Internal Frame Backpack | Hikers Chafing; No If’s, And’s or Butts!

internal frame backpack
Hiking Is A Favorite Nature Activity

Internal frame backpack hikes can produce some painful irritations IF you don’t protect yourself. AND, longer treks make you more susceptible to skin chafing. BUTT…this part of your anatomy can really make your backpacking trip an uncomfortable experience.  Ok, I’ll talk about the embarrassing topic for you. Here’s how you can eliminate the chances of monkey butt and thigh chafing while you’re on your hiking excursion. Yes, it’s a real thing!

Hikers; Start With The Skivvies You Wear

100% Cotton Is Not Advised

The underwear you choose can make a huge difference in your comfort and to eliminate skin problems that will make walking unbearable. Absolutely say “No” to 100% cotton.  Normally, everyone loves the feel of cotton, but for a hiker, it means your sweat won’t be absorbed and the cotton material will stick to your skin.  This will cause the seams of your skivvies to bunch up between your thighs.  The result will be friction from walking that will cause your skin to be rubbed raw. Can you say ouch?

For internal frame backpack treks instead, choose lined running shorts, compression shorts or synthetic underwear. Your undies should have at least a 6” long leg for protection against thigh rubbing. Men or women should ever go commando, wear a thong or bikini underwear while hiking. Form fitting undergarments are most effective in a cotton/synthetic blend material.  For chafing prevention, avoiding rayon, viscose, lyocell and modal is key because these materials are made from wood fibers that resemble cotton for absorption and are not moisture wicking.  Many hikers swear by wool during all seasons, but it’s slow to dry when you rinse it out.

Backpack Hiking Requires Good Skin Care

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Men And Women Hikers Are Prone To Skin Chafing

Prevention is always the best medicine for hikers. If you pre-treat your skin with an anti-friction lubricant such as Anti Monkey Butt or Body Glide, you can avoid the chances of your skin rubbing to the point of a painful stage and enjoy your hike more.  Anti Monkey Butt comes in a powder, paste or cream.  Body Glide is a balm which provides long lasting, non-greasy skin protection and repels sweat whenever your body rubs in the wrong way causing irritation. 

The reality is that when you hike, your butt and your thighs are the most vulnerable areas to rubbing. This can lead to painful inflammation. Once you’ve become sore in these areas, trying to power through your hike with healing creams and other remedies is much more difficult. Some products you may use for rashes or chafing will sting badly upon application.  Doesn’t it make sense that if you protect these areas before hiking, you’re more likely to eliminate the misery?

Trekkers; Choose The Right Hiking Backpack

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Backpacking Will Make You Sweat

An internal frame backpack is the most popular backpack for hiking. This type is one which uses aluminum stays (long flat bars) that provide a rigid framework against your back for support and stability.  Internal frame bags tend to be much more lightweight.  The suspension on an external frame backpack has an external rigid frame designed to carry very heavy loads for extended hiking trips.

A hiking bag that has a ventilated mesh back will eliminate sweat from dripping down your back.  The mesh backing is designed to let air flow so you don’t sweat as much.  You’ll also find that tucking your shirt into your pants can lead to sweat dripping off your shirt down your butt crack onto your underwear, which is not good because you’re trying to keep that area dry.

Backpackers; Stay Clean During Your Hike

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Internal Frame Backpack Hikers Enjoying The View

When you make camp for the night, as tired as you may be, it’s really important to clean your skin before you sleep and head out the next day.  Your butt and thighs are important, but also cleanse your feet from sweat and dirt.  Sweat produces salt, so it needs to be removed from your skin at night.  Sleep in clean dry clothes, not the ones you hiked in all day.  Thin synthetic clothing, will dry quickly when you rinse it off. It will also have a cooling effect when you put it back on after washing it.

Pay attention to your toilet habits.  It’s wise to carry a plastic squirt bottle to rinse your privates after a BM.  Dried on poop can be a bad skin irritant, especially when mixed with sweat and friction.  After wiping well with a wet wipe, you can apply some Anti Monkey Butt Powder, or a similar product for extra protection.  Ladies, do not risk infection by wiping with a leaf or a rock; leave that to the guys. Make sure you pack out any wipes or feminine products. Sorry to spell these things out so graphically, but these are facts of life that hikers have to deal with.

Another great preventative is to reduce the amount of hair in your nether region.  Hair increases sweat retention, which makes you more prone to chafing.  Trim extreme body hair in your crotch area, including your butt crevice and testicles (if you’re a male)

What If My Hike Gives Me “Monkey Butt?”

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Hike Wisely And Protect Your Skin

When an internal frame backpack hike ends for the day, you may discover soreness or redness on your thighs or in your butt crevice.  This term, “monkey butt” refers to something baboons get from sitting all day.  Hikers walk all day but the sweat that drips down your buttocks can cause itching, redness, swelling and a painful irritation.  This form of chafing can spread to testicles, vaginal areas and thighs, and is caused by the friction of rubbing wet skin while hiking.  This may happen due to be skin-to-skin or skin to fabric contact during your hike.

Trekkers; Clean And Treat The Area As Soon As You Notice Discomfort

Wash these areas well with soap and water if you have access to water.  If not, this is the time you’ll be glad you packed a plastic squirt bottle with water for cleaning up. Rinse well. This area will most likely sting so be gentle when washing or applying treatment. Gently pat the area dry.  You can apply petroleum jelly or Aloe Vera if you have it in your hiking pack to soothe the chafe.

I recommend A & D ointment which is petroleum based and has vitamins A & D in cod liver oil added.  Carry it in your backpack for multi first aid purposes. Leave chafed areas free of clothing or anything that will rub while you sleep.  Small areas that are badly chafed can be covered in gauze pads for further protection.  If the chafing is intense, take a day off from hiking to enhance healing.

Backpacking Can Be Pain Free With Prevention

On an internal frame backpack trip, start prevention of chafing before you even leave home.  I seriously doubt you want your hiking time to be ruined or delayed from something you could have prevented.  At Nature Trail Backpacks, we welcome hiker’s input regarding products, tips or information that can be sensitive or uncomfortable yet help a fellow hiker in some way.  Please comment below methods or suggestions that you have tried and had good results with.  We strive to make every hiking trip a comfortable and awesome experience for everyone.

Best Backpacks; U.S.Leaf Peeping Up Close And Personal

Gorgeous Colors of Autumn

Best backpacks are not the ones we take our school supplies in, but rather the ones that lead us on a journey.  When the calendar reaches the end of August and the children are headed back to school, we start thinking fall.  Do you love the changing leaf colors?  Do you love the crisp autumn air?  Let’s take a look at the ways you can enjoy the fall foliage whether hiking or riding right through the middle of it.

Hikers and Vacationers Have Many Options

Why Not Take A Northern Rail Trip?

There are several options, such as Northern Rail trips throughout the beautiful Adirondacks. Actually you can see breathtaking colors in nature throughout the entire New England area. Each state has its own individual way to celebrate foliage, harvest and the change of season.  You can explore weekend getaways in rustic cabins for stunning views of Maine, New Hampshire and New York. The ideal trip for you might consist of a secluded wooded cabin by night and day hiking with a day backpack within the area to take in all the splendor of colors.

Fall wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a cider mill or apple orchard during your leaf peeping trips.  Michigan has numerous cider mills to check out by going to  New York and several other states also have orchards and cider mills to visit. You can make your trip complete with warm cider donuts fresh from the fryers.

Hiking Gets You Closer To The Magic Of Fall

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Grab A Day Hiking Backpack And Explore The Foliage

Best backpacks for day hiking jaunts are in the 17-35 liter range for size.  Fall is the perfect time to hike because the weather is cooler and bugs are fewer.  What better way to witness the reds, oranges and yellows of the leaves transforming right before your eyes.  Autumn adventures include hiking trails throughout New Hampshire, Vermont and Connecticut.  Even after peak leaf season, fall backpack hikes are an incredible chance to see the beauty of the outdoors. 

Hike Trail Areas For Gorgeous Autumn Treks

  • Sleeping Giant Tower Trail.  This trail in Hamden, Connecticut is a 1.6 mile one-way hike stone path to the summit at Mt. Carmel.  This trail is part of Sleeping Giant State Park and has a tower offering gorgeous views of Long Island Sound and New Haven, Connecticut.
  • Rattlesnake Mountain in Raymond Maine is a 2.4 mile out and back hike which is perfect for a day hike. You’ll be able to observe all of the colors of in September and October. You can visit the city of Portland for lunch or some hot cider after your excursion up the mountain, making this the perfect outdoor leaf peeping trek.
  • Sterling Pond Trail near Jefferson, Vermont is a 2.5 mile round trip hike. Enjoy the great colored foliage along with Sterling Pond which is very serene during autumn.  This hike has a few steep and rocky challenges for hikers to navigate, but is well worth the trip.
  • Best backpacks can be seen on hikers trekking the Rome Point Trail in Saunderstown, Rhode Island.  This trail is great for walkers of all skill levels and is less crowded in fall.  The incredible scenery changes constantly on this hike ending with views of the bay and seals to observe.
  • Hikers can absolutely enjoy views of the southern Berkshires at the summit of the Monument Mountain Trail in Barrington, Massachusetts. You’ll encounter a few steep scramble areas in this 2.5 mile round trip hike.

Road Trips, Camping And Hiking In Autumn

Route 385 In South Dakota

Best backpacks can be taken on any road trip or camping trip and used to venture deep into the Black Hills National Forest along Route 385 in scenic South Dakota.  This is possibly the longest road through the forest, running 59 miles between Custer and Deadwood.  Amidst gorgeous Ponderosa pines, you’ll encounter splashes of color from deciduous trees peeking through. Sheridan and Pactola Lakes add vast stretches of deep blue in between, making for a beautiful color palette of scenery. You can stop and camp, hike or fish to observe nature closer than the car window.  If you prefer, a road trip drive can take it all in without stopping. You could have lunch along the way and take time to try your luck and gamble at the Mineral Palace in historic Deadwood.

Our Southern States Put On A Fabulous Show

Georgia Is Georg-Ous!

Parts of the South, such as the Blue Ridge Trail in Georgia will surprise you for foliage that you think is only in the Northeast. The Blue Ridge Mountains give way to gorgeous fall scenery and a fabulous Oktoberfest celebration in Helen, Georgia.  This state also has the Tallulah Gorge State Park where you can explore the 1000 foot chasm carved by the Tallulah River over millions of years.  You can camp in a cabin, go “glamping” or set up your own tent in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Add a day backpack hike to your trip for observing nature better.

Backpack Hikes In The Northeast Reign Supreme

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The Adirondacks Offers Awesome Fall Hiking

Best backpacks come in handy along the historic Route 6 in northern Pennsylvania. You can take a “road trip” through the 76 mile Elk County Loop that crosses through the Pennsylvania Wilds and see large herds of elk. While you are there, why not experience hiking and stop at the Worlds End State Park for camping or stay in a cabin on the Loyalsock Trail where you can revel in beautiful views of forests in vibrant color

If you head towards Boston MA, you can walk or hike the Freedom Trail. This hike takes you through 16 historical sites, all while enjoying the explosion of colorful leaves.  There is also a Museum of the American Revolution that just opened in 2017.

Discover Other U.S. Destinations For Fall Foliage

Taos, New Mexico With Fall Brilliance

For best backpacks excursions, why not try other areas that burst with color in the U.S.?  One such place is the Ozark National Park in Arkansas which has over 1.2 million acres of dazzling scenery within its mountains and parks.  You can also hike to beautiful natural springs and rivers here. If you love waterfalls, imagine them encased in the brilliance of fall’s artistry. You can witness over 50 waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon. 

The southwestern panorama of Taos, New Mexico is a sight to behold in autumn. Most worthy of mention is The Enchanted Circle which is an 83 mile drive that connects several New Mexico towns with Mother Nature’s vivid colors.

Where Do You Hike During Autumn For Colorful Views?

best backpacks
Hiking For Colorful Views

Whether you hike, walk, stay in a hotel or cabin, you’ll be glad you treated yourself to the splendor of this changing season in many states in the U.S.  Nature will never cease to amaze you.  Experience it head on with a week-long hike, or take a rail trip or road trip throughout the gorgeous areas of our country that put on this incredible annual show for mankind. Nature Trail Backpacks would love to read and share your comments of the best leaf peeping areas you like to visit every year. We hope you will get outdoors and enjoy it up close and personal.

Day Backpack | 4 Types of Hikes Anybody Can Do To Lose Weight

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Day Hiking Trips Can Lead To Weight Loss

A day backpack is the perfect size for a casual day of hiking that is easy and beneficial for staying fit.  You may be offended if someone tells you to “go take a hike” when in reality that person is giving you great advice.  Hiking is perceived by many as a grueling climbing sport.  Yes, it can be, but if you are moderately active in life, you can do a day hike with no problem.  Here are examples of hikes that are great for beginners or anyone who wants to drop a few pounds by hiking.  These treks will not leave you saying “never again!”

Local Hiking Areas That Are Best For Beginners

Get To Know Your Local Hiking Trails

With the ability to find out just about anything online today, the easiest way to discover hiking trails in your community or an area you have interest in, is on the internet.  For example, doing a search for “Easy Hiking In Albany, NY” will give you many examples of where you can go nearby Albany for day hikes and nature paths.  Of course you would substitute Albany NY for your hometown and state.  Once you have found some listings, look for the type of surroundings that interest you.  Do you prefer an open paved trail, a more wooded dirt trail or an area specifically designated for nature walks?  The best way to burn calories is by walking, so whichever type of path you take, you will be giving your body the activity and movement that’s better than sitting on the couch for weight loss.

Paved Trails Used By Backpack Hikers

Paved Trails Are Easy Hiking

Day backpack trips on a paved trail are often combined as a biking trail.  You will see hikers and bicyclists there enjoying the outdoors.  These trails are generally winding paths through urban suburbs and cities in a very natural setting to give a feeling of being in nature without viewing a city atmosphere.  You might also see hikers who are strolling on boardwalk trails, which often cross over water or marshy ground.  Walkers sometimes go without a hiking backpack. This makes no sense because you’ll need to bring certain essentials even if only for a few hours.  Some necessities you may not even anticipate needing, but you’ll be very glad you had them. 

Circumstances and elements change while hiking that may be unforeseen, such as sporadic weather changes, hunger, thirst and hot sun.  You may balk at the idea of carrying something on your back, but the reality is, you need certain things readily and the extra few pounds are very beneficial for weight bearing exercise. 

We’re talking just a few extra pounds, not 20 or 30lbs. that long trek hikers carry. Even for a minimal trail hike, you need to consume water, reapply sunscreen, have regular snacks and may need a bandaid unexpectedly.  Those few items in your hiking backpack are useful and the light weight of the pack is good for the calorie burn of your hike as you walk at a steady pace beyond a stroll.

Dirt Path Trekking – Hiking Terrain Matters

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Dirt Trails Lead To Beautiful Scenery

Day backpack hikes on dirt trails are a typical type of trail many hikers prefer.  The difficulty of the terrain can vary on foot trails.  Some will lead to mountain tops, waterfalls, wildflower meadows or ponds.  The exploration aspect of this type of hike is not exceptionally challenging, yet can give you a good walking workout to help burn calories.  Exercise was never more fun or provided such sensory stimulation. 

Would you rather walk on a treadmill in a sweaty smelling gym, or among pine trees and wildflowers on the trail?  Dirt paths may have a rock or gravel base, but usually isn’t too difficult to navigate.  Inclines on the path will help you use mild exertion which is a plus when you are hiking for weight loss.

Off Trail Paths For Adventure Hikes

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Wooded Off Trail Path

If you want to attempt a more rugged experience without the confines of a specific trail outlined, you can follow an area map to lead you to a particular destination via woods, hills or wilderness.  The terrain will consist of dirt, grass and rock, which will give your legs a workout. 

On this type of hike, trekking poles are advised to keep your balance so you don’t fall from uneven spots on the ground.  The stability of the poles will help you navigate and also provide more of an upper body workout to enhance your hiking experience in regards to energy burn.  Most trekking poles fold, so that when you are hiking level ground, you can attach them to your hiking bag until the terrain changes.

Climbing Hike Trails To Amp Up Calorie Burn

Climbing Is A Great Hike

A day backpack trip, since you love being outside, climbing during your hike is excellent for weight loss.  You may think rock climbing is too strenuous, but we’re not talking on the side of a mountain.  A hike that has an uphill rocky terrain is one you can easily navigate.  Once you commit to this physical challenge, you’ll begin to feel confidence and see yourself in a different light.  Your subconscious will lean toward right food choices and behaviors.  Your initial 30 minute paved trail hike will escalate to a 3 hour outdoor excursion that makes you feel like a badass when you accomplish climbing and hiking goals.

Muscle helps burn fat while you are climbing over rocks or hilly terrain. You’ll be building muscle, toning your arms and legs, and improving your overall flexibility. As you build muscle through hiking, your body starts to burn fat resulting in lower numbers on the scale…all while having a great time!  You’d have to work so much harder at the gym to break a sweat, and the best part is, it will happen at whatever pace you choose.

Hikers; Forget The No Pain-No Gain Theory For Exercise

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Day Hiking In The Great Outdoors

Day backpack hiking, unlike neighborhood walks, will burn more calories.  Just hiking three times a week for 30-60 minutes will produce significant results on the scales.  How many times have you planned to go to the gym to lose a few pounds and ended up making excuses every time?  Hiking is so much more enjoyable. It doesn’t feel like dreaded exercise, yet it will help cancel out that pizza you ate at a party.  Food intake should be monitored, but the distraction of hiking helps curb random snacking when you are bored.  

The added activity of hiking, along with healthy eating habits will make you feel better. Hikes help you drop some weight without feeling like you’re in boot camp or starvation.  Choose frequent healthy snacks during your hike, like protein bars, low fat granola or fresh fruit.  Plan to have a light snack every 90 minutes of your hike to maintain energy levels.

You don’t have to do boring reps of non-stop push ups or grueling hours on an elliptical machine for your calorie burn. You can enjoy the outdoors with a whole lot of serenity mixed in. Hikes will become something you look forward to instead of avoiding.  What you will need to do to avoid the pain part of no-pain/no-gain is some mild stretches before and after your hike.  It is important to limber up muscles that may have been sedentary for a long time before you expect them to move through your hike.

Your Weight Loss Hiking Story

Nature Trail Backpacks is interested in how you have lost weight hiking. Are you maintaining a healthy weight through regular weekly hikes? Please comment below to help other hikers feel motivated like you are. We would love to be part of your weight loss story and your hiking journeys. We wish everyone happy hiking!

Outdoor Backpack – Zion The “Mighty Lion”; 5 Incredible Hiking Spots

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Outdoor Backpack Hiker At Zion National Park

Outdoor backpack enthusiasts, and just about everyone else knows that a lion is king of the jungle.  Zion National Park is one of the “king” hiking places in the country located in southwestern Utah.  This area may not be close to where you live, but it is more than worthy of a special trip to witness this expansive canyon. The hiking opportunities are boundless in Utah’s first National Park that is rich with the history of natives and pioneers with massive scenic cliffs of pink and red sandstone.  Here are 5 exceptional hiking spots to experience in Zion Park ranging from easy to strenuous. Time to pack your hiking backpack.

Hikers Can Enjoy The Grotto Trail

The Breathtaking Grotto Trail

This trail is for beginner hikers or those just wanting to experience scenic views without difficult navigation.  The Grotto Trail connects the Zion Lodge to the Grotto.  The lodge is the southern entrance to the Zion Canyon in the National Park which has parking and lodging for your vacation or hiking trip.  The Grotto is a short half mile trail with a picnic area with loads of beautiful wildflowers.  It’s level canyon floor makes it easy for hikers with small children or seniors.  It winds through a beautiful wooded meadow and is in full sun in the afternoon, so pack sunscreen in your hiking bag.

You’ll see a historic stone building built in 1924, which served as the very first museum until it later became an artist’s residence building.  You will find this an easy  wooded hike for any skill level.  You can choose to end your hike here and have lunch or continue onto the Weeping Rock Trail.

Backpack Hikers; Check Out The Weeping Rock Trail

Hikers On The Weeping Rock Trail

Outdoor backpack hikers who can navigate some steep areas with minor drop-offs will find this half hour hike mildly challenging. The view is absolutely worth the incline. You can see trail-side exhibits here and an alcove with dripping springs from the Navajo Sandstone which is very serene and relaxing at the end of the trail. This trail is only 0.3 miles with a gorgeous view down canyon of Zion’s signature landmark, The Great White Throne, which is a popular attraction for mountain climbers. Bird lovers will enjoy this trail, especially in Fall when the maple trees have brilliantly colored leaves.

An Incredible Hiking Experience; The Narrows

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An Awesome River Hike Through The Narrows

This area is one of the premier hikes in Zion National Park.  This hike is considerably more challenging and tiring because it is 16 miles long, and requires a permit.  This river hike is best hiked in the morning when crowds are less and afternoon thunderstorms aren’t a threat.  Always check weather conditions before a hike of this nature due to the potential for flash flooding. As you trek further upstream, it is less populated. You’ll find spectacular scenery as you actually wade through the river as your trail.

This hike should only be attempted by experienced hikers.  There is a current in the river that can make for slippery footing. The water is cold, even in summer, which would require you to have appropriate clothing and footwear.  It’s advisable to carry extra socks and shoes in your hiking pack for when your feet get soaked. When you reach the area called “Wall Street”, the canyon walls get very close together with incredible views.  Check out this video of The Narrows;

Trail Hiking Riverside With Scenic Views

The Riverside Walk at Zion National Park

If hiking in the river is not appealing to you, you can choose the Riverside walk instead. The trail is paved and you can view the Virgin River as you hike.  This area has lush vegetation with surrounding tall weeping canyon walls. This is a leisurely hike for inexperienced hikers and children that is approximately 2 miles long. Several spots along this trail give easy access if you want to head down to the river and wade in the cool water. You can choose to hike up the river a bit, or turn back if you are not comfortable. Generally speaking, this hike is perfect for a serene nature walk with the sounds of the flowing water. It is especially popular in late afternoon when the sun is not directly on the canyon, making it a bit cooler to navigate.

Day Hikers Love The Emerald Pools

The Emerald Pools Are Fantastic For Hiking

Outdoor backpack trekkers have several hiking options in this area ranging from short and sweet to strenuous and steep.  This hike is three miles round trip if you hike the entire trail.  Elevation changes range between 70 feet to 350 feet, depending on how far you hike. The lower trail follows the canyon bottom where you’ll find the Lower Emerald Pool at the base of the cliff.  If you like streams, you’ll love how two of them spread across the cliff and trickle into the pools.  During spring thawing, those trickles become powerful waterfalls. 

At the Middle Trail you can ascend the ridge to multiple gorgeous viewpoints above the lower pool. From this point, you can climb a steep and sandy trail leading to the Upper Pool, which is larger.  Here you will witness the splendor of a dramatic high waterfall from a towering cliff.  The intensity of this waterfall also becomes more evident with runoff from melting snow in Spring.   All trails are clearly marked allowing you to choose how much further you want to attempt this hike.

Outdoor Backpack Trekking Offers Choices

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Hike Hard Or Easy – Your Choice

If ever there was a sport that had freedom of choice, this is the best one.  Hiking is a non-demanding flexible hobby that is great exercise that doesn’t feel monotonous. It allows you to decide how far and how long you hike when you hit the trail.  That means that regardless of your physical ability to endure miles and miles of a hike, you can make it casual and short if you prefer. 

You can enjoy nature and spend the time as you please with a destination goal or a simple one mile hike to observe the beauty around you as you live in the moment.  Nature Trail Backpacks wants everyone to enjoy this fabulous sport with a quality and durable backpack to help your trip be a success.  Help newcomers to the hiking world by leaving a comment below regarding your favorite hiking tip or visit to Zion National Park.  Wherever you go, we wish you happy hiking!

Hiking Bag – Plants On The Trail; Safe Or Deadly?

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Foraging Is Fun – Beware Of Certain Plants

A hiking bag trip can eliminate the dreaded grocery store or crowded farmers market.  You can get fresh herbs and plants while enjoying your favorite hiking trail or wilderness trek.  This is an awesome time to get excited about plants in nature, but let’s make sure which ones are good for you while others can make you very sick or be fatal.  This is not to scare anyone, but I always say knowledge is power.

Another Phase Of Hiking That’s Totally Enjoyable

Edible Plants Are Nutritious

Seeking out edible plants adds layers of fun to your hiking experience. It is something you can do solo, with friends and even your children.  You’ll enjoy the feeling when your child begins pointing out to you all the recognizable herbs that are safe and good to eat when you hike together. Teaching our children about nature is one of the best gifts you can give them. Adults should learn first and then introduce the wonder of the great outdoors to their kids or friends during a backpack hike.

Hikers; Learn Before You Experiment With Tasting

Learn Before You Go On A Forage Hike

Hiking bag excursions, especially for beginners, should be preceded by learning important aspects of being in the woods or wilderness.  This is not a learn-as-you-go teaching. If you try that, you will have several bad experiences which could have been avoided.  There are many books and field guides to read regarding the safety of hiking and foraging for live edibles.  These guides will help you to positively identify plants.  

Many of nature’s plants are edible and good for you, but look-alike versions could cause you serious health issues such as diarrhea, vomiting or respiratory problems.  Know before you go and be sure before you consume.  Don’t limit yourself to visual ID alone. Lots of wild edible plants have similar look-alike varities. Learn how to differentiate similar plants by smell, feel, texture, etc.  You can use an app on your phone to compare images of the plant in front of you, such as Edible and Poisonous Plants in the Google Play store, to get answers right on the spot.

Trekkers; Learn What Trail Plants Are Non-Poisonous

  • Dandelions – You can eat every part of the dandelion including roots, stems, leaves and flowers.
  • Wild Leek – Allium tricoccum (commonly known as ramp, ramps, spring onion, ramson, wild leek, wood leek, and wild garlic) is a North American species of wild onion widespread across eastern Canada and the eastern United States.
  • Peeled prickly pear cactus is a pain to peel, but oh so tasty! There aren’t big thorns on it, and the cactus it grows from isn’t particularly dense in thorns either. The skin of the fruit, however, is covered in tiny needles. They are hard to see and will pierce your skin yet be almost impossible to remove once you realize they hurt. Watch an online video for proper cutting of the fruit to eliminate their needles in your skin:
  • Common Cattail –  You can use the stalks, young shoots, pollen, spikes, sprouts and roots for a variety of recipes. Cattails are considered to be one of the most versatile edible plants in the world.  They are widely found throughout the U.S.
  • Day Lilies – You can use the entire plant. The flowers can be made into fritters and the young shoots can be added to salads.

Backpackers; Stay Away From These Dangerous Plants

Morning Glory:

A beautiful plant that contains the potent hallucinogen LSA, a cousin to LSD. You’ll be a danger to yourself and others if you go on a bad trip with this stuff. Pretty to look at, but don’t consume them.

Manchineel Tree

Your hiking bag or any parts of you should never even brush past this tree. It looks like a regular tree, but the Manchineel can kill you. Everything about it is extremely toxic. If you touch its leaves, they will cause “a strong allergic dermatitis.” It’s so bad that, if you stay under its foliage while it’s raining, the water will cause instant blistering wherever it.  Its native growing range is between tropical southern North America , in Florida Everglades and northern South American Caribbean Coast. This tree is considered the most dangerous in the world.

Poisonwood or Metopium: 

This is a flowering plant in the sumac family, and is also called the Poisontree. This extremely unpopular tree produces a sap that when it comes in contact with skin can cause painful blisters almost immediately. Its gummy sap is very difficult to remove from the skin as it’s not completely water soluble and is spread easily when scratched causing even more irritation. Locals in the Caribbean suggest a bit of WD40 will help dissolve the stubborn sap but may create complications. For that reason, it’s best to avoid it altogether.

Stinging Nettles: 

Hiking bag trips can sometimes bring you in contact with a stinging nettle rash. It occurs when the skin comes into contact with the “hairs” on stinging nettles. Those “hairs” act like needles when they penetrate the skin. Chemicals flow through them into the skin, which causes a stinging sensation and a rash. Nettles can be recognized by their jagged, deep green leaves and greenish-white flowers.

The leaves and stems are covered with stinging hairs, that when brushed up against, can cause a painful, burning sensation. Stinging nettle has been used for hundreds of years to treat painful muscles and joints, eczema, arthritis, gout, anemia and urinary tract infections. Not exactly poisonous, but total care must be taken when coming in contact with your skin.


Giant hogweed is a very large, invasive and noxious weed/plant that can cause painful burns and permanent scarring. If you have an encounter with this plant, you must seek immediate medical attention because it can cause severe burns. Hogweed can grow up to 14 feet and has ridged stems with reddish purple blotches. Brushing against or breaking the plant releases sap that, combined with sunlight and moisture, can cause a severe burn within 24 to 48 hours. 

Giant hogweed grows along streams and rivers and in fields, forests, yards and roadsides. They produce huge white flower heads that are attractive to look at, with large leaf formations that resemble an oak leaf shape.

Poison Ivy :  

Many nature lovers have dealt with this annoying shrub. It’s best to remember the jingle, “Leaves of three, beware of me!”  Usually found in swampy or boggy areas where it grows as small tree or tall shrub, it is similar to poison oak or poison sumac. These three are grouped together because they share a common irritant; an oily resin/sap called urushiol. This resin is potent and it only takes brushing past it to cause a bad reaction. The resin coats all parts of these plants.

Poison Ivy has a stem with a larger leaf at the end, and two smaller leaves shooting off the sides. The leaves can be notched or smooth on the edges, and they have pointed tips. The plant is reddish in the spring, green in summer, and yellow/orange in the fall.

It’s not uncommon to see clusters of greenish-white berries on poison ivy through the spring and summer, as well as green/yellow flowers.  Poison oak grows basically like a shrub about three feet tall. The tips of its leaves are rounded rather than pointed. Its leaves are bright green in spring, turn yellow-green or pink in summer, and finally turn yellow into dark brown in the fall.

Poison Sumac

Sumac is defined with reddish stems.  It has 7-13 leaves, in pairs, with a single leaf at the tip.  Leaves are oval, elongated, and smooth on the edges and are usually 2-4 inches long. They’re bright orange in spring, dark green in summer, and red-orange in fall.  Sumac thrives in watery, swampy places, mostly in the Midwest and Southeastern U.S., where high humidity is predominant. It grows as a tree or tall shrub, 5-20 feet tall.

Poke weed:  

Common in the American south, this is often prepared as a soul food dish. If eaten raw, however, poke weed can cause convulsions, vomiting, and respiratory paralysis, so if you harvest some, cook it before eating it.

“White Baneberry” 

This plant is native to eastern and northern North America. The whole plant is toxic, but their are severe consequences from ingesting the sweet tasting berries. They contain a carcinogenic toxin with a dangerous sedative effect on cardiac muscles. 


Some beautiful plants can be deadly toxic. Oleander can be found in backyards mostly, but I mention it because many hikes are done on old properties. This shrub-like plant can survive high winds and salt spray from our coastlines. If you hike abandoned properties, you could encounter this shrub left behind that grew in spite of obstacles.

It produces clusters of gorgeous blooms in summer in white, yellow, peach, salmon, pink or red. Don’t let that beauty fool you, it is considered one of the most poisonous plants in the world.  All parts of this beautiful shrub contain poison; a single leaf ingested by a child is known to be deadly.

Choke Cherry:

Also known as the wild cherry, choke cherry plants produce large sprays of white flowers with small cherries that can affect the respiratory system if ingested. Like its name, fatal asphyxiation may occur.

Water Hemlock:

Considered the most poisonous plant in North America, this “poison parsnip” can cause seizures, confusion, and death due to respiratory failure in just a few hours after ingestion.

Backpack Hiking; Forage And Have Fun In The Wild

It is beneficial to learn how to follow wild edible plants through all the seasons.   If you journal your hikes, you can follow wild edible plants through each season.  When you locate perennial plants that you want to harvest, they may not look the same from one season to the next and therefore be harder to recognize.

Some plants can look totally different when they are not at peak flavor for harvest.  Positive identification is paramount to edibles. When you note their location, you can return to that spot in early spring and you’ll know right where to find it when it’s the best eating.

Hikers Beware Of Foraging In These Spots

Whenever you backpack hike, use caution to never forage for wild edible plants near busy roads because plants absorb lead and other heavy metals from toxic exhaust. These toxins tend to settle in the soil even if the traffic no longer exists. Also, avoid areas that are or have been sprayed with pesticides along roadsides. Use tick precautions in areas of high grass.

Any Pack Hiker Can Become Plant Knowledgeable

With some research and experience in foraging, you will soon learn about new plants and how you can even apply their medicinal qualities to your life. Your identification proficiency will improve with each season.  Hiking isn’t always just about pretty scenes and challenging climbs.  It’s soothing to the soul and very much about new discoveries. 

Our customers and fellow hikers at Nature Trail Backpacks would love to learn from other readers any info that would help them forage easier and get excited about hiking.  Please help others by commenting below and sharing this article. Thanks and happy hiking and foraging to everyone.

Concealed Carry Backpack; 4 Ways It Could Save Your Life On A Hike

concealed carry backpack
A Concealed Carry Backpack Hiker

A concealed carry backpack allows you to carry a firearm within your hiking bag in it’s own secure pocket. Not everyone feels comfortable with carrying a gun when they hike, but experienced hikers can vouch for the fact that it could, at some point on your trek, save your life. First, you need to be licensed to carry a firearm, so that would be a mandatory step before carrying during your hiking trip. Here are four ways that having a gun in your backpack might literally save your life.

Who Would Wear A Concealed Carry Hiking Backpack?

concealed carry backpack
You Can Carry Your Gun Discreetly In This CCW Backpack

A concealed carry backpack is often called a CCW (concealed carry weapon) backpack. Very often, tactical and covert mission employees use this type of backpack. However, more often these days, average citizens are carrying backpacks of this style as an EDC (every day carry) backpack. Hikers, in particular are trending toward CCW backpacks when they hit the trail. Even during your leisurely hike, you’d feel safer because you’d be prepared. Whether it’s in the wild or if a dangerous individual or animal presents a threat to your safety, you’ll be ready to protect yourself.

Hunters are also choosing CCW backpacks for the convenience of having their weapon close at hand. Depending on what you are hunting for, sometimes a rifle is not needed and a pistol is more appropriate for the hunt. In a CCW bag, you can easily fit your gun into its own protected pocket of your backpack.

I’m Hiking For Relaxation; Why Carry A Gun?

Even if you are heading out for a leisurely day hike, depending on where you hike, there will most likely be wildlife in abundance. Chances are, on a public hiking trail which is frequented by local hikers, you may see a rabbit or deer in the distance. In that case, you wouldn’t feel the need to carry a firearm, or would you? Let’s examine some reasons why you might find yourself in a situation where a gun might be used out of the blue.

Backpack Hikers; Your Safety Is Sometimes Compromised

Do you feel we live in a different world now as compared to even two decades ago?Citizens now feel the need to protect themselves and innocent others like never before. It only makes sense that some folks would rather be safe than sorry, and therefore choose to carry firearm protection. Using it responsibly, meaning only in life threatening circumstances, is imperative so you can avoid accidents. It’s your personal choices that backpack manufacturers have come to recognize in styling their hiking packs in recent years.

Backpackers Will Be Amidst Wildlife In Nature

Wildlife Is Beautiful To Observe From A Distance

What type of hike you are going on? This definitely comes into play when you consider many aspects of your hike. How much time will you be hiking and what area of the wilderness will you be in? If you are backpacking or thru-hiking, your trip may be for days or weeks on an expedition. It’s most likely you will encounter wildlife on your journey. Rattlesnakes, grizzly bears and other aggressive animals can pose a dangerous threat to you. Hikers feel safer when carrying a fire arm to protect them from harm that could be fatal.

Why Do Hikers Need A Special Kind Of Backpack for CCW?

A concealed carry backpack is a hiking pack with a specifically designated pocket to store your firearm. You wouldn’t want to just toss a pistol into your backpack loosely. You wouldn’t want to worry about having your gun fall out of your backpack on the trail and possibly losing it. Your pack endures lots of bumps and jolts on rough terrain as you navigate the trail. This fact could cause your gun to discharge and possibly injure you.

For every day carry, you may not want to have your pistol exposed by wearing it openly. CCW backpacks have special pockets designed to safely carry a firearm. It also conceals your firearm from others within your backpack. You may prefer to use the CCW pocket to carry a 15″ laptop. You may not want to carry a laptop and prefer not to carry a firearm. Your CCW pocket can store anything in this area safely.

Red Rock Gear Makes A Great Hiking Backpack Sling That Is CCW

concealed carry backpack
The Red Rock Gear CCW Sling Backpack

This concealed carry backpack is ideal for you to carry your firearm, extra magazines, medical gear or other emergency items. Whether you’re hiking, doing your job or any mission you choose, you’ll want a pack that carries whatever you need most. This backpack provides you with increased ability to carry mission essential items. You can also enjoy the ease of concealment. This is especially important for times when you don’t want to advertise that you are carrying a piece.

This hiking pack allows for quick access to your gun when needed quickly, like when you accidentally spook a rattlesnake. You may not have time to run away, in which case, quick action is necessary to avoid being fatally bitten. The beauty of a CCW bag is that when you carry it, you aren’t making it obvious that it contains a weapon. This is is exactly what you want in a CCW backpack; to not draw attention to what you are trying to conceal. When you have rapid accessibility to your firearm, during unexpected circumstances, you’ll feel safer in the wilderness.

Can A Day Hiker Use A Small Back Pack As His CCW Hike Bag?

concealed carry backpack

You could easily use a day hiking pack as a concealed carry bag. It’s purely a matter of your preference. You can use a small daypack, as long as it has an easy entry pocket that is deep enough to stabilize your firearm. You’ll want to make sure you don’t need that area to carry your hiking essentials, like food and water.

In some cases, you can modify your concealed carry backpack to customize it specifically for your needs. Ask yourself if it’s more important to carry something else in place of a firearm for altercations with threatening individuals. Are you OK with other means of warding off a wild animal about to attack? What makes you most comfortable in your particular hiking area?

Trekkers Prefer CCW Hiking Bags For Man Reasons

concealed carry backpack
Backpack Hiking Is Calming If You’re Prepared

If a concealed carry backpack is something you would carry on your hiking trips, it’s great to have the convenience of an area specifically for your gun. If you’re a ranger, backcountry hiker or a concerned citizen, this type of backpack would work. However, just because a hiking pack is labeled as a CCW bag doesn’t mean you have to carry a firearm. Literally anything that fits in the “pocket” designated for a pistol, is fair game to carry. You can customize this kind of backpack to carry any essentials that matter most to you. You can utilize this readily accessible area by packing your most frequently used item(s) in the CCW pocket for quick retrieval while hiking.

Nature Trail Backpacks believes you should load your backpack your own way. As long as you balance the load weight, you’ll have a comfortable hike. If you have questions, please tell us in the comment section below. We aim to help you make the right choice for a hiking bag so that you can always enjoy happy hiking!

Nature Trail Backpacks | 10 Great Hiking Blogs And Twitter Posters

Nature Trail Backpacks gathered ten impressive and informative blogger sites and Twitter posters pertaining to hiking and the great outdoors. We simplified a list for hikers interested in learning about hiking adventures, information and tips from experienced trekkers who love being outside in nature. Here is the list of our favorites that we enjoyed and we think you will find interesting and informative.

nature trail backpacks
Backpack Hiking During A Sunset

Nature Trail Backpacks owners enjoy helping hikers learn how to enjoy the magnificence of nature while walking. There are many levels of hiking so you don’t have to be a die- hard thru-hiker to enjoy the sport. All you need is a backpack to carry your daily essentials and a few hours to walk at your own pace. Here is plenty of useful information for inexperienced as well as seasoned hikers who blog their experience in all kinds of hiking situations.

Here is a list of the ten online bloggers, in addition to our own blog, at naturetrailbackpacks/ These hikers and nature lovers have plenty to say about hiking and camping with a backpack. You’ll find their information helpful so that you too can achieve a successful hike right from the first step.

Backpack Hiking Bloggers With Great Information

nature trail backpacks
Hikers Have The Best Stories To Tell

Outdoor Veteran Hiker

Hike It Baby

The Hiking Life

Hiking For Her

Hike 734

  • This blogger tells of hiking in Glacier National Park and other national parks. Hikers will benefit from his information specific to the places he has hiked. Great reading.

Easy Hiker

Girl On A Hike

The Helpful Hiker

Mountains With Megan

  • Megan is an Appalachian Trail Girl. She’s hiked in many places around the world. As a thru-hiker, she discusses trail life and its challenges. Great blog!

Appalachian Thru Hiker

  • Kevin is a highly experienced hiker on the Appalachian Trail. He discusses gear needed, technical details and his love of hiking the AT. You’ll enjoy the great info and situations to help you decide if hiking is for you.

Ten Great Hiking And Nature Twitter Posts Worth Following

  • Trails _@Unblazed   Stories and useful tips for day hikes. Great reads!
  • Pure Adirondacks @PureADK  A community, lifestyle brand and digital resource for outdoor recreation in the Adirondack Park.
  • Camp Stuffs @ campstuffs Avid outdoor enthusiast into hiking, camping and nature.
  • One Sun Chaser@onesunchasers  Great guides for hiking and camping
  • Craig and Kathy@nomadhikers Hiking guide authors sharing insights from their hiking experiences.
  • The Thankful Outdoorsman@ bushcamp2  Outdoor enthusiast living off and loving the Earth. Wonderful foodie tweeter.
  • Through The Trees @JourneyTTTrees  Hiking and nature adventurers who love science and the environment.
  • Kathy Pang@PangPangKat Loves to trail blaze, explore, hike and run.
  • Lauren The Helpful Hiker@TheHelpfulHiker Outdoor blogger with ideas and inspiration for anyone who loves the great outdoors. 
  • Northern Tails@NorthernTails1  Passionate about his golden retriever and hiking through the woods.

Nature Trail Backpacks founders, Jeanine and Sal Falco, are the owners of this hiking backpack online store. Their love of the Adirondack Mountains is because they were raised in upstate New York. Are you a four-season outdoor worshiper also?  You will enjoy the passion they invoke in telling of their own experiences.

They want to inspire you because they love the outdoors. That’s the reason they now offer an online company for those who crave the thrills of hiking and camping with a backpack. It is their hope to encourage others to seek the outdoors for serenity and exercise for better health because we all live in a stressful world.

Outdoor Adventures Are Available To Anyone

nature trail backpacks
Beautiful Hurricane Mountain In The Adirondacks

If you can walk, you can hike, because hiking is simply exploring nature in its purest essence on foot. Folks of all ages and physical shape may want to consider short hikes to begin a lifetime of longer nature hikes. Once you’ve hiked and have witnessed some pretty incredible views, you’ll be hooked. When you check out some of these hiker’s blogs, you may have questions answered that you’ve wondered about. You may even alleviate a fear or two that’s been keeping you from trying your first hike.

Family Time In Hiking Is Invaluable

nature trail backpacks
Family Hiking Is A Special Time Together

Nature Trail Backpacks offer durable and quality hiking bags so that everyone can feel the exhilaration of nature experiences. Adults and kids will thrive in a experience of pure exploration. Children will enjoy the parental time of learning and growing as a family. Then, one day they may introduce their own kids to hiking because they loved it so much. Chances are you will love the outdoors with zest because your kids’ excitement will be contagious.

Have you enjoyed great hiking experiences , either solo or with your family or friends? If so, your positive thoughts help inexperienced hikers feel more comfortable. Please share some inspiration for our readers in a comment below. Happy hiking from Nature Trail Backpacks.

Day Pack Backpack | 8 Beginner Mistakes To Avoid On Your First Hike

day pack backpack
Day Pack Hikes Are A Great Introduction To Hiking

A day pack backpack trip can be enjoyed by anyone.  Does your interest in hiking seem like a passing thing due to uncertainty about how to begin?  Do you have fears that prevent you from experiencing all that nature has to offer?  You should know that all hikers had “issues” on their first few hikes that dissipated with experience and learning along the way. If you are overzealous and make rookie mistakes that you’ll soon regret, you will give up your hiking dreams.  Why not be armed with facts and suggestions that will make you feel confident and like you’ve been hiking for years?  Let’s examine how you can bypass the rookie stage.  These 8 beginner mistakes will save you time, physical agony and frustration.  Don’t you just want to get out there and have a successful first hike?

Hikers; Ease Into Backpacking With A Day Trip

day pack backpack
There Is A Hiking Path In Every Area

The very best way to break into hiking is on ½ day or one day hike.  Like any new venture, it makes sense to take it slow in the beginning.  If you over pack your hiking backpack, or attempt too much time on the trail at first, you won’t just make an occasional blunder, you’ll feel overwhelmed and  like it’s too much work instead of pleasure. That is like hiking suicide and could rob you of perfectly flawless future hiking experiences. Most of the work is in preparing and educating yourself.  Sound boring?  It shouldn’t be, because knowing is always better than guessing.

Eight Backpack Hiking Suggestions For First Hikes

Backpack Size

  • A day pack backpack in the 11-20 liter range is perfect for beginner hikes.  Get yourself a quality bag specifically meant for outdoor hiking.  A college book bag will not provide the durability from the elements.  You will find yourself still using your daypack once you move on to longer hikes as a separate bag within your larger backpack for side trips. You won’t be wasting money on a temporary backpack.  It can also be put aside when you take longer treks as a dedicated “go bag” for natural disaster emergencies.

Hiker Clothing And Shoes or Boots

Dress For Hiking Conditions And Weather

2. You’ll need to pack clothing for many weather conditions.  Here’s where a little internet searching is helpful.  Check out the forecast hour-by-hour for the day before your hike and the day of your hike.  Weather can be unpredictable, so you need to be prepared.  Figure out where you will hike and if you’ll be climbing to higher elevations where it may be colder than when you begin. 

Wear layers that you can remove or add to when you become too warm or it gets colder. Choose moisture-wicking clothes like you’d wear at the gym.  Cotton is not the friend of hikers, not in shirts, pants or socks.  It absorbs and does not dry quickly, leaving you vulnerable to rashes and blisters which will not be pleasant for walking. You’ll need to bring a water repellent jacket and a sweatshirt for sudden rain or a drop in temperatures.

Socks should be wool or polyester, even in summer. Never use cotton due to moisture retention.  Wear supportive boots or shoes that are broken in and are very comfortable. Don’t buy new ones that you haven’t worn before. You will need to break them in for a day or two before your hike so they can adapt to your feet.  Wear them with your hiking socks when you break them in.  Wouldn’t you rather discover any potential problems or discomfort at home instead of on the trail?

Nourishment For Your Trek; Pack Enough

Proper Nourishment Gives A Hiker Energy

3. A day pack backpack will accommodate all your food for the day, plus a little extra.  If you’re taking a sunrise hike, you’ll need breakfast, lunch and dinner.  If you’re going on a ½ day hike, eat breakfast at home, then take lunch and dinner.  Trail food should be lightweight, never in cans.  Eliminate store packaging and put the contents in individual Ziploc bags. For a short hike, you won’t need the whole bag or box of anything. Stick to foods in your hiking bag that don’t require refrigeration and use sample sized packets of condiments.

Some suggestions for breakfast is a bagel with individual size cream cheese in a packet.  Lunch can be a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, tuna in a packet (found in all grocery stores.) with pita bread or crackers. Take sturdy fresh fruit like an apple or grapes.  Just don’t let it get crushed onto your clothing.

For dinner, you can cook rice at home and add some fresh veggies and a packet of chicken with balsamic dressing and carry it in a plastic sealed container. Focus on carbs and protein for good nutrition and energy for the hike. Protein bars and trail mix make the perfect snack on your trek. 

Plan to stop and rest with a snack twice, in addition to meals, on a day hike and once on a ½ day hike.  For more food ideas, do an online search for backpacking meals.  Adequate nourishment is vitally important to keep your energy up.  Don’t be in a hurry to get to a destination, take your time and feed your body.

Drink, Drink, Drink While You Are Hiking

Hydration Is Not Something To Take Lightly

4. Water consumption is extremely important when you hike.  You will sweat and lose electrolytes that have to be replenished to feel your best.  Hiking in the sun will deplete your fluid levels in your body. Dehydration is serious and no one is immune to the consequences. 

You need to consume ½ liter or 16 ounces of water for every hour of hiking. Does that sound like a lot?  It’s not, because your body requires it.  Some backpacks have a sleeve compartment that you can take a water bladder with fresh water from home and has a drinking tube system.

 Two liters will be adequate during a ½ day hike.  Double that for an all day hike.  You can refill a Nalgene bottle from a stream or lake IF you know there is a water supply on your trail.  This is where research and maps come in very handy.  If you can get fresh water on your hike, you won’t have to carry so much. Make sure you carry water purification tablets or drops to eliminate intestinal problems from bacteria in water sources.

You’ll need to know for sure there are water sources among your travels without guessing.  Headache, nausea, fainting and fatigue will overtake you when you get dehydrated. Don’t let that happen to you. Take water consumption seriously.

Planning Your Backpacking Trip Will Lessen Frustrations

Example Of A Hiking Trail Map

5. Your day pack backpack adventure should be planned and mapped out before you step foot on the trail.  It’s not wise to just pack and go blindly.  Getting lost is not a good feeling.  Carry a map and compass in your hiking pack.  You can get maps of all local trails where you live, so check online. 

On your map, if you highlight the trail you are taking with its turns and topographical terrain, you will be certain of your path. Check for water sources along the way which will be indicated as such. You could use the GPS on your cell phone, but never rely on that 100% because signal can be lost or battery power could require a charge when you need it most.

The Importance Of First Aid During Backpack Hikes

day pack backpack
Having A First Aid Kit Is A Hikers Friend

6. Preventative measures like sunscreen and bug spray can help you from getting bad sunburn and getting multiple insect bites. Accidents like scrapes, bruises, blisters and a twisted ankle could happen to anyone at any time when you enjoy the outdoors.  Being prepared makes all the difference in dealing with it then and there, or having to cut your hike short because you didn’t pack any first aid supplies.  Adapting the Boy Scout motto of “be prepared” is good sound advice. 

Pack fabric bandaids, triple antibiotic cream, a few gauze pads of various sizes, antiseptic wipes, ibuprofen, tweezers, stretch Ace bandage, Pepto Bismol tablets and hand sanitizer.  Include any meds you normally take throughout the day.  You can pack these items in a small cosmetic bag or shaving kit bag.  Even a plastic sealable bag will work.

Keep these items in a readily accessible spot, preferably on the exterior of your backpack. You may not consider this a first aid item, but always pack a whistle hanging from the outside of your backpack.  It can signal SOS or assist in getting you help if you need it.

Tools Of The Backpack Trade For All Hikers

7. Day pack backpack explorations benefit from having a few simple tools on hand.  A multi-tool knife, like a Swiss Army knife, is something you’ll want along when you least expect to need it. Also, if you pack some duct tape wrapped around a pencil, you’ll discover an unbelievable amount of uses for this wonder tape, everything from backpack repair to wound closure.  If you expect to be out after dark, a flashlight or a headlamp is highly suggested.  You may want binoculars to see wildlife and birds.

Hiking In Nature; What About Nature Calls?

 8. During a day hike, it’s most likely you’ll have to go to the bathroom.  Depending on where you hike, public restrooms may be at trail heads or ranger stations along the trail.  If not, (check your map) you should bring a small trowel to dig a 6”hole for solid waste, then cover it back up when finished. You’ll also need some toilet paper and wet wipes for cleansing. 

The TP and wipes will need to be put into a sealable bag for disposal in proper trash receptacles as designated per your trail instructions. Do not bury these items with your solid waste.  Hiker’s rule is that you never urinate on the trail, instead, at least 100 feet off trail and not near a fresh water source.

Handy Hiker Information To Always Carry

Hikers Should Carry A Card Like This When Hiking

 Let’s get personal.  You need to carry a form of ID and a credit/debit card plus some cash.  The best place to store this is clipped to the inside of your backpack. You need to keep these items dry and out of the elements.  If you leave it loose in a pocket, you’ll have to dig for it.  Open the zipper of an inside pocket and use a metal clip to attach it to the pocket for quick access.  Some hikers like to wear a money belt or neck pouch to keep their cash between layered clothing close to their body. 

You should always carry a written card with emergency contact information on it such as, your name, address and someone’s phone number to contact in case of an unforeseen emergency.  Be sure to inform someone you trust of your hiking plans such as where and expected time back home.  Call or text that person once you are headed back home. 

You may feel more comfortable carrying your wallet, take a few moments first to de-clutter it keeping weight in mind because every ounce counts when you are carrying it on your back.

Daypack Hiking Suggestions Can Be Customized

day pack backpack
Day Pack Backpackers Taking A Break

These day pack backpack expedition tips are basic hiking suggestions for a beginner hiker. Over time, you may discover other things you want to take along, which is often determined by how long of a hike you’ll be trekking.  Before long, you’ll hear tips from other hikers on the trail and experience things for yourself that may alter these ideas.  Your hike can easily be your customized plan along with these basics. 

The important thing is to execute a plan and stick to it the first few hiking trips until you are more comfortable with hiking in the wild.  Please share this article with hiking friends and feel free to help others with hiking tips of your own in the comment section below. Nature Trail Backpacks wishes you a happy first and many hiking trips to follow.

Rucksack Backpack; Is It Impossible To Fit It All In A Backpack?

Backpacker Enjoying A Hike

A rucksack backpack is simply a backpack used for hiking and camping.  The definition of a backpack is a bag with shoulder straps that is widely carried by hikers. The word rucksack and backpack are often used interchangeably, but generally refer to size. Backpacks tend to be smaller than rucksacks.  How do you fit so much camping gear for overnight hikes in a large backpack or a rucksack and still be able to carry it all?  Here’s how it can be accomplished.

The key components to fitting it all in there with careful placement of your necessities lies in proper packing inside and out. If you are new to hiking, it may take some practice, but organization is your best friend when you are on the trail.  If you throw some stuff in a suitcase for a trip, it’s not a huge hassle to rummage though it at your hotel.  But in the wilderness, you’ll need to pack smart, lightly and with load distribution in mind.

Backpackers; Work From The Bottom Up

Rucksack backpack hikers, you should gather all your gear and lay it out, using a checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.  Keep a minimalist approach in mind for the number of days you’ll be hiking. Keep in mind that you will not only want to balance the weight, but place things you will use last in the bottom of your hiking pack.

For example, any gear that you would not use during your hike, but rather,when you set up camp that night. Notice I did not say “heavier” things. I’m referring to things such as, your sleeping bag and pad, casual shoes for camp and layers of your clothing that you might wear for colder weather at night.

Your Core Or Middle Hiking Backpack Layer

Pack Your Rucksack The Right Way

This is where you will pack your heavier items such as your cook stove, evening food that you’ll eat at camp (not snacks), your water reservoir or bottled water and a bear canister.  Fitting a full water reservoir, even with its own compartment, into your backpack is easiest if it’s the first thing you pack, and then pack around it.  This is done because fitting a full reservoir after packing the core items is very difficult.

Placement Of Food And Gear

Your rucksack backpack can be more efficiently packed if you place food inside your bear canister. This will allow you to gain more room and eliminate food odors on the trail that keen-scented animals can detect. Packing these types of items in the center of your hiking bag help create a center of gravity and will direct the load weight downward instead of backward and your bag won’t tend to sag.  If you were to pack these items toward the top of your bag, it would make the bag feel like it was tipping.

If you are using a cook stove and carrying gas, this is where you would fit your fuel can, upright and separated from your food (in case of spillage.)  Make sure the bottle cap is tight and spillage is less likely. As you pack, wherever you find nooks and crannies, wrapping items inside one another saves space and your cargo will not shift as easily while you’re walking. Wrap clothing around your tent body and rainfly.

Hikers; Pack These Items In The Top Of Your Rucksack

Weather changes are unpredictable, so you’ll want a rain jacket within easy reach.  Also, a fleece jacket and pants at the top of your bag will come in handy if temperatures drop suddenly.  Other items you’ll want quick access to will be your first aid kit, toilet supplies and your water purification tablets or drops.  If you have a quick pop up tent, putting it at the top of your backpack will ensure shelter if needed in a hurry if rain or hail suddenly starts.

Trekkers Should Add This Gear Using Exterior Pockets And Straps

rucksack backpack
Rucksack With Gear Attached

Odd shaped items like trekking pole, rope, tarps, tent poles, axe or a camp chair can be attached via loops or straps on the outside of your hiking bag.  Keep weight balance in mind as you add these things.  Daisy chains, lash patches and compression straps are other ways to carry gear that can’t be carried in any other place. 

Keep in mind, this type of gear can snag on low-hanging branches as you traverse. If you are rock jumping, it can also scrape against the rocks and damage it.  Minimize what you have to carry on the exterior and utilize your bag’s compression straps to keep it all snug against your body.

Your exterior pockets on the sides are great for carrying hiking essentials like a water bottle, snacks, cell phone and other small items. These are things you need easy access to, such as sunscreen for reapplying, bug spray or sunglasses. If your backpack has a back pocket, be aware that whatever you pack there, you will have to remove your back to get to its contents.

Helpful Backpack Packing Videos

This video link will help you understand the theory behind getting it all in your backpack for overnight and extended hikes.

Once your pack is all loaded and ready to go, you need to know how to get it up and on your back. Here is a video to help you correctly and safely lift your backpack on and off to avoid hurting your back or other muscles.  It is not advised that you pull on your shoulder straps. Not only will it will wear them out sooner, it won’t be ergonomically correct for your body.

Backpack Packing; It Can Be Done To Fit All Your Gear

rucksack backpack
Backpack Hikers Enjoy The Beauty Of Nature

Your rucksack backpack can be loaded to comfortably fit all your essentials for your hiking excursion.  It most definitely is not impossible. There is always a right and wrong way to do just about anything.  Packing your hiking gear correctly will make a huge difference in your comfort and accessibility on the trail.

Seasoned hikers at Nature Trail Backpacks are here to help you get a quality hiking bag and provide information to help you gain knowledge and success for all of your hikes.  Readers, please feel free to comment below to help inexperienced hikers benefit from your experience on the trail.  We want you all to have happy hiking!

Camping Backpack; I Stink, So What? 4 Hygiene Tips For Hikers

camping backpack
Hygiene Shouldn’t Be Difficult While Hiking

During a camping backpack trip, part of the allure is the whole wilderness, back-to-basics survival encounter.  It’s refreshing to not worry about showering and shampooing, but not so refreshing in the way of body odors and general perspiration left on your skin. 

Your hygiene preparedness has a lot to do with the length of your trip.  Let’s examine four helpful points that may not make you fresh as daisy, but will be a healthier alternative to keeping your hike minimal in task while not neglecting the important parts.

Trekkers Don’t Have To Pack Their Entire Bathroom

Take Small Versions Of Your Absolute Necessities

Let’s say you are going on a 5 day hike and camping in the wild. You don’t have to load your hiking backpack with every toiletry item you use at home.  Take travel size deodorant, toothpaste, unscented hand sanitizer. Ladies, bring your feminine products and small zip-loc bags for disposal and burial of used items. 

Bring a roll of toilet paper. Use only non-scented items clean yourself without attracting wildlife.  You’ll need a package of unscented wet wipes to refresh your crotch after a BM or heavy sweating in that area.  

If you’ll be camping near a river, lake or stream, it’s advisable to wash off the sweat that has dried on your skin during your hike to prevent rashes.  Campers and backpackers  use a soap, such as Dr. Bronners Pure Castile Soap for body and hair. It’s best if you choose an eco-friendly product. Dry yourself thoroughly afterwards. You can rinse your sweaty clothes out and dry them overnight for cleaner duds.

Campers Need Not Lug Extra Stuff For Hygiene While Backpacking

Enjoy The Simplicity Of Camping While Hiking

Being natural in a nature environment is more relaxing.  If you don’t want to shave for a week, let the beard and the legs go and don’t carry the razor and shave cream.  Forget shampoos, since they are bad for the environment.  You shouldn’t walk through the trail smelling like fresh berries or coconut hair conditioner, since bears have a highly keen sense of smell for miles! 

On the other hand, a strong body odor may work as a pheromone to wild animals, so eliminating odors is not only about smelling better, but more geared toward being safer.  Don’t add weight to your backpack with full size bottles of anything, even aspirin or hand sanitizer.

Hikers Stay Clean When There Is No Body Of Water Nearby

camping backpack
Enjoy Your Camping Experience Duing A Longer Hike

Camping backpack trips may be in an area where there are no readily available rivers, lakes or ponds. Hikers often need to improvise, but how?  You should always carry a washcloth, sponge, bandana and squirt bottle in your pack.  You may have to tap into your drinking water supply to clean yourself. Only do this if you know for sure, that during the following day, you can refill your drink bladder or bottle from a water source.  Use an 4-8 ounce squirt bottle.

Put 2 oz on your washcloth with biodegradable soap and hit the important parts.  In particular, wash between your legs (inner thighs) to avoid chafing, your man parts or lady parts, anus, armpits and feet. Rinse off with the remaining 6 oz. of water.  Refill this bottle the following day also for your next bathing.  This is not done to simply smell better, it’s about skin integrity to avoid painful skin bacteria or fungus that will cause a rash.

Hiking; Ladies Dealing With Their Monthly Cycle

Ladies, dealing with your period on the trail doesn’t have to be complicated.  You can use a menstrual cup. If you’ve never heard of this, check it out here;     

Whether you empty the menstrual cup, or you use pads and tampons, you’ll have to dispose of them in a cathole, similar to the hole you dig for a BM in the wild. Another option is to plastic bag them and carry them out. Rest assured, bears are not attracted to menstrual blood odors, they are more attracted to food odors.

Backpackers; Do I Really Have To Do Laundry In The Wilderness?

Keep It Clean HIkers

Camping backpack hikers can either carry enough clean clothes for the 5 days, or there are a couple other options for cleaning your clothes at camp. If you know from your map that there is a lake or pond on your trail, bring along a gallon sized plastic sealable bag in your hiking pack and some dry laundry soap in a small container. Fill the bag from your water source add the powdered soap and socks, undies and a shirt. Seal the bag and shake it to resemble a wash cycle.

Make sure you do this 200 ft. from the water source. Squeeze the soapy water out of the clothing pieces and grab a second plastic bag with more fresh water for “rinsing.”  Seal that bag after adding the clean clothes and shake to rinse. Wring out rinsed clothing articles and hang overnight to dry.

A simpler version is to jump in the lake with your clothes on for a rinse. Never use laundry soap in fresh water since it can affect water-living organisms and affect other hikers collecting fresh drinking water.  Disrobe when you get out of the water and hang your clothes to dry for the following day. Your clothing won’t be as clean as when you use detergent, but they will be fine to continue your trip.

Men And Women Trail Hikes; Minimizing Odors While Backpacking

Body Odors Are Natural – Sweat Can Be Harmful To Skin

A camping backpack excursion can get tricky when nature calls.  How many times have ladies wished they could pee standing up?  It would eliminate such issues as removing clothing and squatting with a bare butt just to whiz.  Well ladies, now you can.

Check out how to here:

Trekkers Need To Follow Rules For Proper Disposal Of Products

Make sure you pack out used wipes or toilet paper. Be considerate and pee way off the trail (at least 100 feet) to assure privacy and keep any odors away from hikers.  Another option is to use a dedicated microfiber pee rag. It cab be used over and over. After wiping with the rag, simply place it in a plastic bag and dry it when you camp.  By leaving it in the sun, you will literally bake out any bacteria. You can then rinse it and reuse it.

Camping backpack hikers are usually pretty tired by the time they camp.  There’s nothing worse than having to pee in the middle of the night.  Consider carrying a lightweight indestructible bottle such as a Nalgene wide- mouth bottle to pee in for disposal in the morning. Don’t forget to use a permanent marker to label it as your dedicated pee bottle instead of a drinking bottle. 

This method helps avoid worrying about how to squat and pee without peeing on yourself in the dark, while of mosquitoes bite you.  You’ll have the luxury of privacy, no cold, wet, or dirty feet, with no zipping, unzipping of layered clothing.

Pooping Outdoors During Your Backpack Hike

Be Prepared For The Call Of Nature

Trekkers, don’t forget to carry a lightweight trowel for digging a shallow hole (6”-8”) for solid waste. Then, use the trowel to cover your poop with the dirt you dug from the hole you made. Odors from solid waste will attract wild animals that could be harmful to hikers. Plus, it’s just nasty to just do it on the ground for some unsuspecting hiker to trek through.  If you don’t want to carry a trowel, you better plans a few minutes to find a heavy stick to dig with. 

Backpack hikers should always pack toilet paper, wet wipes and hand sanitizer.  Make sure you wipe well to eliminate residual odors in your clothing or irritants on your skin afterwards.  Bring an extra sealed plastic bag to carry out used toilet paper which shouldn’t be buried with your feces.  Cover up your filled poop hole with some leaves or grass.  Leave no trace behind and teach the children that lesson as well.

Backpackers; What About Mountain Hikes?

Camping backpack mountain hikes can be tricky.  Pitching your bagged stool into deep mountain crevices can cause the built-up waste to reappear in remote spots during Spring thaws. Not only is it gross for hikers who are subjected to the sights and smells of thawing poop, what about the hikers who rely on melted snow for drinking water?  There is a likelihood that others could ingest contaminated water with dangerous bacteria and parasites. 

Hikers should dispose of fecal material and used toilet paper at ranger stations or in a region where disposal is allowed. Some mountain areas are deep enough for waste disposal, but check the written rules of the area where you’ll be hiking.

Keep It Clean On The Hiking Trail

camping backpack
Camping Backpack Hikers – Enjoy Yourself!

Camping backpack trekkers should strive to be clean and dry, which leads to fewer rashes, odors and bacterial skin problems.  The purpose of a great hiking excursion while camping for several days is to enjoy nature without carrying all of your typical toiletry items in your backpack.  You can pack minimal lightweight items and still tend to the icky parts of lots of sweating and backwoods nature calls. 

Don’t fret about being squeaky clean, just clean enough to protect yourself.  The readers love to learn of experienced hikers tips for hygiene on a hike, so please feel free to comment below. Fellow hikers at Nature Trail Backpacks wish you happy hiking!