Any time you consider starting a new sport or activity, there are barriers to overcome. And when it comes to backpacking, those barriers can seem pretty daunting.

  • I mean, how are you supposed to find the right gear?
  • Where should you go?
  • Do you need to have a group of people to go with?
  • What types of emergencies should you be ready to address?
  • What should you pack?
  • How much money is it going to cost?

The fact is, there’s a lot to consider, but luckily we got the scoop on overcoming these barriers from Fitpacking owner, Steve Silberberg, during a recent Google Hangout. Check out the entire interview below, but here are a few quick tips:

  • You can sign up for a group trip through organizations like Fitpacking or outdoor retailers like REI if you don’t have a group to go with
  • Gear is expensive, but you can usually find a friend or acquaintence who is willing to loan their gear out. Some retailers have rental options as well.
  • Summer is the best time to take your first trip if you want to keep your expenses lower. You’re also less likely to have to deal with the more extreme weather conditions, as long as you stay out of the desert climates.
  • Pepper spray is a reasonable deterrant for bears.
  • Always provide family and friends with a map of your route and when you expect to be back.
  • You should plan on consuming a gallon of water per person, per day.
  • Hiking trips can be a great way to meet people and possibly kindle a romance. Just don’t sign up for a “singles” hiking or backpacking trip — then you end up with people who are hunting for romance, and if you don’t click, it can get awkward.

Enjoy the full interview here >>