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Thread: Trail Hacks

  1. #1
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    Default Trail Hacks

    I just read a thread about keeping your sleeping pad from slipping. What other clever "hacks" have you used on the trail?

  2. #2

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    Using shock cord or rubber bands on your guylines to keep your sil-nylon tent tight in wet weather

  3. #3

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    bring toilet paper. and learn to distinguish poison ivy from other plants.

    seriously...

  4. #4
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    Use an 8 inch square of plastic mesh, cut from a piece of an onion bag from the grocery store, as a scrubbie for cleaning cookware. It scrubs well, dries almost immediately, and doesn't get stinky or full of bacteria, like a sponge does.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Secondmouse View Post
    bring toilet paper
    Not really a hack...just something essential you don't want to forget!

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    I like using a rhododendron leaf as a funnel to fill waters bottles in shallow streams.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigcranky View Post
    Use an 8 inch square of plastic mesh, cut from a piece of an onion bag from the grocery store, as a scrubbie for cleaning cookware. It scrubs well, dries almost immediately, and doesn't get stinky or full of bacteria, like a sponge does.
    Cool idea!

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by gte567e View Post
    I like using a rhododendron leaf as a funnel to fill waters bottles in shallow streams.
    They also make great little kayaks for boat races down a seep on a rainy zero day, winner cooks dinner!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketsocks View Post
    They also make great little kayaks for boat races down a seep on a rainy zero day, winner cooks dinner!
    Isn't it supposed to be loser cooks dinner? I'd certainly make mine the slowest if not!!!

  10. #10

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    For a couples that zip your bags together, bring two big long rubber bands to attach your sleeping pads together. The rubber also keeps them from sliding around on the tent floor. If you don't do this you will both slide all over the place especially on those sloped surfaces we sometimes have to use.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by DuneElliot View Post
    Isn't it supposed to be loser cooks dinner? I'd certainly make mine the slowest if not!!!
    Nope, roaring water always has its way, if you get hung up on a log or hydrolic it won't be long till your free a flowing again and passing the leader for the chefs position, and besides I don't want some dirty tired hiker preparing my dinner for me.

    Yup, I muffed it...loser cooks dinner. Ya also have to wait 3 seconds before clearing your boat from a log jam or hydrolic, fun stuff boat races.

  12. #12

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    Peeing on my feet. Never got a foot blister because I pee on my feet.

    I've heard this rec for so many things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Peeing on my feet. Never got a foot blister because I pee on my feet.
    Now, that seems counter intuitive. I can only imagine what your shoes smell like.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  14. #14

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    I like storing stuff in small sections of straws with melted closed ends. Beats buying pricey pre packaged individual sized packets of things like EVOO, drink mixes(coffee especially), protein powders, green powder mixes, etc. Good on trail hack for breaking down larger purchases of glass jarred(heavy!) dried spices, coconut oil, tahini, cocoa, etc. or taking along some regular ultra cheap non WP stick matches(three per straw). Buying larger portions more economically sound efficiently repackaging into smaller sizes almost always saves money.

    Silicone WP spray, or equivalent, THE TOP of non WP trail runners will add no real wt yet keep shoes cleaner longer and make them less prone to absorbing water which makes them likely to dry out even faster. Can negatively affect shoe breathability especially if over doing the spray. Same can be done with backpacks possibly having no or less need for a pack cover in more situations or lessening the absolute need for purchasing high priced Dyneema Composite(Cuben Fiber) packs based on their water resistance characteristics.

    Trashed Carbon Fiber fishing rods finely cut into appropriate length sections can be shock corded for dedicated tarp/shelter poles at a fraction of the cost of pre shock corded UL ones. They can sometimes be repurposed to offer a virtual suspension in some frameless packs possibly contributing to rethinking sleeping pads or existing frames/suspensions and backpacks.

    Bathtub shelter floors can cheaply be constructed from window film/food packaging film at a fraction of the cost of Dyneema Composite(Cuben fiber) ground sheets. Durability will not be as great though and it can shrink in heat. Ohh, duct tape sticks to window/food packaging film too so need need for special CF patching tape.

    Short sheet metal screws can be screwed into soles with a pocket knife can be a quick traction aid hack and later removed. Cost less than $2. If the holes don't close up or the mistake was made to screw too deeply(lol) or too long a screw(LOL) was used dabs of a small tube of Shoo Goo, Seam Grip, etc fixes it. McNett's Seam Grip has fixed more outdoor gear of mine than any other single fix it hack. Seam Grip has been a temporary no routine New Skin or Second Skin blister preventing alternative for me in a pinch as well.

    Do you really need to buy a pricey often heavy by UL standards Nalgene or metal water bottle for backpacking when so many other bottles can be repurposed?

    Trekking poles, often fancy, sometimes coming at considerable impact to gear and trail budgets, sometimes used as status symbols especially by ULers and hoity toity blue blood un limited gear money to spend folks, sometimes rather fragile and fussy in use, can be had with a stick. Ahhh, as in a branch. A walking staff can easily be DIY made with an old cheap more rigid light wt carbon fishing rod. I've seen DIYers make both a carbon UL walking staff and fishing rod in the same item.

    Not a hack but a suggestion. Not always necessary to buy high priced prepackaged dehydrated meals. The cost adds up relying on these over the course of longer hikes. Learn to make your own meals often easily accomplished from common grocery store ingredients borrowing the ingredient lists/recipes from the dehydrated pricey dehydrated meal packages or accessing the multitude of trail adaptable recipes already on line from excellent in the know sources. Even if supplementing trail food resupplies with these sometimes pricey dehydrated meals consider repacking into decent Ziplocs to save on packaging wt, usually bulk, and tweaking portion sizes and ingredients to better nutritional profiles.

    Small bottles of Dr Bronners castille soaps can offer multiple uses….bath wash, shampoo, gear cleaner, laundry detergent, etc. Some varieties like the Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Citrus, Lavender, and Peppermint can make acceptable non consumed toofepaste alternatives and the ingredients have been know to contribute to insect repellency. Interesting life story and alternative perspective comments of Emmanuel Bronner. Dental floss "wheels" removed from packaging and a needle safely stored are good to have for so many purposes…fixing gear, temporarily sewing up gashes, umm, cleaning teeth, making an animal snare, spare shoelaces, help to drain blisters, etc.

    Learn at least one alternative way to start a fire with found items BEYOND a BIC lighter, matches, or bought magnesium/flint, etc. SO satisfying. Maybe we'll see you on Naked and (not)Afraid?

    Learn how to regionally sustainably knowledgeably wisely supplement food from the wild. Ok we all know about blueberries, huckleberries, thimbleberries, and the occasional wild strawberry. How about advancing beyond by reading a book/accessing online sources about regional edibles?

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    1. Sawyer squeeze for washing your hands with minimal water use. With your sawyer squeeze attached to a 1 or 2 liter bladder, holding it upside down and up against your body like a bagpipe then gently applying pressure to get a steady trickle of water to come out of the filter. Great way to wash your hands with your favorite camp soap and get a nice lather and not waste a ton of water.

    2. Using a 1 gallon freezer bag to wash your cloths (away from the water source).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    I like storing stuff in small sections of straws with melted closed ends. Beats buying pricey pre packaged individual sized packets of things like EVOO, drink mixes(coffee especially), protein powders, green powder mixes, etc. Good on trail hack for breaking down larger purchases of glass jarred(heavy!) dried spices, coconut oil, tahini, cocoa, etc. or taking along some regular ultra cheap non WP stick matches(three per straw).
    Non-reusable straws are satan's children. Please only use reusable straws, and don't discard them:

    http://www.choosetobestrawfree.com/
    Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing​ and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there. --Rumi

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    Baking soda for toothpaste. Baking soda also for insect stings. Non-smellable.

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    If food only needs to be rehydrated, why heat water for it? In summer, consider it a "salad". At an afternoon water stop, add water to a ramen or couscous-based meal, walk a few hours, and enjoy.

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    http://www.amazon.com/doTERRA-Pepper.../dp/B007TYXYF8 Baking soda plus these for a fresh mouth......

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    Wow, I guess I'm just a minimalist at heart. My tips:

    Quote Originally Posted by Secondmouse View Post
    bring toilet paper. . .
    Don't need it. Don't bring it. Use soap and water.

    Quote Originally Posted by bigcranky View Post
    Use an 8 inch square of plastic mesh, . . . as a scrubbie . . .
    Don't need it. Don't bring it. Scrub with some pine needles or dirt or sand, or don't cook in your pot, just boil water.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stitches View Post
    Baking soda for toothpaste. . .
    Don't need it. Don't bring it. Toothpaste is primarily a breath freshener. Just brushing is what is really important. Many dentists suggest toothpaste doesn't help at all, but just makes brushing more fun and tasty.

    What's less expensive and lighter than trying to find the lightest piece of gear? Don't even take the gear to begin with if you can enjoy the trip without it. Knowledge is far lighter than either cuben fiber or titanium. And, acquiring that knowledge can be more fun than shopping.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

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