Woman hiking into the sunset - best hiking hacks

Best ever hiking hacks

I’ve put together a list of the best hiking hacks I’ve stumbled across over the years. I hope you pick up a new tips from this collection. In no particular order:

Hiking hack 1: Dencorub your boots to stop pesky leeches sneaking into your socks

Smother the tops of your hiking boots or trail shoes with Dencorub. That menthol backrub is like leech kryptonite. Those little suckers will be sent scurrying back into the bush. There nothing quite like that awkward moment when you realise your socks are all squelchy but you’ve not stepped in any puddles… those blood sucking vamps have stealthily crawled into your socks, had such a good feed they popped off and your blood has continued to trickle out a rate to require a pit stop to squeeze your socks out. Gross!

Extra bonus: use the Dencorub after your hike to soothe those aching muscles.

Hiking hack 2: Use BodyGlide to stop the chub rub

There’s something about that moment when you have a shower after a long hike, when the water hits your body and you feel an unexpected and excruciating pain. Maybe you knew it was there, maybe you didn’t until the sting of the water reminds you of every chafing step you took that day. Sometimes I’m shocked to discover chafing from undies, bras and t-shirts, let alone chubby thighs.

Unless you are gifted with ‘the gap‘, anti-chafing creams, such as BodyGlide or Aussie Butt Cream are as necessary for a comfortable hike as a well-fitted backpack and a pair of decent boots. Slather that stuff on and it will stay on all day, providing a smooth, waterproof (but breathable) film that will protect you against the dreaded chub rub.

Anti-chafing cream works equally well to prevent blisters. But some on your hotspots or slather it all over your feet for  a blister-free hike.

Hiking hack 3: Clean your drink bottles and hydration packs properly

The early morning sun is on your back. It’s warm but not too strong. You start your first ascent of the day and  reach for the nozzle on your hydration pack and take a long drink. Is it an aaah moment or an argh one?

You don’t even want to even begin thinking about what bacteria might be lurking in your manky drink bottles and hydration pack.

Get yourself a bottle brush and a hydration pack cleaning kit and make sure you give them a really good clean.

Manky bottles and hydration packs are often a source of tummy troubles when hiking. I don’t know about you, but I’d go to the effort of cleaning my hydration pack properly to make sure I don’t get the runs mid-hike.

Hiking hack 4: Put rolled up balls of newspaper in your boots to dry them overnight

Placing your hiking boots or trail shoes close to heat can actually damage them. It can make the glue come unstuck, and soften and damage your soles. So instead of putting your hiking boots next to a heater or campfire to dry out, roll up sheets of newspaper and stuff them into your shoes. The newspaper will draw out the moisture and they will dry a lot quicker than by any other means.

Hiking hack 5: Zip lock bags are a divine invention

Perhaps the god’s second best gift to hikers after glorious trails is the humble zip lock bag. There are so many uses, from putting your phone and other valuables in a zip lock bag to keep them dry, to storing and sorting food, your first-aid kit and other hiking essentials. Put your maps and trail notes in a large, clear zip lock bag to protect them from the elements.

Got any hiking hacks to add to my list?




2 comments

  1. Hi Sandra! Was great to meet you at the PB event and THEN also be able to visit you at your blog home! Great blog, and This post has some great ideas, especially the dencorub-we like to hike in Lamington NP and there’s invariably some cheeky little hangers-on around. I have a couple of tips to add as well; 1. a couple of extra bootlaces (spares for boots but also handy for tying things like wet sandals onto the outside of your pack, and once even repairing a shoulder strap which snapped halfway through a 3 week hike!)). 2. Wear in new boots by going for shorter walks with them soaking wet, and 3. Wear 2 pairs of thinner socks to reduce blisters on long hikes. And avoid road walking! UGH the worst!!

    • It was great to meet another fellow outdoorsy person at PB. Let me know how you go with the Dencorub next time you’re out at Lamington NP – I’m keen to know if it makes a difference for you. Thanks for stopping by with your tips. Fixing your strap with bootlaces is thinking outside the box – great hack. The strap on my hiking pack ripped off during the first leg (and its first overseas trip) of our trip to Argentina. Argh!!! We pulled it off the baggage carousel and tried to complain to the airline but no one cared 🙁 I hate road walking too. Bitumen and concrete are not kind to the body over long distances. And I hate flat walking, too. I need some hills to engage some other muscles or it’s just too painful – on long walks over 20km, that is.

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