grand teton.pngteton.png

@trails Very nice.  I did the bridger-teton side 3 years ago and Yellowstone. I don't have as nice a picture of a sun rises you but I have a picture of myself with those mountains behind me. this time I'm going in.

Hi there,

I'm headed to Glacier NP in about 2 weeks. Didn't really have any plans of backpacking, but to the extent you want to tag along the day hikes and still see a beautiful park - let me know!

Have a great trip. I was going to go there this year originally, but with half the Park, most of the campgrounds closed, and reservations cancelled I decided to wait.