Welcome to another Patreon Exclusive article! In this article, I’ll be focusing on hiking hacks or just tips and tricks to make hiking much easier. Many of these hacks are something I use and have changed hiking for me altogether. When I learn about new hiking hacks, I want to share them. But I thought I’d start with making a nice big article about hiking hacks for those of you who have stuck with me and supported me all these years. Thank you for your continued support – I hope you enjoy this article!
- Weekly medicine holders make great spice containers for camp cooking. These usually cost under $1 at dollar stores while camping spice containers often cost several dollars.
- Buy waterproofing spray to waterproof gear, footwear, backpacks and even gear that is already waterproof – just makes it a little stronger.
- Skip a whole roll of duct tape and just put a couple wraps about your water bottle, lighter and water filter, and trekking pole for when you need the tape like for blisters, they are perfect for dealing with them!
- Learn how to tie different knots. Learning the different knots can make life easier. Bring some paracord and practice while your hiking to help kill the time.
- Cotton balls coated with Vaseline or even drier lint will make perfect fire starters. Put them in a Ziploc bag to keep them preserved until you need them.
- For the big compartment of your backpack, line it with a heavy-duty trash bag to give the gear inside of it extra waterproofing.
- If you become lost, change your voicemail to where your location is and where you plan to hike towards and that you are lost. If your phone dies, people will still get your voicemail.
- Save space by only bringing items you need in a Ziploc bag for first aid. Basic items are band aids, ibuprofen, anti-diarrhea pills, gauze, alcohol prep pads, tourniquet, rubber gloves and stop bleed/clot powder.
- Put the entrance of your tent facing the wind. This will discourage mosquitoes and other insects from entering the tent when the door is opened.
- Stay away from cotton clothing – it holds moisture (sweat) and doesn’t breathe (wicker sweat). Stick to breathable and “dry fit” type materials.
- For extra insulation to protect yourself from extreme cold, shove leaves into your coat. It might be a little uncomfortable, but it will help keep your warm.
- Add a cork to your keychain. This will make your keychain float in the event that your keys fall into the water such as during a creek crossing.
- Throw some dry teabags into your hiking boots or shoes when you are sleeping to help get the stink out of them when you put them back on – great for overnight hikes!
- Throw a few hand warmers into your sleeping bag a few hours before bed and zip it up. It’ll be a furnace by bedtime.
- Stuff your wet boots with dry leaves every couple of hours (replacing old leaves) to help dry them quicker for overnight hiking.
- Leave No Trace asks us to carry out our used TP. You can do this by putting it in a Ziploc bag. Throw a pinch of baking soda in to minimize the unwanted odor that it produces.
- Bring individual packets of mustard, ketchup, and honey to give yourself some fuel and to make food taste better. Mustard will help with dehydration and cramps.
- Turn a battery the wrong way in your flashlight when you’re not using it. This way if it accidently activates, it won’t, and you won’t run the battery down.
- After washing a puffy or down sleeping bag or down jacket – throw a couple of tennis balls into the dryer with it to help keep the fluff back up and to feel like new.
- Put a lightweight pair of insulated running tights and long sleeve shirt into a Ziploc bag to keep dry. This can be used as extra layers or an emergency change of clothes if you get wet.
- Pack an oversized rain poncho. Of course, this will keep you dry if it rains but it also makes a perfect shelter if you get stranded.
- Pack a whistle. Screaming for help is time consuming and will take a lot of energy that you need. Blowing a whistle is much easier and often louder.
- Invest in waterproof matches. Get a fire rod and pocketknife and learn how to use it. Carry a lighter with you as well.
- Get those socks that wrap around each toe individually. This will help mitigate blisters from occurring when going on longer hikes.
- Look into neoprene waterproof socks. They are great for crossing creeks and they are much lighter weight than water shoes.
- Bring binder clips with you (or chip bag clips) to clip wet clothing to your backpack to air dry as you hike.
- Sleep with your water bottle. Your body heat in combination with the sleeping bag will keep the water from freezing and its easier to get a drink of water that way.
- Before you leave the trailhead, take a compass reading of its direction. This will help you stay on the right path if you get lost or off trail.
- Baby wipes are great for cleaning yourself without using up water and they are great for easier and less messy bathroom breaks as well.
- Put your clothing at the bottom of your sleeping bag on colder overnight hikes. They will be nice and warm by the next morning when you put them back on.
I hope these hiking and backpacking hacks have served you will. Please leave a comment below with other hacks you would suggest others consider. I hope you enjoyed this article and I plan to post them more frequently in the future. Thank you for supporting Hiking with Shawn by being a Patreon Subscriber!
Shawn J. Gossman
Shawn is the founder and host of the YouTube Channel, Hiking with Shawn as well as Hiking with Shawn LLC. Shawn hikes, backpacks and visits various forested areas in the Shawnee National Forest, local state parks and other areas promoting outdoor recreational activities to obtain video to show to locals and non-locals alike. Please support Shawn’s efforts by sharing this post and leaving a comment below.
Great collection of hiking tips, Shawn. Have you tried them all yourself? I’m thinking about #11. If you ever had to shove leaves in your coat to stay warm that had to be an epic hike and worth a story!
I’ve tried most of them. Not the leaves but I have a coat that was designed for that exact thing and I gathered that anything could be used for it. Leaves would act as an insulator and hold heat. In an extreme situation, I feel that anything is good. Maybe not leaves of three though? 🤣