I was also volunteered to write an article on backpacking of which I have little knowledge. So I reached out to two people who were experienced. Here is a personal account of backpacking from the male and female perspective.
Backpack camping requires more preparation. Everything you will need has to be carried on your back. Weight becomes a primary concern.
Water is the heaviest and most necessary item to carry. Using a water purification device is a good solution if you know you will be around a water source.
Dehydrated food is a light weight alternative.
Careful research and preparation is required for this type of camping.
Selection of the proper backpack is essential.
This can be a very rewarding experience since you will probably be in very isolated areas reliant only on your own self and your level of preparation.
Communcation will be very limited so be sure to let someone know of your plans in case of possible problems.
Extensive research on the internet and talking with experienced backpackers is essential.
The following is an account of the preparation and experience of two novice backpackers, Greg and Kristi Grimes:
Some basics on pack weight: A loaded backpack should not weigh more than about 20 percent of your body weight. (If you weigh 150 pounds, your pack should not exceed 30 pounds). Thats max. A loaded day hiking pack should not weigh more than 10 percent of your body weight.
Water: Two main sources are: (1) Carry all water from start. (2) Carry a little water and bring some sort of water fitering device-assuming you will have access to suitable water you can filter.
This is a popular water filter-others might work. You should buy and test and practice with it BEFORE you go in time to buy something different if you don't like it.
For that matter-all critical gear should be tested used in a realistic way BEFORE you go so that you are not fumbling around with it in the dark.
Led battery headlamps with some extra batteries.
Food that won't go bad.
At least sort of calculate the number of calories you eat per day when exercising hard. Then multiply that by the number of days you plan to be out. Maybe add at least one extra day of food for good measure. If you plan to go way out for a long time, I would bring a few days extra at least in a rationed amount.
Packing your pack: Heavy stuff like batteries or metal things, you should try to pack it near the mid surface of your back, as close to you as possible. You won't want really heavy objects way up high or way out to the sides or way out on the furthest most part of your pack-the weight throws you off your balance and sway. Keep it as near to your back as you can.
Bring several lighters and store them in a few places.
Bring at least one functional knife.
Small roll of duct tape for emergency repairs for pack, shoes or tent.
Might consider small medicine kit-asprin, Excedrin, alcohol wipes, benydrl.
Good shoes: I like waterproof Merrells but there are many good ones. Buy them early and break them in, make sure your feet are ok with them.
If going in winter, be mindful of cold. Bring appropriate clothes and at least two pair of socks in case they are wet.
Hiking poles can be handy if you are doing anything semi-treacherous.
Navigation: I use Gia GPS on iPhone and bring a battery backup for several recharges of phone. I only use GPS every few hours to make sure I'm on track, then turn it off to save battery.
Other people like Guthook-I've never used it. Both apps let you download all the maps from home and then you have them on your phone even when you get out of cell range. Which happened on most of Eagle Rock Loop. If you don't have cell coverage way out there, that's important.
Test them before you go.
I slept on top of Buckeye mountain when it was like 19 degrees outside-it was really bad. I had many layers but we were extremely cold. Don't ever plan to do that again.
32 degrees cold is my personal lower limit.
Summer time: take Off spray for bugs.
Any person that has never done it should start with maybe just one or two nights and see how it goes. Practice easy before trying a 5 or 7 night. We were out 7 nights on Eagle Rock.
I had way too much weight and it was bad.
People should be eventually pointed to the REI hiking guides and told they should read and research all of those things in depth before going. I spent 4 months reading REI stuff and internet accounts of other pro hikers stories and advice.
As a female it can get a lil more tricky with what to bring as well as the timing too. I prefer not to do any hiking when it's that time of month for obvious reasons. If there are some ladies that do want to still go on with a hike or if it happens in the middle of a hike then come prepared. Pads, tampons or diva cups are reusable and just requires cleaning (I've never used one).
The next thing is relieving yourself. the easiest way is to just pop a squat where ever you find a comfortable place to do your business. Bring wipes and watch out for poisonous plants and animals. there are other gadgets to assist with peeing standing up such as gogirl, p style, Venus to Mars, etc. Practice using those in the shower and get good at using those before going out and using them hiking. It's not natural for us females to pee standing up and so you'll have to train yourself to do this and to control your flow. Bigger women may need the p style as the Venus is more suited for smaller women. When finished, you will have to slide the gadget against you to catch most of the droplets and may still have to wipe yourself afterwards.
As for number 2, well that's the same action as the guys.
Now that we have the more embarrassing senarios out of the way, next is what to bring.
Backpack: I find that using a female specific backpack works better for me. Others may like the unisex or men's backpack. I generally like the pockets on the hip belts but they'e not really necessary.
Undies: I would bring one for each day with one additional one for mistakes (from bodily fluids, to falling in a water crossing, I speak from experience from the latter).
Base layers are good. I like cuddleduds and depending on the temp will depend on the thickness.
Pants: Comfortable and lots of pockets are nice.
Shirts: Whatever is comfortable-I've worn baby tees and loose fitting and didn't have a problem other than the baby tees will pick up sweat more. Just make sure that what you wear is not too tight and is breathable.
Socks: Merino wool socks-one for each day and a pair for sleeping.
Footwear: Hiking boots-get a half size bigger than your normal size-accommodates your feet when it's sliding from up and downhll climbs and room for swelling. Some people like trail runners. I have weak ankles so I use mid hiking boots to try to prevent my ankles from rolling. Another shoe accessory are sandals or vibrams five finger toe shoes for water crossing. Sandals are easier to put on and take off but vibrams cover more of your feet.
Jackets: Rainproof, warm and lightweight is the way to go.
Hats and/or hair ties depending on the length of hair.
Also watch homemade wanderlust on YouTube because she's done a lot of hiking and has a lot of information from a woman's perspective.
Some links that Greg and Kristi checked out for their preparation:
Hiking for Beginners/REI Expert Advice: https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/hiking-for-beginners.html
The Ten Essentials/REI Expert Advice: https:/www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/ten-essentials.html