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On-The-Trail Hiking Tips


Pearls of Backpacking Wisdom for a More Perfect Trek (a.k.a. Hiking Tips to make the outdoor experience safer and more enjoyable.)

 

Preparation


Reduce pack weight—don’t bring it, if you don’t need it. e.g., If there's water along the way, filter water rather than carrying it to drastically reduce pack weight.


Charles, at the summit of Mt. Dickerman, with Big Four Mountain and Vesper and Sperry Peaks in the background.

 
Tell someone where you're going and for how long.

Mountain weather can turn on a dime—make sure you have appropriate rain gear.

Hydrate before setting out.

If it’s hot out, wear light-colored clothing, and hike in a thin, moisture-wicking base layer to absorb and dry your sweat.

Leave a change of clothes in your car. If you're wet at the end of your trip, you can have a dry ride home.


Things to take


Duct tape. From clothing to gear, it fixes just about anything.

Extra hipbelt buckle for your pack. If your pack has a top lid that converts into a lumbar pack, often its buckle can serve as a spare for your hipbelt.

A stuff sack makes a perfect pillow case. Stuff your lightweight fleece (or a Nuptse if it's colder) into a stuff sack to make a pillow.

The spork is key. Lightweight, multi-purpose utensil.

Avoid cotton. Once it’s wet, it’ll stay that way, and you’ll freeze.

Don't forget your Ursack if you're in bear country.

A pocket knife or multi-tool is an absolute must.

Hydration packs all the way. Forget water bottles!

Take extra shoe laces for your boots—the cheap drugstore kind will do. Pop ’em in your pack and keep them there forever.

Keep quick energy handy, like a Carb Boom in your pocket. Many of us swear by this stuff.

At the very least, take a basic first-aid kit.


Technique


Use the Rest Step: When ascending steeper terrain, lock your back leg at the knee and pause briefly before taking your next step to reduce muscle fatigue. It works!

Remember to pump out your water filter after each use so you’re not carrying extra weight.

Eat before you get hungry and drink before you get thirsty. You’ll be less likely to bonk.

Eat a series of small meals rather than a couple of large meals to keep energy levels consistent.

During extended rests, loosen your shoes and put your feet up to reduce swelling and give them a nice rest.

Carry a spare handkerchief to dip in cool streams and spread over your neck, forehead, etc. for a quick cool down.
 

photos by Charles Lindsey  /  article from Backcountry.com  

 

More Hiking Tips

Sleeping Bag Tips
Backpack Tips
Tent & Bivy Tips
Pack Weight-reducing Tips
Winter Tips



The Camp Robber

The Gray Jay (a.k.a. Camp Robber) is a unique, far-ranging and most-fasicinating bird. Of course, it is best known to us as the "camp robber".

The Gray Jay is fearless in "appropriating" food from humans. It has the unqiue ability to squirrel away food for later consumption. The bird coats the food with its sticky saliva, effectively preserving it, and then stores it away in many hiding places, going back to collect and consume, as needed.

The Gray Jay = Camp Robber

Many times we've enjoyed visits from these agressive, yet friendly, little bandits.

The Gray Jay in this picture was poised atop a nearby tree just waiting for an opportunity to share our lunch.

More information on the Gray Jay:

Gray Jay 1
Gray Jay 2
Gray Jay 3