The Hiker Mama

heather balogh rochfort

Book Review and Interview: Backpacking 101 by Heather Balogh Rochfort

heather balogh rochfort

Summer is in full swing, and our thoughts are full of adventures we’re planning. We yearn to travel far and light, and sleep in the backcountry, with the stars and moon in view. If you’re new to backpacking, or are a dayhiker contemplating the next level of adventure, then you’ll appreciate a new book about the subject. Backpacking 101, by Heather Balogh Rochfort, has all the answers you’ll need to move forward.

Rochfort covers every topic in this helpful book. She writes about how to plan and prepare for a trip, how to select the proper footwear and clothing, and what kind of gear you’ll need to invest in. Her conversational and friendly style make an otherwise intimidating topic accessible and not so formidable. There are clear illustrations throughout the book, which are useful in many instances – such as how to tell a venomous snake from non-venomous, and how to arrange your gear in your backpack.

This book is full of valuable details. Sure, you could research each topic individually on the Internet, but she’s put all the background info you’ll need into one spot. After you read the chapter about buying a sleeping bag, you’ll be better armed to research a bag for yourself at the store or website. You’ll know which websites to go to plan your backcountry meals, and what kind of first aid kit you should put together. Other topics she covers include navigation, backcountry etiquette, hygiene, setting up camp and your kitchen, and dealing with emergencies. I highly recommend this resource for making the leap to multi-day outings.

backpacking 101, author photo
Heather Balogh Rochfort

Heather was kind enough to answer a few curious questions for me.

Hiker Mama: What was your journey like moving from dayhiking to backpacking? What difficulties did you encounter, or what surprised you?

Heather Balogh Rochfort: I didn’t really make a transition; I discovered both of them at the same time so I learned to love each activity simultaneously while appreciating how different they both are. In that sense, I feel lucky since I truly love both hiking and backpacking!
HM: Are there any pieces of gear you can’t live without?
HBR: I do have some faves! There are two pairs of hiking pants I can’t live without: the Mountain Hardwear Dynama pants (with the tapered ankle) are yoga-pant inspired and beyond comfy for both hiking and travel. The Fjallraven Abisko Lite trekking trousers are my go-to choice for burlier pants. I’m also a huge fan of the Osprey Aura 50 AG pack. That thing is a game changer.
HM: Do you have any big plans for the future?
HBR: Always! Professionally, I’d love to write a second book so hopefully I can get the ball rolling for that one. I really want to write something geared towards outdoor women that involves more story telling. Personally, my husband and I are now pregnant (28 weeks!) so we have a kiddo on the way this fall. I imagine that is going to keep us quite busy as we figure out how to incorporate a baby into our outdoor routines!
HM: And, from my daughter, What inspired you to write the book?
HBR: I really learned the hard way with a lot of this stuff (and have the scars to prove it!) My hope is that by walking beginners through all of the basics, more people will be less intimidated to get outside. By developing a love for the outdoors in these readers, my long-term goal is  to help create a generation of outdoor enthusiasts that will fight to protect our natural environment. 

Thank you so much, Heather, and best of luck with your pregnancy.



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