Hiking Tips and Tricks


I've come across SO MANY excellent suggestions from previous through-hikers. Here are some of the best so far!

What to Hike SOLO for a while?
Firebird's 2010 Pacific Crest Trail Journal
I figured out another thru-hiker technique - if you want a solo hike without crowds & you're in the middle of a pack or herd or tsunami of hikers, then just leave a town or trail angels house midday. I didn't see a soul all day except for a trail maintenance crew

Want a warmer sleeping bag?
Firebird's 2010 Pacific Crest Trail Journal
Sleeping bags lose loft when they are damp - everyone knows this. But what many hikers don't realize is that every night their body excretes between a pint & quart of water vapor - some of which gets trapped in the down or synthetic fill of their sleeping bag. For me, I'm not normally concerned about this UNLESS I think its going to be a very cold night. In this case, I'll pull my bag out during my lunch break & bake it in the sun (inside & out) for the duration of my break (half hour maybe) Invariably I'll end up with at least an inch of additional loft that night which can sometimes make the difference between a somewhat sleepless night shivering and trying to maintain body temp, versus falling into a deep sleep toasty warm

A Warm Bath every night!
Firebird's 2010 Pacific Crest Trail Journal
Staying clean is always a challenge while backpacking. I carry a small vile of Dr. Bronner's Peppermint soap & take a hot towel bath every night, I heat up some water in my cookpot, put about 10 drops of Bronner's in the water & use a children's washcloth from head to toe. By the time I reach my feet, the water is nasty of course, but I feel clean & refreshed before I change into my clean clothes and crawl into my sleeping bag. The Dr. Bronner's soap doesn't need to be washed off - it feels like a skin conditioner.

Want to keep your water cold?
Firebird's 2010 Pacific Crest Trail Journal
If you want to keep your water bottle cold, simply soak your bandana or (preferably) washcloth in water and wrap your bottle with it when you put it back in an outside pocket of your pack. The water evaporation will keep your water cool for hours, even in blistering desert heat.


What Apps are useful to have for on your iPhone to manage PHOTOS & VIDEO?
Discussion on iPhone Apps - Walking with WIRED
Don't get me wrong as I would NEVER forgo a camera...just using the camera on the iPhone 5 vs a separate one. I love my video/picture montages as that's one of my favorite parts of hiking. Here are a few apps to check out that I like using.

Camera+ (more fully featured and faster shutter than the native camera app...a must)
Camera Lite (for setting a timer for the shutter)
Pano (for panoramic shots - although the iPhone 5 now has that nice feature)
ProHDR (takes 2 shots and blends to one - must keep the camera still on trekking poles or tree/rock - takes AWESOME shots particularly in high contrast situations like shade and sun in the same picture)
RemotoLite (Don't use much but it's cool how you can use a secondary iPhone as a Bluetooth trigger to take pictures with a primary iPhone set up on a tripod)
SlowShutter (for exposure shots like waterfalls and such)
TiltShiftGen (for tilt shift effects)
360 (for 360 degree stitched together shots like Realtors use in showing rooms in houses)
TiltShift Video (tilt shift effects for video)
FiLMiC Pro 2 (a very full featured video camera app...way better than the native Apple app)
Diptic (lets me post a collage of multiple photos as one)
ColorSplash (good for black and white with a splash of color added)
RotateVideo (good for rotating videos that are accidentally taken in the wrong orientation)


How WIRED writes her blog on the trail
Erin Saver (Wired) is very popular and writes an amazing hiking blog: Walking with Wired
Here's how she does it....

It takes me about an hour and a half. I try to be blogging by 8:30pm or earlier each night. I have an Eye-fi card that transfers pics from my camera to my phone. Some like to use EZ Share or have a camera that does it already.

For the Guthook photo, I take a screenshot of the elevation chart and crop it to fit my day. You can take a screenshot of anything on an iPhone by pressing the home and power button simultaneously.

Once on my phone I crop or edit some photos. If needed I used PicTapGo app to edit color (usually to lighten). I don't like to edit the photos too much. I use Diptic to make the collages and Photo Name for captions (but it just updated to something I don't like).

I write each day out in my iPhone notes app. Those automatically save to my email if something happens and it's easier to type in that. Then I copy/paste it into the blogging app I use, BlogPress. I am NOT a fan of Blogger and am stuck with it. I recommend Wordpress instead. The BlogPress app is nice and I like the features, but it sends low resolution photos. Maybe that's how it's able to post so many? Anyway, I take an extra step to fix the resolution. I save the post to an online draft mode. Then I login to my blogger account where I can edit the HTML of the draft. I change each photo in the script from s288 to s1600. Problem is that I've done this for years and just recently the iPhone won't allow me to type in the HTML anymore, ugh! Until that is fixed, I have my sis log in once I save the draft so she can fix the resolutions on her home computer. Then she or I will post the link to Facebook, whew! There is an option for the app to automatically post it to fb, but I like doing it an adding my own intro. It is a TON of effort and takes a lot of commitment that most don't notice til they are out on the trail.


Do YOU have good tips and tricks?
Please add in your comments and suggestions!

17 comments:

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