Backpacking Hacks

to Make

Your Hike Better

There are some great backpacking hacks out there to help ensure you have the best possible hiking experience.

These hacks are meant to improve your hiking trips. These are learned from the experience of many hikers throughout the years they’ve been hiking. You’ve probably learned a few hacks for backpacking, too. It’s always good to know a few more.

In this article, I’ll show you some of the backpacking hacks I practice to ensure that my overnight hiking trips are better. I’ve used many of these hacks for years and am still learning new ones.

Let’s take a look at some of these hacks so you can put them into practice.


Backpacking Hacks 1: Hydration Before Hiking

One of the best ways to remain adequately hydrated throughout the day is to hydrate before hiking.

When you wake in the morning before your hike, start drinking water. When your glass is empty, fill it up and keep drinking. You don’t have to guzzle water down the whole time. You can take sips. Just make sure you frequently drink throughout the day before your hike.

I try to drink about eight cups of water a day. Hydration is a significant health factor. I might add some electrolytes to my water on hotter days before hiking. I’ve found this to be helpful for me.

Once you get on the trail, you should continue hydrating, but you probably won’t get as thirsty and dehydrated as quickly.


Backpacking Hacks 2: Test Your Foods First

Buying new types of food is always fun for future backpacking trips, but you have to make sure you can handle it.

This is one of those backpacking hacks that can keep you from getting sick. You don’t always have the same response to some food as you would to other foods. It’s essential to test your food out before you go hiking, long before you go, to see how you react. It might make you sick, something you don’t want to happen while on the trail.

I love mushrooms. I love wild mushrooms. But not every mushroom always agrees with me. So, when I get jerky or new food made of mushrooms, I have to test it before I go hiking because the last thing I want to do is poop in the woods.

Testing your food before you go backpacking might save you from cutting your hiking trip short due to sickness.


Backpacking Hacks 3: Bring Sleeping Socks

Bring an extra pair of socks dedicated to sleeping for ultimate comfort.

If you’re going to be out there for more than one night, have a dedicated pair of sleeping socks. If it’s cold at night, those socks will help control the heat flow in your body. They’ll make it better for you. If the socks are clean and dry, the experience will be even better. Keep a pair for sleeping only.

I like to bring my thick alpaca socks with me on colder backpacking and camping trips. They’re super warm and amazingly comfortable. I couldn’t imagine having to try to sleep in the sweaty stinky socks I wear when I’m on the trail.

Your feet are the most critical body parts for your hike; make sure you take great care of them.


Backpacking Hacks 4: Cut Weight with Smart Water Bottles

Those Nalgene bottles are excellent and hold a lot, but boy, are they heavy!

You can cut weight using Smart Water bottles instead of ones made for hiking. Smart Water bottles will still hold a good amount of water, and that water weight will still be present. But those bottles weigh significantly less than Nalgene bottles.

My girlfriend and I have used Smart Water and Gatorade bottles for years. We clean them out and reuse them to help mitigate using so much plastic. As long as you clean them, they’ll last forever.

Anytime you can reduce weight without sacrificing essential resources is always a great idea.


Backpacking Hacks 5: Wrap Duct Tape

Don’t add unnecessary weight by bringing a whole roll of tape duct with you.

Duct tape is a remarkable piece of backpacking gear. You can fix your tent quickly with duct tape if your tent gets a hole. If your backpack tears, duct tape can fix it. If you have little seed ticks on you, duct tape can remove them. But bringing an entire roll with you is a bit overkill.

I recommend wrapping a few layers of it around your trekking pole, water bottle, or even a lighter. Chances are, you’re only going to use a little bit of it. You don’t need a whole roll of it.

Don’t bring more than you’ll need unless you depend on it, like food and water.


Backpacking Hacks 6: Pack Right

Packing your backpack correctly will significantly make your backpacking experience better and easier.

Most people experience pain and discomfort while backpacking because they’ve packed their backpacks poorly. You don’t want just to shove everything in and go from there. You have to fill it strategically so that weight distribution is balanced and you’re controlling the movement of the bag, not the bag containing your movement.

I put the heavier, bulkier items towards the middle of the bag to help balance the weight. I put my sleeping bag in first, then my tent. I put my pad on the outside if I can. I put my kitchen items in next. I keep my first aid kit and camera gear towards the top. I put my snacks in the waist compartments to reach them easily. I try to avoid hanging too many heavier items in my bag as it might shift weight around unnaturally.

By packing strategically, you’ll notice a much more comfortable hike, especially if you’re going long distances.


These have been six backpacking hacks to make your hiking experience better. The hacks above are small enough and valuable enough to ensure you have a better trip. I use these hacks every chance I get. If you enjoyed this article and want to see more, share it and subscribe to my newsletter for more free content each month.

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Thanks again for checking out another one of my articles and until next time, I’ll see you on the trail!

Shawn Gossman

Shawn Gossman

Founder, Hiking with Shawn

Howdy folks! My name is Shawn Gossman and I founded Hiking with Shawn. I’m an avid hiker, cyclist and outdoorsman here in the Shawnee National Forest. I was born and raised in Southern Illinois and never want to leave. Click here to learn more about Shawn Gossman

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