Overnight Hike Trips Tips

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What is the concept of "Leave No Trace"?

Leave No Trace

If you plan to take an overnight hike trip, one of the main principles of camping is the concept of "Leave No Trace." That is, your campground should look exactly as it did before you arrived. Check your campsite and rest areas for trash. Bury solid human waste in holes dug at least 6 to 8 inches deep and least 200 feet from water, camp areas, and trails. Cover the hole with leaves or rocks. To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from any river, stream or lake. Use only biodegradable soap.

Can I camp without a tent?

Sleeping Under the Stars

On a hiking trip that carries you over a day or two, you may consider foregoing the tent and sleeping under the stars. Of course, this is best done when in a warm and safe area! Not only will you save the hassle of carrying and setting up a tent at the end of a long day's hike, but you also get a great sense of nature and its beauty. Being able wake with the sun is one of the finest experiences on earth, and it's something you cannot experience if you're hidden away in your tent!

How do I set up a cooking area on a hiking trip?

Setting Up Your Cooking Area

While on an overnight hiking trip, you'll most likely want to settle down for the evening and cook a meal. If cooking outdoors, you will need to set up a special area to do this. Your cooking area should be at least 30 feet from your tent and positioned so that any winds will blow ashes and sparks away from the tent. Keep all your foods well contained and wash all your utensils to prevent attracting animals.

What is tent weight?

Tent Weight

On your overnight hiking trips, you may choose to tent in the great outdoors rather than stay in hostels or bed and breakfasts. Keep in mind that you will literally have to carry your house on your back, so tent weight is important to gauge. The Packed Weight is the weight of the entire tent set. The Trail or Minimum Weight is the weight of just the tent, fly and poles. The Fastpack Weight includes just the fly sheet, poles and groundcloth. Be sure to ask your tent retailer about these weights do decide which tent is right for you.

How do I start a fire if I don't have matches?

Hot Chocolate!

No, not the kind you drink... While on an overnight hiking excursion, you may need to start a campfire. If you don't have wood and matches, you can start a fire with a chocolate bar and a soda can. Take the foil from the wrapper, place a bit of chocolate on the bottom of the can and rub vigorously. This will shine the bottom of the can. Angle a light (like the sun) onto the can bottom and position the resulting laser of light toward your gathered wood. A fire should start within minutes!

What basic equipment do I need for an overnight hike?

What to Pack on an Overnight Hike

Packing the right overnight gear is essential to any hike that lasts more than one day. Three-season tents are ideal unless you are hiking in winter climates. In cold weather, you will need to find a tent that provides adequate shelter and warmth. Daypacks are fine for short excursions, but more likely you will need a pack with more volume to carry other essential equipment such as sleeping bags, pads, layers of clothing, water, and protein-rich food provisions.

How do I start a roaring fire with just an ember?

From an Ember to a Flame

Many hikers will need to make a campfire at night for warmth and food preparation. Nothing can be more frustrating than not getting those embers to ignite a full fire. Here is an invaluable tip to get your campfire going. Loosely pinch your index finger and thumb together on both hands. Allow your other three fingers to fan out, as though you are making a squeezed-out OK sign. Make the two signs "kiss" by bringing your index fingers and thumbs together. You should see a diamond of space between them. Position this diamond at the heart of your fire, place your lips against your fingers and and blow through the diamond. The air will disperse, allowing your ember to catch the wood and kindling around it.

What is a good alternative to a typical weekend getaway?

Weekend Hiking Getaway

Tired of the same old weekend trip? Try a two-day hiking excursion. Doing a little research on your local state park (or parks) will go a long way to finding a trail and campground that will suit your needs as a hiker. A variety of trails are available year-round, at a range of difficulties and lengths. Campgrounds are often dotted along the trail so you can even start in one location of the park and stay in another, changing your environment over the two-day stay.

What is coasteering?

Coasteering Trips

Coasteering is a more advanced form of hiking that involves hiking along a coastline. It's a great overnight or several-day excursion, but is not recommended for novice hikers. Coasteering requires hikers to cross beaches, dunes, rocks, estuaries and/or lagoons. Slippery footwear and the danger of hypothermia can be a challenge. Also, there is added danger posed by tides, currents, waves and changing water levels. It's best to take these excursions with a group, led by a trained Coasteering hiker.

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