Backpacking is a great way to enjoy the Tahoe Rim Trail. By planning to camp one or more nights on the trail, you will be able to go further into the backcountry, and see more beautiful and remote places then you would during a day hike. If you are new to the activity, here are a few tips to have a fun, safe, and responsible trip on the trail. Check out REI's article on preparing for your backpacking adventure for more suggestions!
Who to go with:
If you are new to backpacking, it is always a great idea to go with a more experienced friend who can show you the ropes. We recommend backpacking in a small group of 3-5 people to start. This way, should anything happen, you can respond to the situation as a team. However, the larger the group, the greater the environmental impact will be. Because of this, many wilderness regulations and Leave No Trace guidelines set group sizes to a maximum of 12 - 15 people per party.
Planning your trip:
When planning your route you should think about a few questions: How many days do you want to be in the backcountry? How far do you want to hike each day? Remember, you will be walking slower with a backpack on... Will your fitness level allow you to hike trails with extensive elevation change, or are you looking for a flatter trail? Is your focus on exercising and covering long distances, or do you want to take your time and enjoy vistas and remote mountain lakes along the way? Once you can answer these questions, you will be able to identify trails that meet your needs.
A few days before your trip, check in with local rangers to make sure there will be an adequate supply of water along your route and where you are camping. Also, visit NOAA to check the latest weather forcast so you can pack and plan accordingly.
Thru-hiking the TRT and looking to leave yourself some supply caches? Alpenglow Sports in Tahoe City (if using USPS, send to PO Box 7230) and Lake of the Sky Outfitters in South Lake Tahoe will hold your mailed or dropped off package of food for you to pick up. Please label packages with your name, phone number, and estimated date of pick up.
What to bring:
Packing for a backpacking trip is an art form, since there is a fine line between bring too much and too little. Fortunately, this is a skill that gets easier with practice, since you will start to develop your own packing style and favorite pieces of gear. We recommend participants at least bring:
- Large Backpack (at least 60 liters)
- Sleeping Bag (down or synthetic, 30 degrees or warmer)
- Sleeping Pad (foam or air with multi-cell insulation)
- Tent/tarp/bivy (depending on skill and comfort level)
- Cooking pot
- Water purification (iodine, filter, or similar)
- Headlamp (with extra batteries!)
- Map of your route
- 2 liters of water carrying capacity
- Food (about 2000-3000 calories per person per day)
- Sunscreen (SPF 30+)
Packing your pack:
Remember the "ABC's of Packing": Accessibility, Balance, Compression and Streamlined (see "Packing Your Backpack" article above).