4 Backpacking Resolutions to Expand Your Horizons in 2020

A New Backpacking record

 

Every year, we make resolutions at New Years and then forget about them by the time we’ve finished sweeping up the tinsel. But this year feels different. This is the year we’re going to push our boundaries, try new things, change it up. In 2017, we hiked the Pacific Crest Trail; in 2018, we launched a company; in 2019 we launched new products and experienced the highs (and lows) of small businesses while still making time to walk off into the woods on occasion.

What makes a great New Year’s resolution? A challenge that pushes you to grow and change. A goal that expands your horizons, brings you joy, makes you feel more alive.

And what’s one of the best ways to find those moments of growth and change, of joy and challenge? Hiking off the beaten track. Backpacking allows you to test the edges of your comfort, challenge your skills and knowledge, and experience joys and vistas like no other activity. But who says that the things that challenge you can’t also be challenged?

Here are four backpacking New Year’s resolutions to take you places you’ve never been before – both physically and metaphysically.

 Hike a new terrain

Hike a type of terrain you've never explored before

If most of your backcountry adventures are deep in the woods, make 2020 your year to try a kayak trip, beach camping, or backpacking through the desert.

Maybe you’ll hate the desert or maybe it will be love at first step. Either way, you’re guaranteed to come back with a broader view of the world and some great stories. You’ll learn about your capacities and your strengths. And you might find a new favorite spot on the planet that you wouldn’t have found it if you hadn’t resolved to take a risk.

What landscape attracts you and also scares you a little? Trust your intuition and your abilities – that could be the trip that changes your life.

 Mile One on a keto thru-hike

Set your personal record for most days in the backcountry

A great way to find your inner thru-hiker is to go off the grid for a trek that’s longer than your past backpacking trips. You don’t have to hike the whole Pacific Crest Trail (unless you want to – then go for it!). Even an extra day or two can change your backpacking experience and your estimation of your own capabilities.

The challenge of finding the right gear and supplies for a longer trip can be a fun puzzle to solve. And the extra time you spend in communion with nature will heal your soul.

 

Lighten up (your pack)

Ultralight backpacking might not be for everyone (we’ll admit to cutting our toothbrush in half, but we’re not ready to go tent-less), but the principles behind it are solid: if your pack is lighter, hiking will be easier. The great folks over at r/ultralight put together an Ultralight Challenge each year to encourage the members of that sub to try new strategies and tactics to shave ounces and pounds off their packs. You might not be ready to “Use found sticks to setup your tarp / shelter” but we’re betting “Go on a trip without a battery charger/bank” is totally achievable (and could save you nearly half a pound).

Change up your trail food

Whether you want to try a no-cook trip or are just looking for healthier options, fuel your next hike with something different. We (obviously) love eating a keto diet on the trail as a great way to get the nutrition and energy we need to power through a change in elevation or a sudden storm. Whether you eat a keto diet at home or not, going keto before and during a backpacking trip will give you the stamina you need to really enjoy your time on the trail.

In 2017, Jessie’s challenge to herself was to hike the PCT. She wanted to stay keto on her trip. That led to another challenge: create delicious, ketogenic backpacking meals for everyone. That’s how Next Mile Meals was born, proving you don’t have to choose between boring and heavy or between nutritious and packable when it comes to trail food.

Our New Year’s resolution is to help you challenge yourself to go further and try new things with the energy that comes from eating a keto backpacking diet.

 

What new adventure will you try for the first time in 2020? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

 

Backpacking New Year's Resolutions

About Us

Next Mile Meals is a small, family-run business that came to life on the Pacific Crest Trail. This blog is our way of giving back to the hiking community; sharing our successes, our failures, and our learnings as we try to eat better, pack lighter, and go farther in our many outdoor adventures.


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