Thoughts Every Backpacker Has on the Trail

Thoughts Every Backpacker Has on the Trail

Thoughts Every Backpacker Has on the Trail


Backpacking is a great opportunity to be with yourself and connect with nature. By being away from your daily routines, there’s a lot more time to let your mind drift off and think about things. Without everyday distractions, being outside and carrying your life on your back can really make your mind wander to places even further away from where you are. Despite what you might be thinking about on the trail, it’s guaranteed that every backpacker has had these thoughts at least once while hiking.

Is This Real

“Well, this is a lot heavier than I thought it was”

Even if you’ve slimmed down your backpack to a mere extra pair of undies and just the bare necessities, it’s inevitable at one point or another your bag is just going to feel too heavy. As hard as you try not to think about it or complain, there’s no doubt that every backpacker wishes he or she had a magic gadget that could shrink their entire bag down to a small space bag you could fit into your pocket.

“Damn, I should’ve brought __________!”

Even though your bag might feel undeniably heavy, and even though you’ve checked and rechecked your packing list multiple times, there is always that ONE thing you wish you had remembered to bring, or the thing you wish you had but decided to leave home. Whether it’s the old camera you or your favorite windbreaker, you really wish you could go back in time and pack it.

“How long until we get to __________?”

It’s no doubt that you love the journey just as much as the destination. But, this four hour hike is starting to feel like it’s 10 hours, and you could’ve sworn you left the trailhead hours ago but it’s really only been twenty minutes. You remind yourself over and over again how much you love hiking and that it’s ‘all part of the experience’, but let’s be honest…if you could fast forward to that summit, the waterfall, or that lake you’re trying to reach, you might feel a tad bit more enthusiastic.

“I think I can, I think I can”

Hiking is not always easy. In fact, it can be one of the most physically challenging things you’ll ever do. It can be easy to lose motivation along the way. You tell yourself to keep moving; that you’re not short of breath, you don’t have heat exhaustion (you’re just a little sweaty), and you really CAN do it. Actually, this thought isn’t only a thought, because you’ve definitely said it out loud to yourself numerous times.

I Can't Wait to Do This Again

“Is this real?”

So, you’ve seen photos of this place many times before, and you knew it would be just as stunning when you’ve seen it for yourself. But, now that you’re actually here, you actually can’t believe your eyes. Crater Lake is really that blue, and the cliffs and canyons of the Arizona desert are really that red. You feel so blessed that you actually made it here, and start to appreciate your life and the world around you much more than you ever have.

“I’m gonna die out here!”

Okay, maybe not every backpacker has had this thought, but if you haven’t, think of yourself as lucky. Whether it’s the extreme weather, hiking along high cliffs, or getting so physically exhausted that you think you might just sit and pass out where you are, the thought that you might die and no one will find your body as it gets eaten by decomposers, has crossed most backpackers’ minds at some point. Though, at the end of it all, you realized you were just overreacting.

“I can’t wait to shower”

Even though you knew you’d be dirty for days, somehow mentally preparing for it really wasn’t quite the same as actually being that dirty. Although you’ve been able to clean off or take a shower here and there, there’s no denying the fact that as much as you love being outdoors, the first think you’re going to do when you get home is take the hottest, longest shower of your life.

“I want to do this for the rest of my life!’

Every true backpacker loves the outdoors so much that they’ve definitely considered selling all their belongings and living off the grid completely. You imagine what your life would be like if you could sleep under the stars every night, and live life with the beautiful unpredictability you’re living right now. You start figuring out in your head how you can do it. Then you remember that the outdoors isn’t glamorous all the time, and that you actually have responsibilities that you need to attend to.

And, last but not least…

“I can’t wait until I can do this again.”

Whether it’s your first time backpacking or your tenth, this trip has been a success and you know it won’t be long until you’re at it once again.

hanalarock I'm Hana- a freelance travel writer and teacher who currently lives in South Korea. I'm originally from New York, but have spent the last two years traveling and living abroad. My first time hiking in the US was when I traveled around the country as a teenager. Though, my first adult backpacking trip was a year ago, when I hiked from Thailand down to Singapore for a month. I'm looking forward to many more adventures in the future. Visit my site for more information.