TOP THRU HIKING TIPS
Every through hiker has their own tricks and tips to make their life easier. I was recently sharing some of my own with my outdoor friends and was interested to note that there were several they hadn’t heard of before. When they shared theirs with me there was also several I hadn’t thought of. I thought I would share some of our best multi-day hiking tips for hitting the trails.
USE CABLE TIES TO ATTACH THINGS TO YOUR BACKPACK
The benefits of bungee cable and tape are well known, but cable ties are also a thru hiker’s best friend. I use them to attach equipment to my backpack because they hold much better than anything else, and you can always use it to detain some misbehaving kids or teenagers if they are getting to be too much out on the trails.
BRING SEPARATE GEAR
The temptation to share equipment when taking on a long-distance, multi-day hike is high, but it might be better for the relationship if you take your own things. I walked the Australian Alps Walking Track with a mate a few years ago as a once-in-a-lifetime hiking experience. We shared gear and a month and a half into the hike, I found it was just one more potential arguing point. Relationships will be frayed on a long thru-hike and minimising the potential argument starters is always a good thing.
USE DISPOSABLE BOTTLES
Although they are destroying the planet and environment, they do have their use when out on the trails. I limit myself to one sturdy reusable water bottle and use disposables for the rest. The logic behind it is that when they are empty, you can crush a plastic disposable down to minimal space. I don’t want to be stuck with loads of empty durable multi-use water bottles taking up space in my pack.
Many hikers forget that thru-hiking all day is intensive exercise and should be treated as so. I stretch three times a day when on the trails, once in the morning, again at lunchtime, and once more in the evening. Not only does this help with injury prevention, but it helps with recovery at the end of each day and minimises those aches and pains the morning after a long day of hiking.
POCKETS, POCKETS, POCKETS
You can never have too many pockets on a long-distance hike. Look for gear with as many pockets as you can. Small pockets, medium pockets, large pockets, pockets on pockets. The more the better.
I used to plan my itinerary before I set off. I knew how far I would be walking each day and the exact day I would finish. But I quickly realised this was counterproductive. When you are on the trails for a long period of time, you need to listen to your body. When it tells you to ease off, have a slower day. Rushing yourself to hit daily mileage targets when your body isn’t feeling up to it will only suck the enjoyment out of the hike. We do these things for enjoyment and to de-stress, not to add to it.
Do you have any tips you can add? Share your thoughts below.