Anyone who backpacks often knows that sometimes life along the trail can be a challenge. While the ups of being in the backcountry certainly outweigh the downs, anything that can make hiking just a little bit easier shouldn’t be overlooked. These hiking hacks will make your hike more enjoyable and more convenient by saving time, money, and lots of weight in your bag:
Chapstick as a First Aid Necessity
Did you know that Chapstick can be used for much more than just dry lips while on the trail? This little tube is a great hiking hack and can be used for almost anything you can think of. It can help calm blisters, sores, and toothaches, close up tears in hiking gear, aid in starting fires, and help protect skin from sunburns or eyes from glare, when you dip it in ashes first. Once you’ve used it all up, you can use the container to store things.
Smelling Good has Never Been Easier
Keeping yourself from getting too dirty while out in the backcountry is usually the least of any true backpacker’s concern. That being said, for most travelers, heading outdoors with any type of soap, bar or liquid, can be a risk. Once a bar of soap gets wet or if a bottle of liquid soap leaks, it’s all over. However, with this hiking hack, you won’t have to worry. Using a knife, take a bar of soap and peel off a single layer of the soap. Each shaving is enough for a single use. Take as many as you need, throw them into a tight container, and take one out everytime time you wash. Lightweight, easy, and mess-free.
The Ultimate in Hiking Hacks: Duct Tape
Just like Chapstick, duct tape has some unexpected uses when hiking. It can be used for all sorts of things, like covering up a really bad blister so it doesn’t scrape against your boots, as a way to remove ticks from your body (especially those you might not be able to see right away), repairing holes in shoes, and even as a make-shift cast if you have an injury.
Clean Your Teeth without Taking the Dentist
Hiking hacks can even make it possible to keep your teeth clean while backpacking. To do so, take dental floss out of its plastic container, cut it into reasonable lengths, and throw the pieces into a bag. In the same bag, put ultra-light mini brushes which already have toothpaste on them. If you don’t like the paste they are pre-treated with, then you can buy toothpaste powder that you can mix and dispose when finished, as with the floss and mini brushes.
Get Rid of Those Mosquitoes the Easy Way
You might need to have a little more patience for this one, but once you make it, you’ll be good to go. By creating a mosquito repellent bracelet out of paracord, you’ll never have to worry about bringing a bottle of bug repellent ever again. Take an arm’s length of two different colored paracords each. Fuse the ends of the cords together by melting them. Loop what is now one cord through one end of a bracelet clip to make a knot. Loop the other end of the cord through the other side of the clip and make a knot. Unclip, straighten out the cord, and begin tying. Make a figure four on both sides of the center cords at the same time, and loop one color through the other color, until the bracelet is complete. When finished, dip it in 1 cup of witch hazel, 15 drops of citronella essential oil, 15 drops of lemongrass essential oil, 5 drops lavender essential oil, and 5 drops of peppermint essential oil to keep the bugs at bay.
Not in the mood to make the bracelet? You can easily and inexpensively buy one.
A First Aid Kit That Can Fit in Your Pocket
If you’re only going on a hiking trip for a couple of days or so, then consider taking a smaller survival kit than usual; one that can fit inside an Altoids box. This is one of my favorite hiking hacks. The Altoids Survival Kit holds everything you need, including a lighter, a Swiss Army knife, safety pins, bandages, medicines, water purification tablets, matches, and tons of other things (like duct tape and Chapstick). When packed correctly, this tiny tin will help tremendously when the going gets tough along the trails.
Make a Quick and Easy Fire-Starter
Being able to start a fire easy is essential for any backpacker. While you can always bring matches or a lighter, it requires much more to build an actual fire. Instead, try using a toilet paper roll and dryer lint. The bigger the roll, the more lint, and the larger the fire. Pack the roll with lint until full, and there you have it. When you’re out in the backcountry, light the roll and throw it on some wood for a fast fire.
Don’t forget these hiking hacks the next time you head out into the backcountry; you’ll be surprised at just how handy they are.