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Hiking Tips & Tricks:

  1. Safety first, ultra­light is not always right, your safety is more impor­tant, make sure you have the gear you will need for the weather you will encounter.
  2. When shop­ping for a back­pack, remem­ber the weight of the back­pack isn’t as impor­tant as with other items that go inside your pack. The most impor­tant things are com­fort and the abil­ity to carry the weights that you will be carrying.
  3. It helps me to sleep with my feet on top of my back­pack, that way it ele­vates them, so they don’t swell up since I have been walk­ing of them all day, then my shoes fit like they should every­day, instead of caus­ing blis­ters because your feet don’t fit into the shoes like they did when you bought them.
  4. Sleep­ing with your feet on your pack helps because then you only need a 1/2 to 3/4 length sleep­ing pad since your pack will make up the difference.
  5. I also carry Super­feet® and orthotics and switch around at some point dur­ing the day, that way my feet get a dif­fer­ent feel and I am not walk­ing on the same exact places of my feet all of the time, hope­fully alle­vi­at­ing rep­e­ti­tion injuries.
  6. Keep your toe nails clipped
  7. When the weather is bad make sure to eat, even if you have to stop for a short time, oth­er­wise you will feel extra cold. It helps to always have 1 days worth of food that is eas­ily edi­ble while walk­ing and handy to get to with­out stop­ping and dig­ging through your pack
  8. If you are in very cold weather and your alco­hol stove won’t light, then light a square of paper or toi­let paper and hold it to the fuel that you have already poured into the stove and it will heat up the fuel and ignite it. Using this method an alco­hol stove will work through the win­ter with­out a problem.
  9. For many rea­sons, try not to camp near water; the first being most peo­ple camp near water/meadows so the areas are usu­ally the most impacted, the sec­ond is that the air is usu­ally moist dur­ing the night so it leaves a heav­ier dew on your tent, tarp, or sleep­ing bag, and the third being that the air usu­ally gets colder dur­ing the night near water.
  10. Check what time it is at known loca­tions, so you can cal­cu­late how far you think you are from a cer­tain place and where you prob­a­bly are on the map, in case you get lost.
  11. If you are trav­el­ling in the spring on snow­pack, for exam­ple the PCT in the Sier­ras, break camp very early and try to travel as much as pos­si­ble early in the day when the walk­ing will be much eas­ier and the snow is solid and not like mashed potatoes.
  12. Also, cross dif­fi­cult streams early in the day, when snow melt/glacial run-off is lowest.
  13. When cross­ing dif­fi­cult streams of snow­fields, remem­ber that the best places to cross might not nec­es­sar­ily be where the trail crosses the stream or snow­field. It can be bet­ter to just meet back up with the trail after.
  14. A stick or trekking pole helps a lot with bal­ance when cross­ing a stream.
  15. It is usu­ally eas­ier to cross a swift stream at an angle head­ing slightly down­stream, that way the stream is help­ing you take steps instead of mak­ing it harder on you.
  16. If you think the stream cross­ing is dan­ger­ous, then make your part­ner go first. Just kid­ding, but def­i­nitely cross one at a time, so that you don’t both get into trou­ble at the same time.
  17. When you fill up your water bot­tle in cold weather, only fill it 3/4 of the way so the water can move around and help pre­vent it from freez­ing, also pack your water bot­tle upside-down so the water doesn’t freeze solid around the mouth piece.
  18. To help add miles to your day or in cold or bad weather, make your breaks shorter by pack­ing what you will need (i.e. food, extra layer, change of socks) eas­ily accessible.
  19. Don’t over­pack or over­dress for a cold weather trip. when you are actu­ally hik­ing or doing some­thing active you won’t need that many lay­ers because you will be gen­er­at­ing a lot of body heat and you don’t want to get a bunch of lay­ers wet with sweat.
  20. It is good to check your maps about every hour to get a feel of where you are and what time it is, that way when you get off trail you have an idea of about where you are and how far off trail that you may be.
  21. In the win­ter or if you may encounter freez­ing tem­per­a­tures overnight, carry an extra garbage bag to put your shoes in then you can put the bag under your sleep­ing bag.
  22. When hik­ing across snow­fields in the spring stay away from the rocks, you are usu­ally bet­ter off stay­ing on the snow and not try­ing to jump to rocks because the snow melts out first around the rocks because they get warm from the sun so there is usu­ally holes around the rocks that you will post-hole into.
  23. To tell which direc­tion is South you can line the hour hand up on your ana­log watch with the sun and halfway between the hour hand and the 12 is South
  24. To tell how long until the sun is going to set, hold your hand up with your fin­gers touch­ing and cover the sun with your thumb, each one of your fin­gers is 15 min­utes. Using this you can cal­cu­late how long until the sun will drop below the hori­zon or behind a mountain.
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