Backpacking blends the joys of hiking with backcountry camping. Add fishing to your backpacking trip and you will be sure to have an epic adventure that you will likely cherish for the rest of your life. Basic backpacking requires preparation. Trekking on a backpack fishing trip takes even more preparedness, especially if you are a beginner.
The first and most obvious step in planning your backpack fishing trip is to pick your ideal destination. A novice backpacker should stick with easy destinations that are close to home. Opting for a destination that is too difficult to hike to could very likely result in a miserable trip. An easy hike near a large body of water leads to more time for fishing. It’s also important to note that you’ll want to have sufficient daylight to make camp before nightfall.
After you’ve picked your desired destination, these helpful tips will ensure that you have the best backpack fishing trip:
- Invite a friend along.
- Traveling with a companion is often more fun and much safer than backpacking alone.
- Consider going without kids or pets on your first trip.
- You may be tempted to bring along your dog or your kids, but it’s wise to gain more experience before allowing them to tag along on a backpack fishing trip.
- Physically prepare for this trip.
- No matter the distance you may be hiking, any backpacking trip can be physically demanding. Obviously, hiking with a heavier backpack is more difficult than hiking without one-- so, make sure you are comfortable doing day hikes (with your backpack filled with 30-plus pounds of gear) that are a similar distance of what you have planned for your trip. It’s recommended to do a minimum of three of these pre-trip hikes.
- Mentally prepare for this trip.
- Familiarize yourself with your gear ahead of time. For example, practice pitching your tent well beforehand. It’s also wise to learn basic first aid as well as map and compass navigation.
- Leave a trip plan with a trusted friend or family member.
- Include details about where you’re going and when you expect to be back. Though it may be unlikely that anything bad will happen to you, it is always better to be safe rather than sorry. If you do find yourself in need of help, this trip plan will be an instrumental tool for your loved ones when alerting authorities.
What to Bring on a Backpacking Fishing Trip
Make sure your backpacking gear is lightweight and compact. The last thing you want to do is weigh yourself down with unnecessary items. These items are essential for any backpacking trip:
- First Aid Kit.
- You will likely be loading up your backpack with 30 pounds or more of gear, so it’s imperative to make sure it fits comfortably. It’s advisable to do a practice hike with your backpack loaded up. If it’s comfortable on your shoulders and hips, then it should be fine to use on your backpack fishing trip.
- Sleeping Bag
- Sleeping Pad
- Water Filtration Device
- Staying hydrated is vital. If you have access to a natural water source, investing in a water filtration device will guarantee that you will have a supply of clean, fresh water that will never run out. Be sure to bring a supply of water with you too.
- Fire Starter or small portable stove
- You will need a way to prepare your meals. The Catch and Cook Kit is a great asset to have on this trip.
- Kitchen Supplies
- Bring enough cookware, cups and utensils so that you can prepare and eat each of your planned meals.
- Bring a small sponge and some biodegradable soap for washing dishes. Make sure to do this away from camp and water sources. A small towel to dry dishes can also prove to be useful.
- You will likely want to feast on the fish you catch, but you’re not guaranteed to catch anything on this trip. Err on the side of caution and plan on packing all of your meals. It’s advisable to pack nutritious, high-energy, lightweight food. Some foods to consider packing include:
- Trail mix
- Nuts, seeds, nut-based bars or nut butter packs
- Fresh, whole fruit - apples, bananas and oranges
- Dried or freeze-dried fruits and veggies
- Energy bars
- Granola or granola bars
- Ready-made tuna salad pouches
- Whole-grain tortillas
- Shelf-stable, dried jerky
- ID Card
- Credit Card/ Cash
- Fishing Gear
It wouldn’t be much of a fishing trip without your fishing gear. To elaborate more on the last point of your essential backpack fishing trip checklist, be sure that your fishing gear consists of:
- A quality travel rod
- The Black Walnut Fishing Reel is lightweight and perfect for a backpack fishing trip. “Storage areas in the reel and handle give you the space to pack additional tackle and other essentials, so you can carry topwater lures for spin fishing or subsurface flies for fly fishing,” as our website states.
- Lures for multi-species
- Bushcraft knife
- If you plan on eating your catches, this tool will be vital for cleaning and preparing the fish for eating. It may also prove useful in other ways too and is just an all-around great tool to have any time you venture into the wilderness.
What to Wear on a Backpacking Fishing Trip
Because you will be spending so much time around-- or even in-- water while on this fishing trip and you will likely get wet, it is imperative that you choose the right clothing to wear. When picking clothes for any backpacking trip, always opt for moisture-wicking, quick-drying fabrics. Nylon and polyester are excellent choices. Avoid fabrics that are absorbent and take a long time to dry. Choosing the wrong clothing material that holds onto moisture (like cotton) can cause the body’s temperature to drop and could potentially lead to hypothermia, which can be life-threatening.
Dress in layers. Layering lets you quickly adapt to changing weather conditions. If you get warm, simply take off a layer. If a storm suddenly moves in, bringing cold and rainy weather, it is just as easy to add a layer. It’s also a good idea to invest in a pair of convertible pants if you plan on wading in the water while fishing. The full-length pants will provide protection against plant material and debris while you make your way to the water’s edge. Once you find your preferred fishing spot, you can zip off the bottom-legs and wade in knee-deep water.
The most important item you can wear on this backpacking fishing trip is proper footwear. You will be relying on your feet to carry you and your gear on this hike, as well as support you while fishing and wading in waterways. So, it is crucial to take care of your feet. Supportive over-the-ankle boots and lightweight trail running shoes have both been recommended for hikers by experts.
You can’t go wrong with either choice-- as long as the footwear is comfortable, well broken-in, and worn with wool or synthetic socks. Be sure to also pack water sandals to protect your feet and help you to keep your footing when you enter the water. The last thing you want to do is slip while wading because you’re not wearing the correct gear and scare away a potentially monstrous catch.
The most important thing to remember while on a backpack fishing trip is to enjoy your time in the wilderness while being safe.