When you go camping with an experience camper for the first time, you always seem to pick up a few hacks that make backcountry tasks so much easier. So, we reached out to experienced backpackers and wilderness adventures to pull together a list of 11 backcountry camping hacks you wish you already knew.
I’d rather be outside hiking, than writing a long blog post. So, I’ll keep this short and get right to the 11 hacks you wish you already knew.
Hack #1 – Lighten the Load
“Ditch the heavy utensils and use chopsticks in the backcountry. Cheap, environmentally responsible and lighter than titanium.”
Hack #2 – Keep Your Feet Warm on Chilly Nights
“On chilly nights, you can fill your water bottle with hot water and stuff it in the bottom of your sleeping back along with your clothes for the next day. Filling the empty space around your feet with a hot water bottle and clothing can keep you warmer and you can change into clean clothes before you even get out of bed the next morning.”
Hack #3 – Keeping the Water Out of Your Canoe
“Keep a couple sponges in your canoe. If you like to wet foot or if you get caught in a rain shower, you’ll be able to soak up the water in the bottom of your canoe in a jiffy! This is especially nice if you’ve got a dog with you who doesn’t love laying in a pool of water.”
Hack #4 – Simplest, but Hardest Advice
“Less is More! Multi-purpose is great. Find gear that can serve multiple purposes.
Hack #5 – Hanging a Bear Bag with Ease
“To get your bear bag right where you want it, find two big trees about 30 feet apart. Rig a rope line 20 - 25 feet up between the two trees, like a clothesline, with a figure eight follow through knot in the middle. Clip a carabiner to the knot. This will create a low friction pully hanging 25 feet in the air and 15 feet from the closest tree. Use a second rope to loop through the carabiner-pulley, tie one end to your bear bag and pull up your heavy bear bag up with ease.”
Hack #6 – Eco Friendly Portable Bidet
“Instead of using toilet paper when you are ‘going’ in the backcountry, use a portable bidet instead. Coupled with a few drops of concentrated soap like Dr. Bronner’s soap, you will not only get your ‘bum’ clean but also your hands. Also, by using the portable bidet as you wash up ’down under’, you are washing away any salt deposits that build up as you sweat. Therefore, eliminating chafing. Try the Hygienna Solo Portable Bidet.”
Hack #7 – Duct Tape!
“Duct tape is extremely versatile while out on the trail. We wrap it around our trekking poles, water bottles or even a lighter to save some space. You can use it to fix anything while out on the trail and to cover those pesky blisters.”
Hack #8 – Quickly Finding Gear in Your Pack
“Most new ultra-light packs do not have many pockets to organize your gear. Using stuff sacks helps to organize and quickly find your gear. Plus, if you use stuff sacks with weatherproof fabric, it provides an extra layer to keep your gear dry!”
Hack #9 – Backcountry Lantern
“Use a clear Nalgene water bottle or another clear water bottle filled with water. Strap your headlamp with the light facing the water bottle for a makeshift lantern in the backcountry.”
Hack #10 – Keeping Gear Dry on the Lakes and Rivers
“Even if you have waterproof packs, put your clothes in garbage bags and then inside your waterproof or non-waterproof pack. There is nothing worse than having wet clothes that seem to never dry! You’ll be glad you took that extra step to keep your clothes dry.”
Hack #11 – Packing out the Trash
“If you pack your food in zip-lock bags before your trip into the backcountry, you will have less food packaging waste on your trip and you can re-use the zip-lock to pack out your trash, or any trash you find along the way. Otherwise, you can use a waterproof sack to pack out your trash.”
I hope you picked up a few new hacks from this article. Do you have another hack we should have included on the list? Let us know in the comments below.