Hiking can be an extremely fun experience. But, things like blistered feet, waterlogged phones, and wet clothes can sometimes take away from the experience. So, here are some excellent tried-and-tested hiking hacks to help you stay safe and well-organised throughout your adventure.
Whether you plan to visit a local trail or conquer the Himalayas, the hands hiking hacks and tips are sure to be useful:
1. Always carry the first-aid essentials
You can never have enough band-aids when you’re trekking. Blisters, small cuts, and bruises are to be expected whatever the length of your trek. To save space, you can even put the essentials (plasters, bandages, antiseptic cream, and a few aspirin) in an old pill bottle. Also, carry a multitool or a knife. You never know when it may be useful.
2. Wear comfortable and sturdy shoes
Shoes (or preferably hiking boots) that fit well and are both sturdy and comfy are a must. Ones that are a bad fit can cause blisters and lost toenails, something you definitely don’t want while walking.
3. Learn how to prevent blisters
So it’s probably best that you, learn how to prevent blisters while hiking. You can either coast the necessary areas in petroleum jelly before putting on your socks, or place a small amount of tape to prevent friction and rubbing. Find out more here.
4. The many uses of duct tape
Duct tape is a super useful tool on any hike or trek. You can use it to fix or waterproof boots, fix cracked water bottles, protect painful blisters and much much more. See more about how it can save your life here. If you don’t want to bring along a whole roll, wrap some around a lighter or a water bottle to save space.
5. Tuck your pants into your boots
Wherever you go, remember to tuck your pants into your hiking boots or socks. It will help keep things like ticks and leeches at bay. If you do see leeches, wait for them to fall off, as ripping it off may make things worse (read more here). However, if you see ticks get rid of ticks as soon as possible, either with tweezers and duct tape, or a Tick Key (check here for more advice).
6. Learn which plants and animals to avoid
Familiarize yourself with the poisonous plants, and the dangerous animals of whatever location you’re hiking in. Whether its poison ivy and sumac or coyotes, snakes, mountain lions, an bears, it’s always best to determine beforehand the types of wildlife you might encounter.
7. Layer up
When you’re hiking, especially in a cold climate, it’s important to layer your clothes. Layering lets you regulate your comfort level, as you may get warmer due to being active or if the weather changes. Check out a guide to layering here. However, you’re also likely to sweat and get dirty, so be sure to pack a change of clothes. Avoid wearing cotton, as it retains moisture and sweat and doesn’t insulate properly in the cold.
8. Try walking with your (full) bag before you leave
Test out your backpack before you leave, so that you know what it’s like to walk with it for long periods of time. You’ll also able to remove anything extra if you’ve packed too many items. Otherwise, you’ll suffer from carrying a heavier load than necessary. (It’s also good to do this with things like tent setup)
9. Line your bag for extra protection
Line the backpack you’ll be carrying with you for extra rain protection. You can either buy a liner or use a garbage bag to do so. Even if it doesn’t rain, you’ll have an extra bag to use for trash or other necessities.
10. Put your phone and other electronics in plastic bags
Just like your bag, your electronics also need extra protection. Maybe it suddenly starts to rain, or your water bottle starts to leak, or you could even fall into a river. So, keep your phone and other electronics in a sealed plastic bag (or a waterproof case) and all will be fine.
11. Tie small valuables to a cork
If you are going to somewhere that has streams and waterfalls, consider attaching valuables like car keys to a wine coak. This will make them buoyant, and much easier to find in case you lose them.
12. Figure out how to uses your hands to see much daylight you have left
You can also learn how to estimate the remaining daylight using your fingers. This can help you figure out if you have enough hours of light left to hike on or if you should stop for the evening. Check out this method here.
13. Always remember to put on sunscreen
Speaking of the sun, always remember to put on sunscreen. Even if it’s winter, your skin gets damaged, dry and unhealthy when exposed to the sun. This is especially true when you’re hiking to high altitudes.
14. Bring along some snacks, and water
Hiking can be quite tiring, and you’re sure to need something to replenish your energy along the way. So be sure to pack some healthy and high-calorie snacks that are both lightweight and nutritious. Also, take along lots of drinkable water to keep you well-hydrated during the day.
15. Take some kind of entertainment
When you stop for the night, you’re sure to want some form of entertainment to while away the hours. So, pack a book, a kindle, or a pack of cards to keep you occupied, even in places that may not have phone connectivity or even electricity.
So, are there any other hiking hacks and tips that you think are useful to know? If so, do share them in the comments below.