Main Body

1. Backpacking for Beginners

Why Backpacking as a PE Course?
Backpacking represents an alternative healthy lifestyle choice. A simple explanation of a healthy lifestyle is one that reflects proper nutrition and regular physical activity to keep one in good physical condition and to help manage stress. Backpacking and other outdoor activities present an alternative to traditional forms of physical activity at UGA offered in other PEDB courses or through UGA Recreational Sports.

Outdoor or adventure recreation focuses on certain high-risk activities (rock climbing, paddling, hiking, cycling), but also provides the physical benefits of cardiovascular and muscular exercise. For example, in this backpacking course you will experience a cardiovascular endurance workout throughout the trip as well as a muscular strength and endurance lower body workout. Typically, a trip covers approximately 8-12 miles on an established trail while you carry 30-40 pounds of gear in your pack.

Below is a picture of a backpacking group at Black Balsam, NC.

Backpacking group picture

Backpacking for beginners: Where do I start?

A good place to start is the REI website which provides extensive resources, equipment, and guidance with regards to backpacking and hiking.

  • Check out the ’12 Tips for Beginning Backpackers’ by REI HERE.
  • HERE is some advice on getting in “backpacking shape” by REI.

A note about the trips:

The trips that you will be going on this semester are led by UGA Outdoor Recreation Trip Leaders. These leaders are your peers, they are fellow students. They are here to help you along in the trip to provide safety and management of the group. However, from the knowledge gained through these readings and the practice skill sessions you attend in class, you should be taking an active role in the trip and all of the activities that go along with it. Please be prepared to demonstrate your comprehension and understanding of course concepts during these trips.

*In the following sections of the course, you will be given many links to external websites that provide in depth information on a variety of topics related to backpacking. These are very useful and should be read carefully to help prepare you for your upcoming trip this semester.

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Ch.1 - Backpacking by UGA PEDB Program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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