Welcome To Better Backpacking

I had spent far too many summers wishing I had done more in the outdoors, specifically backpacking. Summer after summer would pass and I'd fail to pursue whatever adventure I had played out in my head. A lack of basic backpacking knowledge locked me up to the point where instead of just going, I remained home on weekends with a head full of wishes, dreams, and disappointment.


Girls backpacking in snow

Backpacking is easy

The truth is, backpacking isn’t actually all that complicated. It just LOOKS complicated because stores like REI make it practically impossible to see the forest through the trees. I know, because I’ve been there.

I promise in time you’re going to find that backpacking is about as simple of an activity as can be and the more simple you make it, the better it often gets.

Backpacking through an open meadow
Photographing the sunset on a backpacking trip
Backpacking into the morning fog

Why backpacking?

Because there’s something really special about unplugging from the world and reconnecting with nature, even if it’s for a single night. It grounds us again and has a strange way of renewing the soul. I once asked a guest on the podcast why it is she thinks the wilderness helps us see again, and her response was “because it’s like we’re going home to where we belong.”

The best part of it all is that backpacking comes in a multitude of styles and literally anyone, and I mean ANYONE, can do it. Big, small, old, young - it doesn’t matter. There is no profile to what a “backpacker” is or is not. Only you can decide for yourself what your style is, what you enjoy, and it’s all based on why you’re out there in the first place.


Finding your backpacking story

For me, it’s been a journey in finding a new perspective on life. By my own free will, backpacking has broken me down physically and mentally and built me right back up again to the point where I know more about myself than I ever could and it’s bonded me with people who are complete strangers. In just a few short years after taking that first leap into the unknown, I’ve hiked over 2000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2017, hunted elk in solitude miles from the nearest trail head, harvested my first deer while alone in knee deep snow, and finally found peace with being alone in the mountains.  

But that’s my story. You have your own story to write and I highly encourage you to pursue what YOU want to do and never compare your journey to what you see on social media. It’s futile and leads to nothing but a sour attitude and un-fulfillment.

Sunrise over the lake
Storm clouds moving in when backpacking

Becoming an Experienced backpacker

If, by chance, you find yourself not enjoying something or in pain, know that it can be changed and adjusted to where you DO enjoy it. Each and every experience you have will build upon each other. You’ll learn new skills, try new things, and push yourself further than you ever had. Just make sure that when you do, it’s your decision and not someone else’s.

Mountain views while backpacking

Oh the places you’ll go

By Land is dedicated to those who want to learn how to backpack better, push themselves further, and those who want to be real about the struggles involved. This is a place where people of all skill levels can come to learn.

There's not always a right or wrong way to do things and as you'll soon learn, trying out new things is all part of the fun!  As you read these articles, listen to these podcast episodes, and watch the videos, you'll begin to gain confidence in the outdoors and before you know it you'll be off on a grand adventure in no time!  

By Land,

Emory R. Wanger