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?