A list of essentials for the Michigan multi-day backpacking trip: Part 2

Want to take a multi-day hiking trip? Make sure you are prepared with these essentials.

Multi-day hikes are a lot different than day hikes, and require more careful planning than day hikes do. While a day hike is typically a couple hours through a wooded area in a park some place, a multi-day hike typically involves an overnight stay in a tent or an outdoor facility of some kind. You can do multi-day hiking across several days while staying in more comfortable accommodation like hotels thus requiring less planning and less gear. However, for the hiking enthusiast roughing it on a multi-day backpacking trip can be an experience of a lifetime!

Michigan has several locations where multi-day backpacking trips allow for beginners and experts to put their skills and essentials to use. For example, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore or the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, both in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, have multiple options for a one to five night backpacking trips. However, if you are considering multi-day backpacking you will want to compile an additional list of items and plan carefully.

An earlier Michigan State University Extension article discussed and listed a number of essential items day hikers should consider carrying when embarking on hikes no matter what time of year and weather they encounter. The items listed in this article can be purchased quite easily at a number of locations selling camping equipment.

The items listed for day hikes certainly apply to multi-day hikes just in larger quantities. Multi-day backpackers will need to accurately estimate the quantity of water, food, clothing, and shelter needed for each day and for each person much more carefully. It is crucial to ensure the basic necessities, such as food, shelter, water, and clothing are incorporated into planning for a successful trip. Emergency situations should be given special attention as well ahead of time.

Items multi-day adventurers should add to their list are:

  1. First-Aid kit
  2. Water filtration or sanitization systems
  3. Cooking gear, including camp stove and pots
  4. Rain gear
  5. Shelter, such as sleeping bags, pads, and tents
  6. Knife, pocket knife or camping knife
  7. Quick-dry Towels
  8. Rope and bag for hanging food out of reach of animals or clothes out to dry
  9. Matches and lighter

This list is only a start. The quantity of items depends largely on the length of the journey, number of people attending, weather patterns, cost, weight, and ability level. It also depends on your philosophy and whether or not traveling with less is best. Certainly traveling with less reduces weight and clutter. Joining on a multi-day backpacking trip with a couple people is recommended not only in case of emergencies but also because costs and weight of essentials can be shared too.

Expert advice is strongly recommended ahead of time when planning and executing a successful multi-day backpacking trip. MSU Extension has multiple resources to help with planning for trips, such as how to choose a backpack and specific gear lists for adventurous activities. Additional expert advice can be found at the REI co-op. 

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