Here in the Pacific Northwest many of the employees at Rainier Fruit are outdoor enthusiasts. On weekends you can find many of us heading out to camp, hike, fish, ski, and more depending on the season. During our busy harvest seasons, the days can get long and stressful because fresh fruit doesn’t wait so we do what we need to do to get that fruit to you as fast as we can. That’s why getting outside and unwinding in nature is a great way to destress. Our Run With Rainier ambassador Laura of This Runner’s Recipes embraces the same outdoor, wholesome to the core spirit that we enjoy here and she’s got some great tips to inspire you to start backpacking.

Lace Up with Laura

When I’m not running, one of my favorite activities is hiking. Since I live in Washington State, just on the other side of the mountains from Rainier Fruit’s headquarters, I have endless options for hiking, camping, and backpacking. I want to share with you why backpacking is a fun way to camp and hike. Yes, at times backpacking is hard and tiring, but it is rewarding and fun!

Washington State is the home of many mountains – most famously, Mt. Rainier, the namesake of Rainier Fruit. We have two prominent mountain ranges, the Cascades and the Olympics. Most of the backpacking my husband, our two dogs, and I do is located in the Cascade Range, which is a short drive outside of the metro Seattle area. After a few summers and falls of backpacking trips, these aspects of backpacking are the top reasons why you should give backcountry camping a try.

Hard Workout, Easy Recovery

Backpacking provides a hard workout, no matter what your level of fitness is. You are hiking for several miles with a weighted pack on your back – backpacking requires a combination of strength and endurance. You will work both your muscular system and cardiovascular system when you go for a hike and you will probably be a little sweaty by the end!

After your hard workout, you are rewarded with the perfect recovery scenario. Unlike the rush to the next weekend event after a long run or jumping straight into work after a hard interval run, you can rest and relax after a hike, often in a location with a great view. One of the best pieces of camp gear I have is an ENO hammock – swinging in a hammock by a lake is so relaxing that all the fatigue of the hike just melts away!

Peace and Quiet

Cell signal is limited in the mountains and you do not have the technological conveniences of Netflix and the internet to distract you. Instead, you can indulge in some quality relaxation, reading a good book, or enjoying great conversations with your backpacking partners.

Beyond the freedom from technology, the mountains are quiet – no cars on the highway in the background or noise from the city at night. You will be surprised by how well you sleep without a constant ding in the background!

Weekend Getaway

A single-night backpacking trip provides a quick weekend getaway that will refresh your spirit. You do not even need to plan ahead by booking a hotel and flights – you simply pack up your bags, drive to the trailhead, and start hiking. If you have the gear, you can spontaneously embark on a camping trip when the weather is too nice to resist being outdoors.

Budget-Friendly Travel

Yes, gear can be expensive, but unlike hotel costs, a tent and sleeping bags are a one-time investment. Once you have purchased your gear, you only need to pay for food, gas, and parking passes or entry fees. Backpacking allows you to take a vacation without having to budget or worry about costs – which means that you can enjoy backpacking trips more frequently and experience some of nature’s best hidden gems that are off the well-worn paths easily accessed by 4 wheels.

If the initial cost of gear is overwhelming or you will not be backpacking frequently enough to justify the purchase, you can rent backpacking gear from REI and similar outdoor retailers.

Have I convinced you to try backpacking yet? If I can’t, hopefully some of these photos from recent trips can!

Share your backpacking adventures with the hashtag #BackpackWithRainier on social media and keep living Wholesome to the Core!