Hiking is a fun hobby, but it can also be extremely challenging. Whether you are just learning to hike, you have been backpacking for years and just need some new tips, or you’re in the backcountry looking for a way out of a tough situation — these 10 hiking hacks will help turn your outdoor excursions into smooth sailing. Does eating snow dehydrate you?
So whether your goal is to spend more time outside of the city or simply want to learn how to navigate difficult trails more effectively — then read on!
1) The Wilderness First Responder
The Wilderness First Responder is a person trained to help other people in the wilderness. If you are hiking or backpacking, it is imperative that you know about the WFR program. This useful little gadget helps prevent cases where someone needs medical help while being extremely remote and/or in an extreme environment such as the mountains. Cost of the Wilderness First Responder class (a must-have for hike enthusiasts): $85
2) All-Purpose Bag
This bag can be used for storing anything from a tent (it can hold up to 50 pounds!) to your wallet, keys and more. The wide opening makes it easy to fit in gear and it also allows you to access items easily. Carry your gear in an all-purpose bag. This will make it much easier to grab everything you need at a moment’s notice and leave in a hurry if needed.
3) GPS App
GPS is an important tool to have when hiking in the wilderness, especially if you plan on going off trail or reaching remote locations where cell service may not be available. Try using this app: Backcountry Navigator PRO GPS . It’s easy to use and is a back up if you somehow get lost without your trusty map and compass.
4) A Pocket Knife
This is an incredibly useful tool to have with you when hiking. Better yet, it’s a multi-purpose tool for outdoor activities. Figure out which one you like and bring it on every hike or camping trip you do.
5) Hiking Aboard
If you decide to take your hiking trips “off the grid” you’ll need some sort of self sufficiency to survive in the wilderness. Hiking aboard opens up new opportunities for longer hikes, as well as exploring untrammeled areas that have not been made accessible by roads — such as national parks, state parks and other public lands.
6) The Ten Essentials
If you are concerned about safety and planning to explore more remote areas, these items might just save your life. At the very least, they will make sure you have what you need to survive if the unexpected happens.
7) Map and Compass
This is a must-have when hiking in the wilderness. The map will help you find your way around, while the compass will help keep you on course. A map and compass are still an easy way to get from point A to B in the wilds. Even if you do not plan on going off trail, it’s a useful tool for finding nearby bodies of water, land features, etc. It can also be used in conjunction with a GPS if you want a backup option for navigation.
8) The Compass Course
Hike in a direction of travel and plot the next day’s hike on a compass course or backtrack using the previous day’s hike. This technique is an old elementary school favorite, but it honestly makes a huge difference when you can plot your route before you leave. It also helps to know the area — just ask around before your trip if someone is willing to assist with finding a point of reference for your hike.
9) A Multi-Tool
You’ll never know what you’ll need on your hikes until it’s too late. So always plan ahead and bring a multi-tool or Swiss army knife with you so that you can tackle any job that comes your way — from tightening bolts, to making an emergency shelter, to opening food packages. Many survival tools can be used for multiple purposes and knives are no different. It can be used as a multi-purpose tool for everyday activities and as an emergency knife if needed.
10) Cell Phone
This is most unlikely to come in handy, but you never know when you might need it. A cell phone has limited reach in the backcountry and even a standard flip phone will keep you connected if dropped or damaged.
As with anything, these 10 tips are just that — guidelines and suggestions for making the most out of your hike. The best way to prepare for hiking is putting in the work beforehand. For those of us who are less serious about our outdoor pursuits this can be as simple as getting a good pair of hiking boots , but if you enjoy backpacking then there’s plenty more to learn before you take your first step into the outdoors.