25 Hike Hacks Every Hiker Needs to Know
Whether you’re tackling a local trail or conquering Mount Everest, these handy hike hacks will help you to become king of hiking in no time.
1. Use biodegradable tape
Getting lost is every hiker’s worst nightmare. So, to make sure you always find your way back to camp, pack some biodegradable tape to mark out your route as you go.
2. Save space; wrap duct tape around your water bottle
From patching up leaky tents to fixing broken boots, duct tape can be extremely useful during a hike. But rather than packing a bulky roll that can take up valuable space in your rucksack, wrap some around your water bottle instead.
3. Treat blisters with duct tape
Talking of duct tape, this tried and trusted trail essential is also great for treating blisters. At the first sign of blisters, apply some duct tape to the area for a little extra padding and protection.
4. Put a cork on it
If you’re going to be jumping over streams, traversing waterfalls or wading through water, you’ll want to make sure that any valuables such as car keys are… erm, buoyant. So add a wine cork to your key, just in case.
5. Waterproof your backpack
There’s nothing worse than getting back 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
7. Know how much sunlight you have left
If you’re out hiking and you need to know how much sunlight you have left before it gets dark, this little trick 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
One small splash or leaky bag and you can say goodbye gadget. However, for a simple way to keep your gadgets watertight, just wrap them in a freezer bag.
9. Make a mini camping stove
Bulky camping stoves take up a lot of room in your rucksack and can be quite costly. For a mini makeshift stove, all you need are some tools, a couple of Coke cans and a little alcohol solution.
However, if you do want the traditional option, take a look at our camping stoves and cookers.
10. Use all available space in your pack
Space is at a premium in your rucksack so it’s important you take advantage of every bit last inch. Pack all the way to the corners, and you can even utilise the outside of your pack for equipment such as tent poles. This fantastic tip below is a great way of combining socks and t-shirts…
11. Waterproof your jacket
It’s important to keep your jacket waterproof. To tell if your jacket needs re-proofing, spray it with some water. If the water starts to settle on the surface and the jacket looks wet or damp, then re-proof it using a re-proofing spray.
12. Make a DIY fire starter
When you need to start a fire on-the-go, some cotton balls covered in Vaseline are just the trick. And they don’t take up much room in your rucksack either.
13. Make your own hiking pole
A hiking pole can make a big difference to your hike. On flat terrain, it provides support for your legs and joints. On rougher terrain, it really helps with stability. You can even make your own hiking pole using an old broom handle and a shoelace.
14. Pack a bin bag
As well as being useful for storing your wet clothes, a bin bag also makes a great rucksack cover and even an emergency poncho in the rain.
15. Fight off mosquitos
If you ever run out of mosquito repellent, look out for an elderberry bush. Crushing the leaves and rubbing them on your body or placing them inside your clothing is a great way to keep the bugs at bay.
16. Take a tick key
Talking of bugs, ticks are very 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 be sure to pack a tick key to remove any unwanted passengers you pick up on your hike.
Alternatively, you can make your own tick repellent using 1 part tea tree oil to 2 parts water and spray onto your shoes, socks and bottom of your trousers.
17. Learn about layering
Good layering is key to a comfy hike. So make sure you know your base layers from your shell layers.
18. Double-up on socks
Wearing two pairs of socks can significantly reduce your chances of getting blisters. A thin polypropylene underlayer with a wool blend on top should be more than comfy. And if you do feel a blister coming on, put a bit of moleskin over it as soon as possible to absorb the rubbing.
19. Know your campfires
Did you know there’s more than one type of campfire? Well there is. Knowing a few different types of campfire will help you make the most of whatever wood is available to you when in the outdoors.
20. Keep your shoes snug at night
With temperatures dropping at night, you can sometimes find your shoes are a little frozen the next morning. Popping them under your sleeping bag will help make sure that they’re nice and toasty for the following day.
21. Make a mini first aid kit
Old prescription pill bottles make for a great space-saving mini first aid kit. Pack them with a few essentials such as plasters, bandages and antiseptic cream.
22. Eat light
If you’re worried about weight, try not to fill your rucksack with bulky foods like sandwiches. Instead, go for lightweight, high calorie foods such as nuts and beef jerky.
23. Take more toilet roll
Toilet roll is an essential when hiking and camping, but it can be bulky and difficult to pack. To combat this, take out the cardboard roll and just pack it flat. Or you can take the campers’ best friend – wet wipes!
24. Use your head
Lose the bulky torch and go for an LED headlamp instead. It not only weighs less, but it also provides hands-free lighting.
25. Keep some spare clothes in the car
At the end of a long hike, when you’re cold, wet and tired, there’s no better reward than some clean, dry clothes? Keep a set of spare clothes waiting for you in the car.