25 Hike Hacks Every Hiker Needs to Know

Whether you’re just starting out or consider yourself quite the seasoned hiker, when it comes to exploring the outdoors, there’s no such thing as knowing ‘too many’ tips and tricks that may come in handy now and then.

Whether you’re just starting out or consider yourself quite the seasoned hiker, when it comes to exploring the outdoors, there’s no such thing as knowing ‘too many’ tips and tricks that may come in handy now and then.

Whether you’re just starting out or consider yourself quite the seasoned hiker, when it comes to exploring the outdoors, there’s no such thing as knowing ‘too many’ tips and tricks that may come in handy now and then. 

We’ve put together a list of clever (and very useful!) hiking hacks that are worth being aware of ahead of your next outdoor adventure. 

Read on to discover the hiker hacks you need to know about…

1. Break in your hiking boots 

If you’re considering trekking in brand-new hiking shoes, break them in before you venture out. 

Newly purchased hiking boots will feel incredibly comfortable at first. However, if you’ve never worn them before for long periods, you may be in for a surprise. And not a pleasant one! 

If you’ve invested in lightweight hiking shoes and are only planning on experiencing relatively light hikes for short to medium distances, you’ll probably be okay. However, ensure you wear adequate socks and bring blister plasters, as you may need them! 

If, on the other hand, you’re planning to hike in traditional leather hiking boots (for example), you’ll most definitely need to break them in. This may seem like a hassle if you’re new to hiking, but rest assured that once your pair of hiking boots are broken in – they’ll likely be the most comfortable footwear you own.  

Breaking in your hiking boots will ensure that the footwear is shaped and moulded to your feet, allowing for just the right amount of flexibility required to avoid painful blisters from developing. 

So, to break in your hiking boots, you’ll need to wear them as much as possible prior to your hiking adventure. For example, you may choose to wear them around the house for a day or two. The objective is to give the hiking boots enough time to mould to your feet. And trust us – you’ll thank yourself for it when you’re on trails! 

2. Always come prepared 

Every outdoor hiking experience is different, so how you prepare will depend on your adventure of choice. 

Whether you’re planning on hiking a relatively easy route or experiencing something a little more adventurous, ensure you have everything you need to boost your confidence and performance to make the adventure safer and more enjoyable. 

For example, if you’re planning a long-distance hike, something as simple as ensuring you’ve packed extra supplies (just in case you’re out for longer than you anticipated) and bringing a toilet roll with you may be something essential you’d consider taking with you.  

However, on that note, toilet rolls can be a little bulky. So, to combat this, take out the cardboard roll and just pack it flat. Or you can take the campers’ best friend – wet wipes!

3. Save space wherever possible 

Following on from the above, saving space wherever possible is always a good idea for any hike. 

This is especially true if you’re a long-distance hiker, as once you’ve got a fair bit of distance behind you and the fatigue starts to set in – you’ll likely begin to feel every ounce of weight you’re carrying more than ever! 

3.  Leave no trace of your hiking adventure

Natural beauty is one of the most magical things we can experience first-hand. 

All outdoor enthusiasts will agree that it’s a good idea to always leave wherever you’ve visited exactly how you found it. So, this isn’t a “hack” per se, but it’s something to keep in mind, especially if you’re new to the hiking community. 

So, if you’re planning on making a couple of pit stops throughout your hike, whether that’s for lunch or a quick rest, be sure to leave a little space to take your rubbish back with you so that you can dispose of it at a later time. 

4.  Put a cork on it

If you’re hiking in an area where you’re going to be jumping over streams, traversing waterfalls or wading through bodies of water, you’ll want to make sure that any valuables such as car keys are… erm, buoyant! 

 So, a quick and easy way to ensure your keys will float to the surface of the water is to add a wine cork to your keychain. After all, it won’t get in the way or add any weight, and you never know when your future self may thank you for this little hack. 

5. Waterproof your backpack

If hiking is an activity you have planned on a camping trip, there’s nothing worse than returning to camp to find that your dry clothes are soggy due to a leaky bag. 

So, for an extra layer of protection, line your backpack with a shopping bag, or use one of our fantastic dry bags to slot inside your pack.

6. Know where south is

‘When in doubt, head south,’ as the saying goes. To tell which direction south is, just line up the hour hand on your watch with the sun, then find the point halfway between the hour hand and 12 o’clock – that’s south!

Of course, we’d always recommend you have a good idea of where you’re heading and to pack navigation equipment, such as a compass. But if you ever find yourself without one – remember this trick!

7. Always be aware of how much sunlight you have left

Low light conditions make it much harder to navigate your surroundings, meaning you’ll have more of a chance of wandering off your path and getting lost.

So, if you’re out hiking and you need to know how much sunlight you have left before it gets dark, this little hack is invaluable. With your arm outstretched, every finger width from the horizon to the bottom of the sun is 15 minutes of daylight.

8. Waterproof your gadgets

Of course, no one ever ventures out on an adventure thinking their bottles will leak, but it can happen. And, one small splash or leaky bag – and you can say goodbye to your beloved gadgets! Unless they’re water resistant. 

A quick and easy hack to prevent this from happening on your next hiking adventure is to wrap them in a freezer bag. That way, your gadgets will be kept safe, as these bags are watertight.

9. Take first aid equipment with you

Whether you prefer exploring relaxed and steady-going hiking trails or are more of a thrill seeker, it’s always better to be safe than sorry! And, of course, no one sets out thinking they’ll need to use a first aid kit, but it’s always better to have access to one just in case. 

We offer a dedicated selection with plenty of first-aid kits and survival accessories to take with you for emergencies. To check out our survival and first aid range, click here.

10. Use all available space in your pack

Space is at a premium in your rucksack, so you must take advantage of every bit of the last inch. And trust us, you may be surprised by how much you can pack away.

Pack all the way to the corners, and you can even utilise the outside of your pack for equipment (e.g. tent poles).

11. Waterproof your jacket

If you’ve just invested in a brand-new waterproof jacket, feel free to move on to the next tip. However, if you’ve had the same trusty jacket for a long time and it’s starting to prove less effective throughout wet weather conditions – it may be time to re-waterproof it. 

It’s essential to keep your jacket waterproof, and many outdoor enthusiasts aren’t aware that re-waterproofing is required for alot of jackets after a while. 

So, if you want to be able to tell whether or not your jacket needs re-proofing, simply spray it with some water. If the water starts to settle on the surface and it looks wet or damp, re-proof it using a reliable re-proofing spray.

Pro tip – Always check the manufacturer’s specifications when re-waterproofing your jacket.

12. Combat unwanted odours with a tea bag

When you’ve returned from a particularly strenuous hike, don’t be surprised if the odours coming from your hiking boots are a little – punchy! 

Remember, our feet have thousands of sweat glands, so it’s normal to have some extra build-up of sweat after a strenuous activity, such as a hike in the great outdoors. 

So, when it’s time to take your hiking boots off, pop a tea bag in each one. It’s a hidden secret within the outdoor community that tea bags are renowned for their ability to soak up odours. 

So, if you’re on a camping trip and don’t have access to the facilities to properly clean your hiking boots, use this hack instead to tide you over and keep any unwanted odours at bay until you get home. 

13. When in doubt, bring a trekking pole 

If you’re venturing out somewhere new that’s a little more of a challenging route, bring a trekking pole with you. 

A trekking pole will be your best friend throughout unstable trails and terrain, providing you with the support and assistance you need to tackle anything that comes your way. 

In fact, they’re so handy that many fellow hikers choose to use trekking poles simply to help distribute their weight more efficiently, relieving the pressure from legs and/or other joint areas. 

Most outdoor rucksacks will have an attachment compartment (check yours before you go!) that you can make use of, so don’t worry about having to carry it around if you don’t end up needing it. 

14. Pack a bin bag

As well as being useful for storing wet clothes, a bin bag makes a great DIY rucksack cover and even an emergency poncho in the rain. This may not be the most glamorous of looks, but you’ll thank yourself for it if you find yourself experiencing a downpour and your jacket needs re-proofing! 

15. Take a tick key

Ticks are common on the trails, especially in areas where there is a lot of livestock. If they aren’t removed properly, ticks can cause infection. So, pack a tick key to remove any unwanted passengers you pick up on your hike.

Alternatively, you can make your own tick repellent using one part tea tree oil and two parts water. Simply spray it onto your shoes, socks and the bottom of your trousers.

16.  Re-think your rucksack

This may seem obvious to an experienced hiker, but for those who are new to hiking through nature, you must invest in a rucksack that’s designed for the type of adventure you’re about to embark on. 

When shopping around for a hiking rucksack, pay attention to the litre capacity. Or, you risk ending up with either a rucksack that isn’t sufficient or is incredibly oversized for your plans. 

As a general rule of thumb, a 20L to 40L capacity rucksack should leave you with more than enough room for essentials, ideal for day trips and hiking experiences.

To shop the Regatta Blackfell III 25L Rucksack shown in the image, click here. 

17. Learn about layering

Good layering is more than the key to a comfy hike. 

One of the most effective ways to shield yourself from unpleasant weather is to learn the fundamentals of layering. The base layer is not to be underestimated,  ideal for ensuring you’re kept warm and comfortable throughout a hike. A base layer should be worn as the layer closest to your skin. 

Next is your mid-layer. This is essential for insulation, providing superb protection against cold conditions and managing moisture levels. Your last layer should be your outerwear, acting as your first line of defence against the wind and rain.

18. Double up on socks

Of course, socks that are made especially for hiking are ideal. However, if you’re yet to add these essentials to your outdoor wardrobe – wearing two pairs of socks can significantly reduce your chances of blisters. A thin, polypropylene underlayer with a wool blend on top should be more than comfy. 

And, if you start to feel a blister coming on, put a bit of moleskin over it as soon as possible to absorb the rubbing and minimise discomfort.

19. Know your campfires

Did you know there’s more than one type of campfire? Well, there is. Knowing a few different types of campfires will help you make the most of whatever wood is available to you when experiencing the great outdoors.

20. Keep your shoes snug at night

If you’re planning on going on a camping trip and hiking is on the agenda, remember that temperatures drop at night. So, if you’re leaving your hiking boots outside your tent overnight, you may find your shoes damp by the time morning rolls around. Or, in worse cases, frozen due to the colder conditions. 

Cleaning them up and popping them underneath something a little more snug will help to ensure that they’re nice and toasty for the following day so that you can enjoy your next hiking experience in comfort!

21. Eat light

If you’re worried about weight, try not to fill your rucksack with bulky foods. Instead, go for lightweight, high-calorie foods such as nuts and beef jerky. 

If you aren’t sure what to bring with you, simply prioritise foods that you’ll enjoy that are either complex carbohydrates, proteins and/or healthy fats. These food types will keep your energy levels up, boost your performance and help maximise endurance. 

You should always pack a little extra (as a precautionary), just in case you’re out exploring for longer than anticipated.

22. Hydration 

Nutritious foods are essential for ensuring your energy levels stay high, but so is hydration. And it’s so often overlooked! 

Whether you’re hiking in the peak of summer or preparing for a cold-weather adventure, hydration is non-negotiable. If ignored, you may find yourself with symptoms that’ll make your experience a lot less enjoyable. Think dull, persistent headaches, dry mouth, and drowsiness, to say the least. 

Combat this by ensuring you pack enough liquids. And, if you don’t want to carry a water bottle – try a hydration pack instead. These pieces of equipment will ensure you won’t have to stop to take a sip – simply use the straw whenever you require a little water, ideal for those who would benefit from easy access to hydration. 

To explore our range of hydration packs, click here.  

24. Keep your hands free by using an LED headlamp

For many reasons, it’s always best to keep your hands free when possible. For example, you may find yourself on an uneven trail or experience challenging parts throughout the journey. 

So, lose the bulky torch and go for an LED headlamp instead. It not only weighs less, but it also provides hands-free lighting, providing you with the visibility you need to finish your hike in low-light conditions. 

25. Bring spare clothing with you 

At the end of a long hike, when you’re cold, wet and tired, there’s no better reward than some clean, dry clothes. 

Depending on how you’re planning on getting to your hiking destination, you can either bring a change of spare clothing with you in your rucksack or, if you don’t want to add any extra weight – keep a set of spare clothes waiting for you in the car.

Be prepared for any type of hiking adventure with Winfields Outdoors

At Winfields Outdoors, we’re passionate about providing those who love the great outdoors with the equipment they need to enhance their performance on the trails, creating a more enjoyable and memorable experience. 

From walking poles and top-of-the-range footwear options to unbeatable outdoor clothing and protective gear, we’ve got everything you need to ensure you have the best hike yet. 

So, be sure to check out the rest of our website for the best hiking gear and equipment at the best prices, brought to you by the best brands in the outdoor industry.




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