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Hi! from Charlotte, NC

Hi! I'm Hannah! I'm getting ready to do my first backpacking trip next month, so I figured I'd join this community and get some real life tips from the experts! And those who just like to pretend to be expert 😉

I'm right outside of Charlotte, NC. I grew up in Vermont and the mountains of NC, so i guess a love for outdoors was just baked in right from the start. I'm a (slow) runner who has done a few half marathons. I love to travel, and am looking to explore more in my own backyard.

Any tips or whatever are welcome!

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Welcome!

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

Welcome to the club 🙂

I am definitely not an expert but a few things did pop into my head from your post that I thought I'd share:

  • Get out.  Sounds like you've already got this one but the saying "perfect is the enemy of good" is huge.  Start where you are, use what you've got and do what you can.  Just get out 🙂
  • Ask.  There are TONS of super smart folks on here that literally LOVE to share what they know.  When you have questions, ask.  
  • Try before you buy.  Backpacking can get expensive fast.  Figure out where you're going and what you'll need.  Three season or four?  Rain?  Snow?  Mountains?  How long will you be out?  Once you know where you're going (sounds like the Appalachians), nail down your "big three".  REI will let you bring in all of your stuff, fit you for a pack, fill it up and wander around the store with it for a while.  That's incredibly helpful.
  • Have fun.  Do what makes you happy.  If you want big miles, go for it.  If you want 1, 2, 3 or 4 miles, kust as good.  If you dont want to get wet, don't (well, try not to 🙂 ).

This ended up longer and more rambling than I'd hoped but I hope it helps!  Be sure to keep us updated onnyour adventures!

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

Anathema to REI, but, my advice is to NOT buy a bunch of gear before you start. A few things, yes. Beg, borrow, rent! Go without.

Pick easier trips first. See what others are using outside. Talk gear - most of us have complicated relationships with attachment to shiny objects.

Finally, surmount your problems with a smile - these are the experiences that cleave off the unneeded hubris we don't have to carry anymore. And the stories you can tell, about that time that...

Hi @hannah_sc ! And welcome! Glad to have you here.

I tend to agree with both @nathanu and @SolaceEasy .  Don't let all the gear choices overwhelm or intimidate you.  And, while there is a TON of valuable information, suggestions and recommendations available here, there are almost as many opinions as there are people on this forum.  I should know.  I have plenty of opinions and recommendations myself.  LOL  But, while all have value, not all of those opinions are suited to all outdoor enthusiasts.  

One of the simplest, yet most profound bits of wisdom I've heard here is "Hike your own hike."

 

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

Welcome @hannah_sc! These are all likely items you are well aware of, however, just in case I am going to throw them out there. 1. Make sure you have a point of contact who knows when you are leaving, your anticipated travel plans, and when to roughly expect you back. 2. Depending on how remote you will be, I highly recommend an emergency transponder such as a SPOT or Garmin InReach. (Yes, you can absolutely get by without one of these, but it's nice for piece of mind if you think you will be regularly traveling remotely). 3. While society has become heavily dependent upon very capable electronic devices, there is no substitute for a map and compass and knowing how to use them.

As others have said, there is so much gear out there to choose from. You will often be choosing between affordability, weight, and quality/durability. The lighter and better the equipment, the more expensive, usually. Enjoy the adventure!! Stoked for you to get out there 🙂 I hope we will see some post trip updates!

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