Slackpacking: A Guide for Beginners

Welcome to the world of slackpacking, where adventure meets relaxation. Slackpacking refers to the practice of hiking without the burden of carrying a heavy backpack. It allows you to explore new destinations while enjoying the scenic beauty and serenity of nature without the hassle of traditional backpacking.

What is Slackpacking?

You may have heard of backpacking, but have you ever heard of slackpacking? Slackpacking is a form of hiking where you carry only a daypack, while your main luggage is transported to your accommodation each day. This means you can enjoy the adventure of hiking without the burden of carrying a heavy load.

Slackpacking is becoming a popular outdoor activity for people who want to explore new destinations at their own pace while enjoying the comfort of overnight stays in cozy accommodations. Slackpacking routes can range from short day trips to multi-day hikes, depending on your preferences and skill level.

By slackpacking, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, explore new trails, and challenge yourself physically and mentally.

Overall, slackpacking offers a unique and rewarding experience for those who want to combine adventure with relaxation.

Essential Gear and Packing Tips

Being well-prepared for a slackpacking adventure is essential for a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some essential gear and packing tips to keep in mind:

Choosing the Right Backpack

Investing in a quality backpack that fits properly is crucial for a comfortable journey. Look for a pack that distributes weight evenly and has adjustable straps for a custom fit. Consider the capacity of the backpack, as it should be large enough to hold all necessary gear without being too heavy.

Packing Efficiently

When packing for your slackpacking adventure, it’s important to pack efficiently to avoid unnecessary weight and bulk. Start by making a checklist of essential items and only bring what’s necessary. Use compression bags to maximize space and organize your gear by packing items in dry bags or ziplock bags to keep them protected from the elements.

Essential Gear Checklist

Item Use
Hiking boots or shoes Provides support and traction on uneven terrain.
Clothing layers Wear moisture-wicking and quick-drying layers to regulate body temperature.
Tent or shelter Provides protection from the elements and a place to rest.
Sleeping bag and pad Keeps you warm and comfortable while sleeping.
Food and water Bring enough food and water for the entire journey, and consider using a water filtration system or purification tablets if necessary.
First aid kit Includes essential medical supplies for emergencies, such as bandages, antiseptic, and pain relievers.
Navigational tools Includes a map, compass, or GPS device to ensure you stay on course.

Additional Tips

  • Break in hiking boots or shoes before embarking on your journey to avoid blisters and discomfort.
  • Check weather conditions before heading out and bring appropriate gear for rain or cold weather.
  • Carry a lightweight and portable backpacking stove to cook meals and save space.
  • Use trekking poles for added stability and to reduce strain on your knees while hiking.

By following these essential gear and packing tips, you’ll be well-equipped and prepared for your slackpacking adventure. Remember to pack light, stay safe, and enjoy the journey!

Finding the Perfect Slackpacking Route

Finding the perfect slackpacking route can be overwhelming, especially for beginners. It’s essential to choose a route that matches your skill level, interests, and physical abilities. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a slackpacking route:

  1. Distance: Determine how far you’re willing to hike each day. Shorter trails are suitable for beginners, while more experienced hikers can tackle longer routes.
  2. Difficulty: Consider the terrain, elevation gain, and weather conditions on the trail. Choose a route that matches your hiking experience and physical abilities.
  3. Scenic beauty: Choose a route that offers stunning views and unique landscapes that resonate with you.

Now that you know what to consider when choosing a slackpacking route, here are some of the world’s most popular slackpacking destinations:

Destination Description
Appalachian Trail, USA A 2,200-mile trail that stretches from Georgia to Maine, offering breathtaking views of the Appalachian Mountain range.
West Highland Way, Scotland A 96-mile trail that takes hikers through the Scottish Highlands, passing lochs, hills, and historic landmarks.
Routeburn Track, New Zealand A 20.5-mile trail that takes hikers through Fiordland and Mt. Aspiring National Parks, offering stunning views of alpine lakes, waterfalls, and mountains.

These destinations offer a range of slackpacking experiences for all levels of hikers. However, there are many more destinations to explore, so do your research, and find the perfect route for you!

Safety Tips and Navigation Techniques

Slackpacking can be an enjoyable and fulfilling outdoor activity, but it’s important to prioritize safety. Here are some essential safety tips and navigation techniques to keep in mind:

Safety Tips

  • Always tell someone your planned route and expected return time.
  • Check the weather forecast and trail conditions before setting out.
  • Carry a first aid kit, whistle, and flashlight in your backpack.
  • Stay hydrated and bring enough food for your journey.
  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear for the weather and terrain.
  • Never approach or feed wild animals.

By following these safety tips, you’ll be better prepared for any unexpected situations that may arise during your slackpacking adventure.

Navigation Techniques

Navigation is a crucial skill for any slackpacker. Here are some tips to help you navigate your way through your chosen route:

  • Familiarize yourself with the map and the trail markers before setting out.
  • Use a compass or GPS device to keep your bearings and track your progress.
  • Pay attention to the surroundings and landmarks to help you stay on track.
  • Stay on the marked trail and avoid shortcuts or unmarked paths.

By mastering these navigation techniques, you’ll be able to enjoy your slackpacking adventure with greater confidence and peace of mind.

Embracing the Slackpacking Lifestyle

Congratulations! You’ve completed your first slackpacking adventure, but the journey doesn’t have to end there. Slackpacking is more than just a one-time activity; it’s a lifestyle. Here are some tips to help you embrace the slackpacking lifestyle beyond your initial trip:

  • Stay active: Keep up your physical fitness by continuing to hike and explore new trails. Join local hiking groups or organize your own slackpacking adventures with friends.
  • Practice sustainability: Respect the environment by practicing Leave No Trace principles and reducing your carbon footprint. Consider using eco-friendly gear and supporting local businesses on your future slackpacking trips.
  • Stay involved: Join slackpacking communities and forums to stay connected and informed about new destinations and experiences. Share your stories and learn from other slackpackers.
  • Maintain mental wellness: Enjoy the mental health benefits of slackpacking by incorporating mindfulness and relaxation techniques into your lifestyle. Take time to appreciate the beauty of nature and unplug from technology and stressors.

By embracing the slackpacking lifestyle, you’ll not only enhance your own personal experiences but also contribute to the preservation and appreciation of the great outdoors.


Slackpacking is an exciting and fulfilling outdoor activity that offers the perfect blend of adventure and relaxation. With our beginner’s guide, you now have all the essential knowledge and tips to embark on your first slackpacking adventure with confidence.

Remember to plan meticulously and equip yourself with the right gear and equipment. Stay safe on the trail by following our safety tips and navigation techniques. And above all, immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and embrace the slackpacking lifestyle beyond your initial journey.