Read these 11 Hiking and Trekking Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Adventure Travel tips and hundreds of other topics.
Next to your boots--literally--the most important piece of hiking and trekking gear is a good pair of socks.
* When you buy socks, turn them inside out and look at the fine loops of thread you see in the cushioned areas. The greater the density of these loops, the more cushioning the socks will provide.
* Dense socks will also wick away perspiration more efficiently, keeping your feet cooler in the summer and warmer in winter.
Hiking on your adventure vacation is always a great activity and it appropriate almost anywhere. From Canada to Scotland to Belize you have a ton of adventure hiking options from which to choose. No matter your destination though, you need high quality footwear to support you. Blisters or foot problems that can develop will not only put a damper on your adventure travel, they can cause long term problems.
When you prepare for an extended hike, whether at home or on vacation, a good backpack is essential. Backpacks for hiking come in two varieties - internal frames and external frames.
* External frames can usually carry heavier loads, but they can easily get hung up in close quarters or dense growth.
* Internal frame packs are ideal for caving or other trips where you are likely to encounter a tight squeeze.
Whichever you pick, make sure you have your pack fitted to your body by an experienced professional to avoid discomfort on the trail.
Depending on your location and whether or not you camp out, you need to consider if and how you will be cooking your food. If you use a propane or butane camp stove while hiking and trekking, you can increase its efficiency in cold weather by insulating it from the ground.
* Cut out a circular disk a little larger than the base of your fuel canister from an old computer mouse pad. The extra insulation helps the canister deliver fuel more efficiently.
* Putting a light windscreen around the stove will trap some of the stove's heat and also improve performance.
If while hiking during your vacation you find yourself lost in the wilderness without fresh water, you can make a solar still by digging a hole in the ground about three feet across.
* In the bottom of the hole, place a cup.
* Next, cover the hole with a sheet of clear plastic, and place a pebble in the center to form an inverted cone. Make sure the point of the cone is directly over the cup.
* The sun's rays will draw moisture out of the ground, where it will condense on the plastic and drip into the cup.
* If you have a length of rubber tubing, put one end in the cup and run the other end outside the pit, so you can drink from the still without disassembling it.
* You can also pour contaminated water into the ground around the cup, or add green leaves to further increase the yield.
The components of a solar still weigh next to nothing, and should be part of any wilderness survival kit. A survival kit should be a part of every adventure travelers repertoire. You should include a first aid kit, packaged foods that are long lasting and full of nutrients and protein and potential signal methods or communication devices. Your adventure travel survivor kit should be like your American Express card, don't leave home without it!
You've heard of starting a fire with a magnifying glass, but did you know that you can do the same thing with a chunk of ice?
Next time you go winter trekking in your adventure travels, try this:
* Put some water outside in a pot where the first inch or two will freeze into a solid disk.
* Then, using your hands or other source of heat, carefully shape the ice disk into a rough lens shape.
* Test it periodically to determine how it focuses light.
* Eventually you will have an ice lens that can focus enough light to start a fire.
These survival techniques are particularly useful to hikers and travelers in northern or colder regions who may be seeking wildlife sightings or who enjoy mountain climbing.
It's probably stating the obvious to say that hiking on vacation with the lighter pack is going be easier.
So how does one make his or her pack lighter for hiking and trekking?
* Start by reexamining the large items you take on a hike: the backpack itself, your tent, and your sleeping bag. If your equipment is more than two or three years old, it's time to go shopping. Today tent, packs, and sleeping bags can weigh a lot less than they used to and do their jobs just as well.
* Next, look at smaller items like your stove and cooking gear. The same idea applies here, although in this case ultra-lightweight stoves have been around for some time and continue to get lighter.
* Finally, look at everything in your pack and pare away unnecessary ounces relentlessly. It all adds up.
These trips prove true on almost any adventure travel excursion. If you are a true adventurer or eco tourist, you may enjoy hiking, caving, snorkeling or scuba diving and you should use the most up to dat equipment and baggage available. It doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg, but traveling efficiently will make your whole trip more enjoyable and you will be sure that your equipment is up to date and as safe as possible.
Ordinary plain plastic garbage bags have many uses when hiking and trekking.
1. Slit one down the side seams, and open it up for an impovised ground cloth.
2. If you're hiking and get caught without raingear, cut a hole for your head in the bottom or a garbage bag, and slits in the side seams near the bottom for your arms and wear it like a pullover.
3. Trash recepticle
4. Holds wet towels, cloths or bathing suits after a mid day swim.
When you're hiking and trekking, one thing you must be able to do in an emergency is get a fire going.
Try some of these hiking standard homemade fire starters on your next hike:
* Cardboard egg carton cups filled with wood shavings and dryer lint, then melted parafin.
* A used film can with cotton balls saturated with vasaline.
* Firestarters used to get a barbecue going
* A butane cigar lighter. (These are like miniature blowtorches that can even get a damp material burning.)
The most important thing when preparing for a hiking adventure is to look for in a hiking boot that fits correctly. Make sure you get a quality boot, and then do whatever it takes to get the perfect fit.
This is one of those times when you really should go to a hiking and trekking specialty shop with trained salespeople. Ask them to measure your foot first, even if you think you know your shoe size. Find out if they can customize the fit of the hiking boots.
A really good boot fitter can add or remove padding to make your hiking boots fit like a second skin. Ask about adding custom footbeds or insoles to your boots. This may seem like going overboard, but it can greatly reduce wear and tear on your arches. Finally, do not underestimate the importance of choosing the right socks. Choose a blend appropriate to the trekking conditions. Consider your adventure travel location be it the temperate forests of Washington State or the tropics in the South American jungle.
When picking out clothing for hiking, keep three things in mind.
* First, your clothes should resist wear and abrasion. Let's face it; hiking and trekking is hard on clothing, so buy fabrics that wear well.
* Second, buy clothing you won't mind replacing when it wears out.
* Third, avoid hiking clothes that are overly flamboyant.
Especially if you are trekking in an area with a conservative culture on your adventure vacation, dressing too loudly can cause friction with locals. Of course, bright colors are important for visibility, but keep local attitudes in mind when selecting hiking clothes.
Create an emergency survival kit to prepare you for any type of emergency, such as a forest fire, natural disaster or physical injury. You need to have a kit for each member of your camping party. Each kit should be stored in a durable, camping backpack. Pack three gallons of water, a three-day supply of nonperishable food, a first aid kit, a flashlight, a battery-powered radio, one change of clothing, plastic sheeting, duct tape and extra batteries. While you can prep your kit ahead of time to use for multiple camping excursions, you should check your kits seasonally to make sure food hasn't spoiled or the water isn't leaking, and to change the clothing so it is appropriate for the weather. Also, if you are taking medications, keep a supply of the medication in your kit. Other items to include are copies of your personal identification, a notebook, pens, up-to-date family photos and a personal item, such as a stuffed animal or lucky sock. The last item listed here is essential for helping individuals cope in the case that they find themselves lost on the trail.