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Everything you need to know about backcountry camping, according to backpackers

While camping, hiking and biking are popular activities, if you really want to connect with nature and get away from your day-to-day, there’s nothing like backcountry camping and backpacking.

If you’re yearning for the seclusion of backpacking but don’t know where to start, there’s no need to worry. We talked to experts to find out everything you need to know and bring when going backcountry camping.

What is backcountry camping?

Backcountry campsites are kept more natural and only have room for a very small number of campers. They lack public facilities like restrooms and showers, but those willing to do the work to reach them are rewarded with sweet solitude. And that “work” doesn’t always have to require hours of hiking. There are many backcountry campsites that are just a five- to 15-minute walk from the car. But if you like the sound of a trek through the woods, there are countless trails and sites to explore if you’re willing to leave you car behind and strap everything you need onto your back.

“Backpacking allows you to cover significantly more ground than day-hiking, so I highly recommend backpacking to anyone who wants to see more beautiful sights,” says Ashleigh McClary a Gearhead at Backcountry. However, it does take more planning than traditional car camping, as you’ll need to figure out where you’re going and what to bring. “You should try to make sure to have a balance of everything you need and nothing extra that you don’t need,” McClary says. “New backpackers often bring too much on their trips and get weighed down with heavy gear.”

Interested in learning more? Find the complete article on everything you need to know about backcountry camping written by Matt Haines and Kai Burkhardt here.

LAST UPDATED

May 5, 2022

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While DEET products may be more familiar by name and their chemical smell, sprays with 20 percent picaridin, like Sawyer Products, offer comparable protection without the harsh odor and oily feeling on your skin.

Kevin Brouillard
Travel & Leisure

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The Sawyer Squeeze was (by far) the most common Pacific Crest Trail water filter this year – for the fifth year in a row. It’s a $39, 3 oz / 85 g hollow fiber filter that rids your drinking water of protozoa and bacteria (and floaties). It can be used with Sawyer bags (included with the filter) or with compatible water bottles (Smartwater is the bottle of choice for many hikers).

Halfway Anywhere
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SAWYER MINI WATER FILTER, $22 This has been my water filter of choice for years now. The bags can be iffy — I have had a few break – so carry a couple. However, the filter itself is reliable, light and inexpensive. -Logan

Bikepacking Team