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Backpacking Basics with Emily Schrick

May 08, 2023
Backpacking Basics with Emily Schrick

Emily Schrick

We sat down with Emily Schrick, a passionate thru-hiker and photographer residing in California, to learn more about how those new-to-hiking can prepare for extended backpacking trips. 

In 2018, Emily fulfilled her dream of completing the Pacific Crest Trail. She loves backpacking as it allows her to combine her passions for nature, wildlife photography, and self-sufficiency. She finds it incredibly rewarding to push her limits and accomplish challenging feats, such as reaching a mountaintop or crossing a difficult pass, with nothing but the essentials on her back. 

From Novice to Nature Lover: Embracing the Adventure

My first backpacking trip wasn't very well prepared, but it was still enjoyable. My friend and I didn't have a tent, so we bought a cheap one before embarking. We also didn't really know what to eat, but we managed to watch a beautiful sunset at Second Beach in Olympic National Park. My second backpacking trip in Yosemite was scarier, as we camped in the forest and every twig snap made me worry about bears. However, despite the fear, something made me want to keep backpacking and exploring more places.

As a first-time backpacker, it's common to feel the pressure of choosing the perfect destination, but finding a local trail is a great option. Even if you don't think your area is beautiful, try to re-frame your expectations. If you fall in love with backpacking, you'll feel more confident in choosing another destination. To find inspiration for your next trip, use resources like GaiaGPS, Google Earth/Maps, AllTrails, and social media. If there's a place you're dying to go, make it a priority by saving up, researching permit situations, and finding trip reports online.

Check out Emily’s three-season backpacking gear list:

Meal Planning Tips and Reliable Water Sources
Meal planning and water availability can be challenging when backpacking. For beginners, pre-packaged backpacking meals are a great option that are easy to prepare and require no clean-up. Additionally, a good topo map will have reliable water sources indicated on the map, and having a good water storage bag like the HydraPak Seeker makes it easy to carry water with you. To guarantee clean water, filtering through a personal water filter like the HydraPak 42mm Filter Cap or HydraPak 28mm Filter Kit. This way, you can spend more time enjoying the great outdoors and less time worrying about food and water.


Staying Hydrated, Nourished, and Equipped for Group Adventures
When it comes to backpacking, whether solo or in a group, safety should always be a top priority. If you're leading a group, keep an eye on everyone and make sure they're staying hydrated and nourished. Don't be afraid to take breaks and go at a pace that suits the group. Sharing gear can also help lighten the load, with each person carrying a specific item. And when it comes to water filtration, the HydraPak Seeker+ 6L is a great option for groups. With its gravity filtration system, you can filter water for the entire group with ease, making hydration one less thing to worry about on your backpacking adventure.

What's the #1 safety tip you'd recommend to first-time backpackers?
Staying safe and dry in the outdoors is crucial, and hypothermia is a real danger, even in summer. Wearing sweat-wicking clothing to keep moisture off your body is key, and always use rain gear when it's raining. Keep life-saving items like your sleep clothes, socks, puffy, and sleeping bag dry in waterproof containers. After hiking, wipe your body off, change into dry sleep clothes, and stay warm with your puffy.