27 Uncommon Hiking Hacks you will wish you had always known

27 Uncommon Hiking Hacks you will wish you had always known

If you type ‘Hiking Advice’ into Google, chances are you are going to see the same tips on most of the search results. Over the years I have come across that same advice over and over. Advice such as layer your clothing, pack a first aid kit and carry a personal locator beacon are rampant all over the internet (including this website). While this advice is fantastic and useful, I thought I would try out some helpful uncommon hiking hacks that you might not have come across before.

a big ole list of uncommon hiking hacks

 

A Big Ole List Of Uncommon Hiking Hacks

 

  1. If you are on a one-way hike or a loop rather than a there and back hike, keep looking behind you. The view from behind is often just as beautiful as the views in front.
  2. On the same train of thought, don’t look at your feet the whole hike. I know sometimes you need to know where you are placing your feet due to uneven surfaces etc. Every now and then stop and look around. Admire your surroundings. Often we are so focused on where we are placing our feet that we forget to look up
  3. Start cold. You will soon warm up and it’ll save you from stopping and de-layering so soon into your hike.
  4.  Look at your map before you get lost. In other words, regularly take the map out, align it to the terrain (leave the compass in the pack) that way you get a much better understanding of what’s going on should you later get lost.
  5. Plan escape routes along your trail, where appropriate. Leave those plans with someone at home including instructions on when you’d like them to raise the alarm.
  6. Keep a spare set of clothing in your car for afterwards. There’s nothing worse than travelling home in wet or smelly gear. Even a pair of slippers and dry socks can make you feel a whole lot better.
  7. To keep your feet warm, wear a hat. Think about this one for a while and let me know if you can work it out (winky face)
  8. A thin strip of duct tape around the edges of a ziplock makes a durable, light, waterproof stuff sack for sharp items. They’re also great for electronics, maps and other bits and bobs you want to keep dry. You can also use duct tape for quick repairs to gear such as tent poles, patches and so on and so forth. You can even use duct tape for a make-do blister patch if you don’t have plasters handy. Wrap duct tape around your drinking bottle to save space in your pack.
  9. Never dry your boots by the fire or heat source, it degrades the glue and can cause your sole to delaminate and come off completely.
  10. If you are prone to cramps, put salty snacks in your pack such as ready salted chips (crisps if you are in England), sour sweets or other salty snacks. The salt will help loosen up those cramped muscles.
  11. Fill your metal drink bottle with boiled water before you go to bed. Put it in a sock in the bottom of your sleeping bag. It stays warm all night and you have clean drinking water the next day. 
  12. Buy half a size or a size up in your footwear. With the swelling that your feet get over the course of a hike and the bulky socks you are undoubtedly going to wear, you will need that extra room in your boots or trail shoes.
  13. Keep your toenails short. If your toenails are too long they can snag your socks. Also, and more importantly, they can push against the front of your shoe and cause all sorts of problems such as toenails turning black or even falling off. Plus, short toenails feel sooo much better. Or is that just me?
  14. Use the lint from your dryer as a fire starter. Make sure it’s lint only from cotton clothes.
  15. To save space, just bring a pillowcase on a multi-day hike and stuff it with your spare clothes for a pillow. Also, chuck your next days’ clothes in the bottom of your sleeping bag so they are nice and toasty in the morning.
  16. When you stop walking at the end of a cold day immediately change out of your sweaty shirt before putting on your down jacket or jumper. It helps keep you warm.
  17. Throw a needle and thread in your first aid kit. You can do quick repairs on clothing or gear as well as drain stubborn blisters (make sure you sanitise the needle in boiling water first). Spare bootlaces and guylines are great for quick repairs, a couple in your first aid kit can be a lifesaver. Nappy pins are a great idea as well. They are robust, lockable, you can hang gear to dry on your pack, or at night, they can hold stuff together and weigh very little. You can also pop some cable ties in your kit as they. They are handy wee things.
  18. Don’t wear too many clothes to bed, you need space for some air pockets. If you get too warm you will sweat, that will cool down and then you’ll be freezing. Wear just enough to be warm. Also, don’t go to bed cold. Do a few jumping jacks or other exercise to get the blood pumping and core temperature up. You can also get into bed, lie on your side, and vigorously run, wriggling your arms and pump your legs. You might look a bit silly but it works brilliantly, and all that heat stays inside the bag.
  19. If something is niggling with your gear, your feet blister or you start to chafe, stop and deal with it early. Tiny irritations can go south quickly but also easier to manage if caught early. It is much better to stop for a few minutes and put a plaster on a developing blister than to get caught out later.
  20. Store your cake of soap in a handkerchief rather than a plastic bag or container – it stops it going soggy.
  21. Less is more. You don’t need the kitchen sink and will be a whole lot more comfortable without it on your back. As long as you have the essentials you don’t need much more. Alternatively, if you need the extras, start with the bare minimum then add your luxuries until you get to the weight you are happy to carry.
  22. Think about your underwear choice. No one likes picking underwear out of their bum the entire time. At the opposite end of the scale, pulling up underwear constantly is also really annoying. Plus, it isn’t a good look for those hiking behind you.
  23. If you use puritabs to make safe drinking water, pop the pill in the bottle before going to bed and leave the lid off. By morning the chlorine smell will be gone.
  24. When you stop walking at the end of a cold day immediately change out of your sweaty shirt before putting on your down jacket or jumper. It helps keep you warm.
  25. Cut a dishwashing sponge into 1/4 or 1/6, you don’t need a full sponge, and the small bits fit in the pot better. Also, cut a dishcloth in half and use it as a tea towel. It is much smaller and lighter.
  26. Before nightfall, find a suitable spot away from camp and water sources and dig your cat hole ready for the morning.
  27. When taking photographs, try different perspectives for interesting shots. Try looking up or crouching down. Vary your stance. The photo below from looking straight up above at the light coming down through the trees.

 

A big ole list of uncommon hiking hacks

Final Thoughts

You know how sometimes you go, “oooh yeah!” well, I did that when I heard some of these uncommon hiking hacks. Like the one about filling up a metal drink bottle with boiling water and placing it at the bottom of your sleeping bag. Other ones I have figured out along the way but have made hiking that wee bit more comfortable. Such as starting cold.

If you want a handy Hiking Checklist with what to pack, wear and remember to do, sign up for that Hiking Mailing List (here) and it’ll be sent straight to your inbox. No uncommon hiking hacks here, just a good ole sensible list that you can use time and time again.

If you have any more uncommon hiking hacks, make sure to let me know in the comments below. I love learning new hacks that make those hikes that little bit easier/comfortable/better.

Jem

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Pssst, have you joined that Hiking Facebook Group yet? You will be one of the founding members. Come and join to share stories, photos, advice and hang out with like-minded people.  Pretty choice huh?

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27 uncommon hiking hacks you wish had always known. There is more to hiking than layering and the 10 essentials.

27 uncommon hiking hacks you wish had always known. There is more to hiking than layering and the 10 essentials.

7 thoughts on “27 Uncommon Hiking Hacks you will wish you had always known

  1. Great list of tips and some that you don’t always think of in advance. I have definitely made the mistake of not trimming my toenails or choosing the wrong underwear. Also good tips for long travel days generally.

  2. I like hiking from time to time, but nothing ‘serious’. However, I can see that your tips are making totally sense and I’m sure they’ll be very helpful for those following your foot steps 😉

  3. Love this post! Full of useful information. Very timely, too, as I’d be hiking next week up northern Philippines. I easily get cramps and I’ll take advice on the salty chips. Thanks for this! 🙂

  4. We are a family of hikers, so can relate to alot of these tips! My favorite is to look behind you. We hike in the rockies, and the view behind us is often the one worth capturing! This is a great list of helpful hints for any hiker, so many seem simple, but people would never think of them!

  5. OMG the short toenail preference is SO not just you! That and the recommendation not to layer too much – I prefer cold weather hiking, and it’s always interesting trying to strike the right balance of layers so I’m not painfully cold to start or roasting 20 minutes in. Great list!!

  6. Don’t look at your feet the whole hike seems obvious but it’s actually harder to do than people think! I have to remind my mom all the time, haha. You seem like quite the expert, I enjoyed all these tips 🙂

  7. This is a very good list for hiking and camping. I didn’t get the hat thing, though, unless you are referring to the idea that we are losing body heat mostly through our heads. But that’s a myth.

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