Day Hiking Backpack – Are You Someone Who Hates To Exercise?

day hiking backpack
Experience Day Hiking In Place Of Gym Exercise

A day hiking backpack trip can technically be labeled as exercise. But when you experience the joy of nature while hiking, you’ll wonder why you didn’t try it sooner. If you are not a gym lover, or even if you are, day hiking will give you numerous benefits that a sweaty crowded building can’t provide.  Do you hate to exercise but love being outdoors?  Here is how to accomplish both with loads of fun added to the mix.

Day Hiking Benefits – No Treadmill Involved

No Energy? Day Hiking Backpack Trips Can Help!

If you’ve been a little lax in staying fit and keeping active, hiking can be the solution. Your body will build stronger muscles and bones and you will lower your risk of heart disease. Isn’t that reason enough to take up hiking? If not, consider the improvements a day hike offers to your blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Hiking gives your muscles a workout, which moves glucose from your bloodstream for energy, which will help prevent or control diabetes. If you can walk, you can hike. All during your trek, you’ll be decreasing your risk of lung and respiratory ailments and cardiac disease.

Day Hiking Backpack Jaunts Helps Bone Density

What exactly is bone density and why is it important? After age 30, you may begin to lose muscle and bone strength, especially if you have a diet low in calcium, you become less active, or if you smoke. Weakened bones will put you at risk of fractures, which is never pleasant. Weight bearing exercise such as backpack hiking helps build bone strength. Exercises that help build strong bones are dancing, stair climbing, tennis and jogging. I can hear you groaning as you read this…haha.

A day hiking backpack trip of 4-6 hours, in sunshine and fresh air, could be stair climbing of sorts. No dancing is required during a hike, but you will benefit your body by walking slight inclines on a hiking trail. Toss in blue skies and no pressure as you enjoy your time in nature. Are you getting my point? You can dance up the trail if you want to without feeling self conscious of your dance moves. I suspect you’ll be more inclined to enjoy the trek to a beautiful view while exercising your mind and body in a more natural way.

Backpack Hiking Improves Lung Function

Your lungs will use air more efficiently , making it easier for you to breathe when you have a more active lifestyle. Getting off the couch onto the hiking trail is a better way to incorporate movement of your body that doesn’t have to consist of boring gym reps or treadmills. Be aware that being at higher elevations, such as mountains, makes your lungs work harder. Don’t tackle any more than a good sized hill when you are first acclimating your body to hiking.

Day Hikers – Counting Calories? You’ll Love These Numbers

Day hiking backpack treks can burn an impressive amount of calories. On average, a 160 lb. individual burns around 440 calories and hour while hiking. A 200 lb. person will burn approximately 550 calories per hour. An accurate gauge of calories burned per mile of hiking is around 100 calories per mile for a 180 lb. person. These numbers can be altered higher when you climb a bit and carry a hiking bag or if you are walking in snow or beach sand, which requires more effort. Fitness is not just about calorie consumption. Active people have a better chance of burning their food calories.

Hiking Backpack Trail Hikes Are Just Plain Great For Your Health

Hiking trails are often softer on joints than asphalt or concrete, making it gentler on your ankles and knees. Hike paths are made of different terrains, some are paved, dirt or crushed stone. You can chart your own course, hike as slow or fast as your fitness level allows, all while receiving the benefits of being outdoors. Your trip can be an 8 hour day or a 4 hour afternoon. The object is to move your body, get healthy and have a great time doing it, rather than it be a dreaded chore.

Misconceptions Of A Hiking Backpack Trip vs Gym Workout

Stare Out The Window Or Be In Nature While You Exercise?

Day hiking backpack excursions are every bit as beneficial to your body as a routine gym workout, and three times more enjoyable. Hiking tones your entire body, especially your quads, glutes and hamstrings. Carrying your backpack with essential food and water, for example, will add to body endurance and strength training. It all sounds more strenuous than it has to be. You will be the one to control your level of activity, not a trainer.

Most towns have hiking trails. If your busy schedule can’t seem to fit in a whole day hike, why not have your workout while watching the sun rise and still make it to work by 8am? You can burn some serious calories in a couple of hours on the hike trail. Research where the trails are in your area for the mini hikes and the day trips. You’ll be energized and ready to face the day after a short jaunt through a beautiful forest or meadow.

Backpack Trekking Can Be A Social Activity

day hiking backpack
Solo Hikes Or Being With Friends Is A Great Way to Enjoy Nature

The buddy system is a great way to socialize while hiking. Couples, best friends and family members can join in the fun and fitness escape. You can join a hiking group and make new friends while learning all about the terrain and tips of backpack hiking.

The folks at Nature Trail Backpacks will respond to any question or comment below. Do yourself a favor and eliminate the health hazard of stress in your life by enjoying a nature hike. Studies have proven that hiking benefits will reduce stress, depression and anxiety. Check out some of my other articles on this subject to see how you can eliminate stress. Happy hiking!

Trekking Backpack – Tips I Wish I Knew In My Early Hiking Days

Trekking backpack goofs I made when I first starting hiking would make an amusing book to read. If you are under the assumption that you simply pack some stuff in a hiking bag and head out into the wilderness, you’ll end up possibly writing your own not-so-funny stories. Spare yourself the agony of the mistakes I’ve made. Here are tips to give you a better shot at a positive hiking experience.

trekking backpack
Trekking Backpack Trips Are Fun As Long As You’re Prepared

Backpack Gear – Test It Before You Use It

Trekking backpack hikers, especially beginners, get excited about their early hiking and camping trips. You may invest in new boots, a tent and cooking stove. It’s not a good idea to use your new hiking gear once you’re on the trail. Familiarize yourself by practicing putting up that tent in the backyard. You may end up needing shelter quickly, so that’s not the time to read directions.

Try using your backpack stove to be sure you have the right fuel because you’re better off any functional issues at home. Why not have an overnight in your back yard first, checking all batteries and equipment so you can make changes before you can’t.

Hiking Backpack Weight Should Be Taken Seriously

Trekking backpack weight can make or break your hiking experience if you’re not used to carrying it on your back. Hiking with 20 lbs. for 4 hours is not the same as 25 lbs. for 8 hours. The biggest mistake is taking too much food, gear and clothing you won’t use. If you focus on lightweight in everything you pack, you can scale down your carrying weight significantly.

Hikers, you should shoot for a combined weight of your tent and sleeping bag under 5 lbs. If you omit canned goods and pack foods in ziploc bags instead of store packaging, you can shave off several pounds. If you take more food than what you’ll consume within your camping period, your pack will be heavy. You should, however, add a few extras in case you misjudge your time on the trek or get delayed.

Hiker’s – Don’t Over Pack Clothing In Your Hiking Bag

Hiking backpacks should be packed with clean clothing for every other day, along with an extra pair of socks, pants and a shirt in case you get wet. For longer hikes, pack 2 pairs of spares for the extra days. This is not a suitcase, so you should be conscious of weight. Minimal is best when you have to carry it. If you are hiking near water, you can always take less clothing and rinse things out and then let them dry overnight.

Trekking Gear – Be Sure To Keep Certain Things Dry

Keep Your Sleeping Bag In A Waterproof Cover

Trekking backpack campers, trust me on this one. You will never sleep well in a damp or wet sleeping bag. Rain showers could crop up at any time on your hike, so it’s best to keep your “bed for the night” covered and waterproof. The same goes for a hiking pad while enjoying your campfire. Your clothing and any tech devices should always be protected because damp clothing can cause rashes and you know what water will do to a phone or camera!

When choosing your campsite for the night, avoid valleys because rain water will gravitate toward you and your tent. Always set up camp at least 200 feet from any water source such as rivers, streams or lakes.

Backpack Hikers – Speaking Of Water and Weight…

Make Sure There Is A Water Source Along Your Trip To Avoid Packing Heavy Water Bottles

It is crucial that hikers stay hydrated during the entire trek. Bottled water will weigh you do, so what do you do? Check your maps and topography. If you’ll be hiking near rivers, streams or lakes, you only need to take one 16 oz. bottle of water for every 2 hours you’ll be hiking to that water source. At that point you can refill and use purification drops or tabs for safe drinking water to continue on to the next source of water. Keep in mind if desert or mountain hiking, a water bladder in your backpack will hold 2-3 liters, lasting 4-6 hours only. Plan on drinking 1 liter every 2 hours on your trip.

Hiking Pack Trips – Learn Navigation Before You Head Out

Compass and Topographic Map Are Essential Hiking Tools

Your trekking backpack should always contain a map and compass. I highly suggest you learn how to read both BEFORE you hike. Imagine stepping off the trail to relieve yourself. When you turn around, the landscape may look different or even the same to your eyes, yet it would appear different. This could get you turned around and easily lost. I don’t think you’d want to risk that, so make yourself familiar with the area map of where you are hiking.

Trail Or Thu Hiking – Make Your Plan And Stick To It

It’s never wise to just “wing it” when you start a hiking trip, even if you are somewhat experienced. Plan your course and approximately where you will stop for snack breaks and meals. Planning of your locale, your food, clothing and water will make for a smoother backpacking trip.

Be aware if you are heading into bear country and the best way to protect yourself. Always carry bear spray and learn how to use it before your trip, but FYI…never spray down your tent with bear spray, it can actually attract rather than repel the bears. Make a checklist of everything before you pack it so that you don’t forget something imperative.

Miscellaneous Tips For Backpacking Trips

Bears are attracted by smell, so it’s wise to invest in a good bear canister for foods and any object that smells. Ladies, stay away from scented shampoos and body lotions while hiking. Bears have a very strong sense of smell and can smell food miles away. Bold colors, like bright yellows and orange are not advised for tents and things left outside overnight in heavily populated bear country, because they are also an attractant to bears.

Hiking Tent Set Up Higher Than The Water Level – Smart!

I learned the hard way never to wear hiking shoes or boots that are not well broken in. Learn what causes hot spots and treat them before they become blisters that will absolutely ruin your hike. Always carry duct tape wrapped around a pen, no need to carry a whole roll for shorter hikes. It’s a great fixer for just about anything, even blisters. Happy hiking!

Best Hiking Backpack – How Do I Choose The Right One?

best hiking backpack
You Can Easily Find The Best Hiking Backpack For You

The best hiking backpack you can get is one that’s most comfortable for your body, because comfort determines contentment while you hike.  There are several key factors which will help you achieve this, such as trip duration. Let’s examine some factors and learn about them. Before you get a new hiking bag or a replacement backpack, knowing the kind of hiking you want to do, you’ll be on the right track. Or should we say… trail. Here are some guidelines to consider.

Longer Hiking Treks Means Carrying More Weight

The more time you are enjoying a hike, the more items and weight you’ll be carrying. Are you trekking for the day or for a week? That decision makes it crucial when selecting the size and type of hiking pack is best for you. The backpack should be the proper length for your torso and should be supported by your hips. Therefore your height is important to consider.

Your Trekking Plans – Casual Or Back Country?

If your hiking trip is either a day or a week of camping, the biggest mistake you can make is by grabbing a box store hiking backpack. These basic hike packs are made cheaply and the seams are not strong enough. They are not constructed to carry weight or be in outdoor elements for an extended period, so they won’t last. They might be fine for minimal cargo like a few books, your lunch and cell phone, but you’ll want more durability.

Suitable Suspension Is A Serious Consideration

Most day packs or smaller hiking backpacks have adequate suspension to carry 10 or 15 lbs. easily. When you get up to 30 plus pounds on your back, you will need
a thickly padded hip belt and padded shoulder straps that curve with your body. For a comfortable hiking experience, you’ll benefit from a quality back panel that is padded and supportive of your cargo weight.

The Best Hiking Backpack Frame – Options

There are three types of hiking backpack frames that you need to take in consideration: internal-frame backpacks, external-frame backpacks, and frameless backpacks.

Internal Frame Hiking Backpack

best hiking backpack
Shorter Hiking Trips Use Backpack Bags Similar To This

These packs are designed to give the hiker support, stability and keep the load balanced when walking over different types of terrain. This type of hiking bag has a smaller profile which aids in good alignment to your center of gravity.

This may not sound crucial but if you go off trail, you could become injured if you are not carrying your pack load properly. Many hikers prefer this type of backpack because they are comfortable since they move with your body as you hike.

For the best hiking backpack to be comfortable, you need to decide how long of a hike you will be going on. Even experienced hikers have been through a few mistakes here and there.

External Frame Trekking Pack For Hiking

The best hiking backpack for many multi-day trekkers is the external frame pack.  Extended trips require more gear and necessities which these packs offer. Framed backpacks often have better ventilation on the back for a cooler hike over longer periods of trekking.

Frameless Hiking Bag

best hiking backpack

This type of hiking pack works well for hikers who carry less essentials which don’t require much organization.  If you are a hiker who is a minimalist trekker who travels light, this bag will suit you for short trips.  These packs are usually one compartment, with possibly one or two pockets.  They can be less expensive without compartments, compression straps and other bells and whistles that  frame packs have.  

Hiking Bag Shopping Simplified

Consider your backpack shopping in some ways similar to when you buy a car. First you’ll choose standard features of the hiking backpack that is right for the type of hike you’re taking. Then, you can add other amenities of individual choice.

Your best hiking backpack is the right size for your typical hikes and adequate capacity for the essentials you’ll be carrying. The length of your trips will determine the frame type.

Helping Fellow Hikers Is Our Pleasure

Options, at that point, boil down to personal preferences. The folks at Nature Trail Backpacks are available to answer any questions you may have. We’re happy to help fellow hikers make decisions and understand options for your backpack hiking comfort. Feel free to contact us.

Outdoor Backpack – Hiking Does Not Have To Be Strenuous

outdoor backpack
Hiking With An Outdoor Backpack Can Be As Simple As You Make It

Outdoor backpack trips can have various degrees of difficulty, but it can also be simply walking for the day or a few hours. You’ve probably walked more than you realize while you’ve been on a vacation. It could have been through a tourist town, at the beach or from one end of the mall to the other. Here’s how you can go hiking without tons of gear and 25 lbs. on your back.

First and foremost, you need to understand the great health benefits from hiking. Maybe health reasons aren’t foremost on your mind, but being out in nature is sounds enjoyable. I won’t lecture about health. But, it must be said that mild cardio exercise from walking will always be good for you. You may feel it’s like eating broccoli when you hate it. I can say though, hiking will not be torture.

Outdoor Backpack Hikes Are To Enjoy Nature

There’s Nothing Like The Beauty Of A Forest

Let’s say you are fit and trim. Your mental well-being is equally as important as your physical. If you’ve never walked through a forest, you’ll have to take my word for it. The sights, smells and sounds are magical. Again, you’ve walked long distances to see certain tourist sites or through an amusement park. When hiking for a few hours or for the day, you can stop along the way and enjoy discoveries. You can carry a blanket in your hiking bag and have a picnic, or lie back and watch the clouds during a snack. There is never a rush to your destination.

Hiking Trails – You Can Choose Your Type

Hiking trails can be a straight path on asphalt. Some can have inclines, which are a bit more challenging. You’ll find dirt trails may have a bit rougher terrain, possibly with mild elevations here and there. Check your local hiking trails and choose the type that is easy for you to navigate. Always start with an easy hike and then work up to a more ambitious hike once your body can handle it. If you prefer a straight paved hike each time, then do what is most comfortable for your physical ability.

outdoor backpack
Your First Hike Could Be In A Group Or A Guided Trail Hike

Interested In Nature But Skeptical About Hiking?

Outdoor backpack users all had their very first hike at one time or another. You can talk yourself out of it, or you can embrace the journey. As we all know, the unknown can always be a bit doubting. If you love being outdoors, I can practically guarantee you will enjoy hiking. That being said, I can also guarantee you will hate it if you don’t take certain things into consideration and prepare accordingly.

It’s all in your mind set whether you find excuses or get excited about something new. A day hike is an awesome way to get in some walking with fresh air, blue skies and beautiful scenery. You’ve already walked distances on a vacation, or even spent a day shopping on your feet. Hiking is no more strenuous, unless you want it to be.

Outdoor Backpack – Why Do I Need One For An Afternoon Hike?

If you’ve ever struggled with a few grocery bags, you’ll understand why you can’t juggle several items in your arms while hiking. You’ll need to bring water, food, a few first aid items and maybe an extra sweater. Carrying what you’ll need in an outdoor backpack will make the trek a whole lot easier. It will be much more comfortable on your back rather than the weight pulling on your shoulders if you were to carry a bag or tote. You’ll want to bring snacks and sunscreen, possibly a blanket and a camera as well. These items are all easily carried in a small hiking backpack.

Kids Love To Explore The Outdoors. Take Them Along Once You Have Hiked Previously

Hiking In Nature is Uplifting – Calming Effects Are Key

Outdoor backpack treks will be enjoyable as long as you go prepared. For a typical 1/2 day or full day hike, here are some do’s and don’ts to assure you have a pleasurable experience:


  1. Some basic leg stretches before and after your hike
  2. Wear sunscreen regardless of the season
  3. Bring 2 liters of water per adult for every 2 hour hike
  4. Hike at your own comfortable pace, it’s not a race.
  5. Bring snacks and a healthy lunch and/or dinner food.
  6. Try a guided hike or group hike first time out.
  7. Enjoy the wonders of nature and don’t forget the photo memories.
  8. Bring some Bandaids and antibacterial gel.
  9. Dress in layers and remove outer clothing if you get too warm.
  10. Take breaks whenever you need them. Rest is good, fatigue is not.


  1. Wear brand new hiking boots or shoes without breaking them in first
  2. Hike off the trail without a map or compass.
  3. Get overheated, over tired or over hungry.
  4. Let yourself get dehydrated. Drink 1 liter of water per hour.
  5. Forget to wear a hat and sunglasses.
  6. Rely on just your phone for navigation, you could lose power
  7. Get a cheaply made box store hiking pack. They aren’t durable.

When Is Your First Hike Going To Be?

Outdoor backpack missions can be as short or long as you determine.  The whole idea is to get out there among beautiful meadows, forests or parks and enjoy the escape from routines and stress.  Once you realize that it can be at your own pace, you’ll be relaxed and look forward to every new hiking exploration.  We welcome comments and questions below from anyone curious or experienced who will give fellow hikers great tips and advice. Happy hiking!

Tactical Backpack – Civilians Love This Rugged Gear; Is It For You?

tactical backpack
Tactical Backpacks Are Popular Among Non-Military Users

Who Uses A Tactical Hiking Bag?

A tactical backpack is simply a term used for a backpack that has multiple outdoor uses and is able to pack gear in an organized manner.  Hikers and everyday folks are taking to the military inspired design and functionality of a tactical pack.  The style of a tactical bag is very trendy right now, so what makes it so popular?  How do you know if this type of backpack bag will meet your needs and be right for you?

Are You An Organized Pack Carrier?

As a tactical backpack user, you may create a survival-ready bag, go hiking, or use an every day carry (EDC) backpack. If you add amenities like hydration packs or Molle webbing, it can be turned into a tactical pack.  Folks are drawn to the looks of a tactical pack because of the military look and feel. It is attractive to civilians because they may want to honor veterans or feel part of history. So, what activities would you be using a tactical pack for?  You just may want to get to your gear quickly without hunting for it in a disorganized backpack, or carry it to the office or workplace.

Functionality Is At The Top Of The List

Since these types of backpacks were designed originally for armed forces heading off to war, their focus was on strength, durability and modular capabilities. Their use was during high activity. In extreme conditions, soldiers required premium quality materials and hardware.  It was never about style or good looks.   Tactical bags are made with pure function in mind.  You don’t have to be a soldier to appreciate carrying their essentials in the best possible organized way. That may mean during a hike, hunting or usage in your daily life.

So Authentic Military Is The Best Backpack?

tactical backpack
Maxpedition Falcon III

So, should you buy an authentic military backpack to get the best durability?  Not necessarily. Sadly, over the years, the government has cut corners. They are the ones who run the armed forces and write checks for the gear.  Decisions may be made to use heavier material, yet choose cheaper hardware to save money.  Manufacturers who bid cheaper on government contracts often win out. Then, it becomes impossible to make quality a priority when they need to make 20 million units versus 200 units. So what are the most important features you should look for in a tactical backpack?

What Should It Be Made Of?

A tactical backpack that will be durable should be made from a quality fabric that can take a beating in extreme outdoor weather conditions.   Fabric at least 500D – 1200D of Cordura Nylon is preferable. These fabrics are heavier duty and can withstand rugged ground terrain and gear weight.  YKK zippers are an example of excellent quality that you would look for.

Concentrate On Construction

Not everyone understands fabrics or construction of a backpack.  What you may understand is how annoying and inconvenient having a shoulder strap break or a seam rip apart while you’re in the middle of a long trek.  Nylon thread is most dependable.  When all else fails, trust brand reputation or feedback from reviews on a reputable site.  Reviews can be tricky though, because there are people who misuse products or simply love to complain.  A quality backpack will be backed by a manufacturers warranty.

Molle Is A Must Have In A Tac Bag

tactical backpack
Example Of Molle Straps And Organization Sections On A Tactical Bag

A tactical backpack often has MOLLE web straps on the exterior.  MOLLE is short for “Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. It is used to attach bulky external gear, pouches, carabineers and backpacking tools that are oddly shaped or too large for the bag. The molle straps allow you to attach accessories from other brands to the exterior of your hiking bag.

Tactical Backpack Comfort

If your hiking backpack is not comfortable, you will be miserable. That’s a fact. Many brands have their own proprietary suspension system to transfer weight from your shoulders down to your hips. Depending on what types of hikes you do, from daypack hiking to long treks, comfort is key to eliminate sore backs, hips or shoulders.  Well padded shoulder straps help take the strain off of your shoulders and neck.  Some backpacks have ventilated padding to allow air cooling, which is very helpful in summer months.

Accessing The Tactical Bag’s Contents

A tactical backpack, depending on the style, may have a large main compartment and several easy-to-access zippered pockets to store your smaller items. How you access your packed gear can make the difference between mayhem and quick entry to the items you need then and there. Some hiking bags offer a clamshell design while others have multi-zippered areas on the top and sides. Choose what works easiest for you.

What Size Tactical Backpack?

If you are looking for in an EDC (everyday carry) style pack to use for office use, light hikes, errand running, and day trips, 15-30 liters is most suitable. A small tactical backpack can accommodate this scenario.  For weekend or multi-day treks, you’ll need to carry more items, so 40-60 liters would work better.

How Organized Is Too Organized For Backpacks?

You may assume hiking packs should have multiple zipped pockets and several small hidden compartments.  Unless you have super memory skills, you may be searching forever to discover which pocket had the item you‘re looking for. Consider using color coded organizer pockets, which you can attach to your tactical pack’s molle system. You’ll easily recognize which color holds the item you need. You can then use the remaining interior or exterior pockets of the pack for bulkier items or the gear you use less frequently.

A Tactical Backpack IS for You!

tactical backpack

Civilians are using tactical backpacks more than ever before. They prefer the design for carrying their cargo, even though they are not military. It’s becoming a matter of style preference.  The molle webbing can indicate military to observers, so some people may want to stay more incognito. You can differentiate by color choice if you don’t want to look like a soldier. You may prefer black, but tan or olive are also popular for tactical packs.

A tactical backpack is no doubt an organized hiker’s dream, capable of sorting gear and essentials in a great modern way.  This type of pack is no longer just used by military or law enforcement personnel.  Every day people are seeing the multiple benefits from using a tactical hiking bag.  Why not give it a try?  Above all else, happy hiking or happy EDC easier day!

Large Backpack – Hikers Will Love The Empire State Trail

large backpack
Large Backpack Hikers Can Traverse 750 Miles On The EST

A large backpack will be useful for anyone deciding to attempt the Empire State Trail (EST) hiking trail in the state of New York end to end. The trail project began in January 2017.  It’s expected to be completed in 2020, which is not long from now.  Once the sideways T-shaped finished trail network is complete, thru-hikers can trek on a 750 mile continuous hike end to end. Here’s where your hiking travels will take you and what you’ll encounter along the way.  

Much of the work on the EST’s branch from Albany to Buffalo involves the connecting and re-branding of pre-existing trails.  You’ll soon be able to hike, walk, jog, bike, or cross-country ski from Battery Park in Manhattan N.Y. to the Canadian border.  The Empire State Trail, a multi-use recreational trail, will be the longest state trail in the Nation. 

 Large backpack campers, looking for multi-day backpacking treks, will have access to resources such as the Appalachian Trail through the Empire State Trail.  Typical trail construction will feature a 10-foot to 12-foot wide hardened surface of asphalt or stone dust, with moderate grades.

All Outdoor Enthusiasts Will Enjoy The EST

Trekkers, walkers, hikers, runners, people pushing strollers, and bicyclists will enjoy the trail.  Any and all abilities, from experienced long-distance cyclists to family groups with children just learning to ride, or seniors in wheelchairs will be welcome.

The EST Will Encourage Outdoor Activity For All

The vast majority of both the Hudson River Valley and Erie Canal Way branches will be off-road trails.  Don’t let the term “off-road” discourage you. Trails like these are designed to promote healthy lifestyles and connections to Nature by providing a safe and enjoyable outdoor recreational venue for outdoor activities. You need not be a bushwhacker to use the trails.

You’ll be able to head out to commune with nature, or just get a little distance from the rat race of everyday life. The trail will run from Manhattan north to the northern tip of Lake Champlain and also from Buffalo to Albany. By completion, many entry points and trailheads to the EST will be clearly marked.  Also available will be maps, information kiosks, picnic areas, bathrooms, and even fix-it stations for bike maintenance..

Large Backpack Trekkers – Will You Hike The Whole EST?

Approximately 400 miles of the Trail already exists in discrete, disconnected segments. In areas where it’s not feasible to create an off-road route, the Empire State Trail will follow public roadways. Where possible, on-road sections will follow low-speed rural roadways and city streets. Spot improvements such as marking crosswalks and paving shoulders will be made at strategic on-road locations.

With the EST trails, you will have connections to other regional bicycling and hiking bag trails linking the Hudson Greenway Trails, Appalachian Trail, the Adirondack and Catskill Park. The Genesee Valley Greenway and the St. Lawrence Seaway Trail plus others will link communities across New York.  The critical role the Erie Canal played in the nation’s development and the scenic and cultural history of the Champlain Valley are all noted in the area’s history.

Nature Enthusiasts Will Find This Trail Convenient

Finding your way will be simplified with proper signage utilizing a distinctive Empire State Trail logo will be installed along the entire 750-mile route, as well as signage directing users to connecting trails. New way finding signage will work in concert with local identifying signage. Why not grab that day pack and hit the trail?

All large backpack nature lovers will soon have access to a website that will show exactly which facilities are available by use of your cell phone.  This will enable you to zoom into a specific trail segment and see what amenities are available close to the section of trail you’re using. You will love that feature.

The Trail will be open all seasons.  Die hard outdoor folks will enjoy Winter uses such as hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. You can snowmobile will on designated off-road trail segments where available. Spring, summer and Fall, anyone who can walk and wants fresh air can enjoy the trail. Everyone will also be able to easily navigate the EST, even with those who cannot walk using wheelchairs or scooters.

Some Roadways May Be Different, But Easy.

In areas where it’s not feasible to create an off-road route, the EST will follow public roadways. On-road sections will follow low-speed rural roadways and city streets.  Easy to spot marking of crosswalks and paving shoulders will be made at strategic on-road locations.

Backpack Hikers Who Sleep Under The Stars

Rest For The Night On The Empire State Trail

Large backpack trail hikers will find some campsites and state parks along the EST, the trail passes through several towns. If camping out in a tent isn’t your thing, you will find indoor accommodations available.  The pace of your hike should determine where you’re bedding down.  

If you’re a casual bicyclist, you should be able to cycle 25 miles a day.  If you are an outdoor walker, you’ll be able to cover about five miles a day. You’ll need to plan ahead whether this will be a day hike or an overnight camping experience. If so, where will you be staying for the night?  Parks & Trails New York is a great resource for planning and information.  Just make sure you plan how far you expect to hike.

Different Scenery On Every Trail On The EST

Outdoor Backpack Trail Hikes Can Lead to History Discoveries

Making up large portions of the EST, rail-trails seamlessly incorporate history into the present.  The Albany-Hudson Electric Trail traces the onetime path of the Albany-Hudson Electric Trolley from the Mid-Hudson Valley to the city of Rensselaer, home of the Crailo State Historic Site.  The Dutchess Rail Trail  includes a magnificent span over Hudson State Historic Park. Completed in 1889, the bridge once used to transport raw materials to eastern industrial centers, is making new history as the world’s longest pedestrian bridge.

You know from time spent in nature that you learn something new when you’re in the great outdoors.  This trek is no different.  Large sections of the EST, rail-trails seamlessly incorporate history into the present. You just may accidentally learn a thing or two along the way.  Happy EST trail hiking.

Day Hiking Pack | Nature Effectively Reduces Anxiety

day hiking backpack
Stress Can Affect Your Body Negatively

Day Hiking Backpack Trail Walks

Day hiking backpack walks in nature can relieve your stress factors. The turmoil of daily life can be overwhelming because we live in a face-paced world. We end up feeling fatigued most of the time from daily stress and it never seems to let up. You believe it would take a miracle to get you up and outdoors. Yet, studies show that activity involving walking is the best thing for anxiety, stress or depression. Why not start with an easy hike the next time you feel stress taking over your life. Let’s examine the rewards that come from the serenity during outdoor backpacking.

Hiking Does Relieve Stress

A day hiking backpack for hitting the trail is something to consider. Hiking can allow you to be in nature and fully disassociate from work problems, family issues, money woes and children. You gain more from focusing on the freedom to just be you within the beauty of nature.  Hiking relieves stress through its aerobic, cardiovascular exercise while raising endorphins without having to endure an afternoon at the gym among sweaty exercise gurus that intimidate the average person. You can walk at your own pace, stop to observe scenery or just chill out on a log while your only task is to breathe.. Hiking on a weekly or biweekly basis will help boost happiness and positive feelings. Stress will always be present in our daily lives, but never taking a break from it is what eventually catches up to your health in a negative way.

Day Pack Hiking Is A Good Start

Give Yourself The Chance To Experience Peace in Nature

When you take your first day pack hike it can be a leap into the unknown. You’ve been taking challenges since you were born. Things like your first few baby steps, or being brave enough to pull that wobbly tooth out as a child. Hiking is no different, it’s merely walking. There are more reasons to hike than not to. Getting away from digital technology is is the first step to peace when starting a hike. We are all enjoying the benefits of our cell phones and the communication it allows, but you can’t focus on you and your mission if you don’t disconnect for awhile. Bring the phone to use in case of emergencies, as a gps tool or to snap some incredible landscapes…otherwise make the choice to turn it off! You are in control.

Keep Your Hiking Goals Simple

A hiking day pack 20-minute hike will improve the way your brain processes information. Initially, take a few hours for yourself within nature to unwind and regroup. Day hikes are popular because you don’t need to haul a lot of gear. Your daypack will hold the essentials you need, such as food, snacks and water. You don’t have to climb Mt. Everest. It isn’t necessary to trek on for 10 miles because distance isn’t the main factor. It’s more like the quality of your time spent getting there and what you experience along the way. You may not feel like climbing so find a flat
hiking trail. They are everywhere. Your hike will simultaneously strengthen your muscles, help lower your blood pressure and reduce your chances of suffering from heart disease, stroke, or diabetes. You don’t have to hike  very long to start enjoying improved brain function and physical well-being.

Day Pack Hiking Solo Or With Friends?

A backpack hiking challenge is a personal journey. Yes, there are seasoned hikers out there who have a ton of experience, but your goals are different. You are only competing against yourself and no one else. Knowing this means that you can find enjoyment and fulfillment with no pressure to perform to certain expectations. You set your own bar each time you head out on the trail. There are benefits to the tranquility of a solo hike, but having a friend or two along makes it more social. You are in charge. Do you want the experience alone or shared with others? How far will you go each time? Even choices of what you pack in your hiking bag are yours alone. There is empowerment in that fact.  Take those first grown-up baby steps out on the hiking trail.

Plug Into Nature’s Power

Take It All In And Feel The Calm

Day pack hiking when you are feeling anxious and overwhelmed can be the difference between feeling helpless or reveling in your strength. There is much to be said about the power of the flow of a creek or relaxing in the sun at the top of a summit. If you draw from the elements available to you in Nature, I guarantee you will be recharged and breathing easier. The antidote to anxiety can be a “rinse and repeat” prescription. The serenity from a successful hike is calming and inspirational. I hope you’ll tap into the power of nature. Happy hiking!

Hiking Bag | Trail Etiquette That’s Considerate

hiking bag
Hiking Bag Trekkers

Backpackers Follow Unwritten Rules

Hiking bag backpackers are usually respectful to their fellow hikers. Courteous hikers adapt to basic rules they follow for everyone’s benefit.  Outdoor recreation is guided by a common regard for your fellow hikers.  Littering is against the law in many places yet you probably see it everywhere. How does the backpack hiking experience remain beautiful if no one shows consideration?  You may be confused about rules that are not law, but hikers need to follow them regardless.

Pets And People

hiking bag

Hiking bag trail excursions are made up of humans and often dogs. At some point, Mother Nature calls each one, usually at the most inopportune time. If you relieve yourself, do so 200 feet or 40 adult paces away from the trail or any water source. Leave no trace. Dogs never fear making it to the bathroom on time however, owners should always remove their dog’s waste. Pets should be kept on a leash and under control while hiking with you.

Hiking Backpack – Bury Or Carry Your Waste

It’s wise and respectful to bury your dog’s waste or carry it to the next hiker station where it can be flushed in the toilet or a garbage can.  The same principal applies for humans.  Bury your excrement 6” deep with a trowel or double bag it to carry out. I doubt that you want wild animals following you because of the scent of the waste material. Surely you wouldn’t want to step in someone else’s poop. You should always pack out any used toilet paper.

Hiking Trail Right Of Way

Hikers on a descending steep hill should yield to hikers going uphill.  A group of hikers should not take up the entire width of the trail. Walking single file allows others who walk faster to pass by.  Isn’t is annoying in the grocery store when a family of four walks the aisle side by side and you cannot get past them ? The same principle applies here. When taking breaks, move away from the trail to allow others an unobstructed passage.

Outdoor Voice Doesn’t Apply In The Wild

Hiking bag trekkers should be respectfully quiet. Hikers are in the outdoors to enjoy nature sounds, so a low voice is preferred by those around you.  Turn down cell phones and don’t blare music. If you want recorded music, use headphones.  I don’t understand that…who doesn’t prefer listening to nature’s orchestra? Do your part in protecting the tranquility of the wild. Bring your cell phone in your hiking pack, but keep it turned off (to conserve battery power) and buried deep in your backpack.

Backpacking Preservation Of The Trail

hiking bag

The hiking bag trail should not be widened by going around puddles or mud rather than through them. This is damaging for trail sustainability.  Just because it looks easy to cut the corner off of a switchback doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Help preserve the trail by staying on the trail. New cairn building is discouraged on trail sites and can interfere with wildlife habitat.   If there isn’t a natural one, don’t build one for a photo op.

Trail Rules Are About Downright Courtesy

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Hiking On Horseback

Hiking backpack trekkers on the ascent uphill may want to pass a fellow uphill hiker. They should make sure their approach is obvious or call out so they don’t scare the crap out of the other hiker.  No one wants to be startled by something unnecessarily on the trail. Passing lanes on the trail are similar to roadways; stay to the right and pass on the left. 

If you are on a shared trail, mountain bikers should always yield to hikers.  Hikers should safely move out of the way whenever they encounter a rider on horseback since horses can be spooked or easily lose their footing on a trail with a loose and granular surface.

Chatting With Other Hikers Could Save Your Life

hiking bag
Hikers Chatting On The Trail

If you are an introvert who likes to keep to yourself, you may balk at the idea of chatting with other hikers. But when you’re on a long day hike, an overnight mission or hiking solo, having a brief conversation could be the difference between life and death. Someone knowing where you are in case of an emergency by helping direct rescuers to you could be crucial. Ask them about the trail conditions ahead and if there’s anything you need to be aware of.  You should extend the same courtesy to other rucksack hikers if something makes you question the trail’s safety.

Backpack Bag Hikers – Hike Responsibly

A hiking bag outdoor enthusiast understands the importance of etiquette towards people plus wildlife and the environment around you. If you are new to hiking, you will learn to adapt and develop this frame of mind.   Taking better care of our wild trails and hiking areas and being accountable for our actions makes for a more pleasant experience for us all.  Happy hiking!

Hydration Backpack | What’s The Best Way To Carry Water While Hiking?

hydration backpack
Hiker Drinking Water During A Hike

What Exactly Is A Hydration Backpack?  

A hydration backpack is a pack used for hiking which may have its own drinking system or it can literally be any backpack which can carry a form of  water or fluids.  All hikers should be aware of how vital it is to stay hydrated during the course of a hike, because dehydration can happen quickly. Even if you hike is just for the day. You may wonder; which is the preferred way to carry water while you’re on the trail? Let me explain the various ways and then you decide what works best for you.

Hydration Bladder Backpacks

Some backpacks have a hydration water system built into the hiking bag. These packs have a water bladder with tubing which allows you to drink over your shoulder as you continue to hike. Typically, most bladders have a large carrying capacity of 2-4 liters and don’t take up lots of space when empty. Backpacks with bladder systems carry the water close to your back, because it helps balance the weight. It also allows water readily accessible for sipping frequently as you keep moving. This is the ideal way of insuring that you drink enough because it’s so handy.

Hydration Backpack – A 2 Liter Bladder

Drawbacks Of Using A Drinking System

Hydration backpack bladders can be difficult to judge how much water you have left without removing the bladder because they have no gauge. So, the hiker is left wondering how much they have drank and how much is still available. You really don’t want proper hydration left to guesswork.

Refills Can Be Tricky

After consuming the amount of water in your bag, you must remove the bladder in order to refill it when you find a water source. Filling it back up can be a challenge because it may be time consuming trying to fill the bladder enough from a slow moving creek.  I like to use the scoop and funnel method to refill the bladder pack because it’s quicker and those tools are lightweight to carry in your hiking bag.

A Hydration Backpack – Carrying Your Water In Bottles

The capacity of a typical 1 liter Nalgene water bottle is 33.8 oz. and weighs 2.2 pounds when filled. This means with only 2 bottles, you’ll be carrying over 4 pounds.  The goal is to consume 6 to 12 ounces of water or sports drink every 15 to 20 minutes so that you stay steadily hydrated. That means with two bottles, you would be good for about 2 hours before you needed to replenish your water supply.

Nalgene Bottle

Convenience is Key

Your empty Nalgene bottles are rigid and will take up room in your hiking bag. Carrying water in bottles, since heavy items are carried close to your back inside a backpack, your water would be hard to access. You may not drink as much as you should if it’s inconvenient to get to. Most hiking bags have mesh side pockets specifically for water bottles, which makes it easy to grab one without taking the pack off. I like this feature, but it may not be ideal because the weight could throw your balance off.

Hydration Backpack – All Water Bottles Are Not The Same

Classic sports bottles, as previously mentioned, are hard plastic but they are nearly indestructible. They will last for years and can also hold hot liquids. Another version is a soft flexible-type bottle similar in texture to a hydration bladder. These are reusable, they pack down small when they’re empty, and stand up like a normal bottle when full.  However, a couple of drawbacks are that they are less durable, and it’s not recommended to carry hot liquids in them.

Why Not Re-Use Disposable Drink Bottles?

As an avid hiker, I’ve been known to reuse my Gatorade bottles, but I have since learned that reusing plastic bottles is not safe or sanitary due to the plastics used to make them.  The components break down with heat and soap, resulting in harmful chemicals leeching into the liquids you refill them with. That’s just not cool. Water pouches that are collapsible are safer, but should be cleaned between uses.

hydration backpack

Staying Hydrated Safely

Your hydration backpack can carry all the water you need for a day hike or a weekend of camping and beyond.  The best way to determine how you should carry water is by the length of time you are hiking. For lengthier trips, make sure your map indicates water sources on the trail or in the wilderness. Take the time of year into consideration because there may be times a creek is dried up due to lack of rain.

Hikers Should Keep It Clean

While trekking you may collect water from a lake, stream or pond. Always use a filtration device, drops or tablets in the water before you drink to insure what you capture does not make you sick. Whenever available, choose moving water because stagnant water is a likely breeding ground for more bacteria and parasites. You want to enjoy your hike not be ill.

Hydrate For Health And Happiness

Spare yourself headaches, nausea and muscle weakness during hiking by staying hydrated through every hike. Water is vital for life so make sure you take along a liter for every hour you are hiking unless you know for certain that you will have access to water along your path. Happy hydrated hiking!

Drawbacks Of Using A Drinking System


Hiking Bag | Quick And Easy Meal Ideas On The Trail

hiking bag

Your hiking bag must contain food and snacks for your entire trip because your body needs nourishment for the calories you will burn. Meal planning can be overwhelming when you are home, but it doesn’t have to be for your backpacking trek. Let’s focus on what foods you can make while hiking; no chef degree needed.

Packing Hiking Foods Correctly

Your hiking backpack should have easy to reach snacks on the exterior so you can grab them and keep hiking. That way you are energized on the go without stopping. Even packaged foods have odors so keep them securely inside your pack using a metal bear canister, which I recommend because wild animals have an incredible sense of smell. You don’t want them tracking your food scent and finding you. Your meal foods will be reserved for after you make camp or take a break.

hiking bag food
An example of Foods Packed And Ready

Hiking Bag Simple Rules That Make Sense

There are three backpacking food requirements to consider when you pack. Consider these for a more comfortable hike because every ounce counts when you have to carry it.

Keep It Lightweight

  • Dehydrated foods are lightweight and contain little to no water. They are easy to transport without weighing you down. The less packaging the better, because it all contributes to extra weight.
  • Remove dry foods from store packaging and place in zip lock bags, such as cereals, granola, oatmeal and beans, again because weight adds up.

Minimal Preparation

  • For dinners at camp, most backpackers prefer to cook easy and uncomplicated single-pot meals. You’ll be tired and hungry, so quick and easy is the key.
  • Dehydrated noodles, potatoes and vegetables can easily be hydrated with boiled camp water. Add a few spices and packaged protein and ta-da, you have a hearty meal.
  • There are many ready-made freeze-dried meals available that actually taste good and are simple to prepare.

Hiking Bags Should Carry High Nutrition

  • Hikers have been known to burn up to 6,000 calories a day. High calorie foods, carbohydrates, protein, fats, fiber and electrolytes (mainly sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium) are a must because your body will be exerting itself and you’ll need to have nutrients replenished.
  • Proper balance of fats and protein may be tricky to some, so let’s explore examples of meals for some carefree ideas.

Trail Breakfast Ideas

Oatmeal In It’s Own Bowl
  • Oatmeal Packets are a backpackers food staple. The best thing about these packets is that they serve as a bowl. Just add hot water to heat the oats inside.
  • Grits are prepared like oatmeal so all that is needed is hot water. Grits can be a nice addition for a change of pace. Pack a couple of maple syrup packets or jelly to put on top so your food has flavor.
  • Dried Fruits can be added to grits or oatmeal to provide dense sugar and flavor, and be a healthier alternative to candy.
  • Powdered eggs are extremely popular on the trail because they are easy, lightweight and a cheap protein. You can add taste like ketchup packets or hard cheese.
  • Powdered Instant Breakfast can be mixed with water and some dried fruit so you can make a quick shake.
  • Powdered Milk is a great source of protein, potassium, fat and calories. You could mix it with some granola and dried fruit for breakfast and make your oatmeal a little creamier. 

Trail Lunch Ideas

Packet Full Of Protein
  • Dried meats like beef jerky and salami deliver great flavor. Even tuna and chicken are great non-cook meats for the trail. None of them need refrigeration. All of them are tasty and high in protein and sodium.
  • What are the most popular meats for hikers? Tuna and salmon are probably the most chosen by hikers because they have lightweight packaging, are inexpensive and easy to find in stores. Choose meats packed in olive oil for healthy fat and additional calories.
  • A bagel by itself is boring, but with a packet of cream cheese paired with your favorite non-perishable meat, you now have a hearty option.
  • Tortilla wrap and cheese with or without meats can provide a lot of calories and fat. Use hard cheeses or hummus that are shelf stable and require no refrigeration. Peanut butter and jelly work well also.
  • Who doesn’t love crackers? Add peanut butter or almond butter to make them tasty and nourishing. Crackers are high in carbohydrates and sodium, making them a wise choice. Fats from the nuts like Nutrella or other nut butter are great to pack in your hiking pack also.

Trail Dinner Ideas

Dehydrated Noodles At Camp
  • Every hiker can cook noodles like Ramen, with dehydrated veggies. They are so easy to prepare with just boiling water. In 5 minutes dinner is ready. You can add so many things to noodles for variety, such as herbs/spices or packaged meat, so give it a try.
  • You can do virtually the same with instant potatoes, rice or couscous by adding vegetables, meats and flavorings of your choice. carry some condiments and spices like olive oil, honey or balsamic vinegar using old digital film canisters or small pill bottles after washing them out. Be sure to protect from leakage just by adding an extra zip lock bag around these items.
  • There is always the option of pre-packaged meals at your fingertips in minutes. They are lightweight in your hiking bag and quick to prepare. Grocery stores like Trader Joe’s and online stores carry these, and many taste great. After a long day of hiking you will just want to keep it simple.

Trail Snacks During The Day and Bedtime

Great choices like chocolate, nuts, seeds, energy chews and fruit leather are all used in backpacking. If you want get in some dense calories, protein and healthy fats while you hike, try adding things like granola bars, trail mix or crunchy chick peas to your hiking snack list.

A candy bar (especially dark chocolate) will give you energy and taste good. It can be a snack at between-meal breaks, or dessert just before you turn in for the night. For example, a Hershey bar with almonds or Reese Peanut Butter Cups will satisfy.

Pork rinds are ultra crisp and crunchy. Their “puffy” volume can take up more space. But, the benefit is that they are loaded with protein.

There are so many protein bars, energy bars, and nutrition bars available. These ready-to-eat gems are usually high in nutrition. Look for minimally processed natural choice brands like Cliff Bars.

Dark Chocolate, Nuts And Seeds – Yum!

Hiking Bag Food Choices

There are literally thousands of ideas from experienced backpack hikers because they know what works. Ask people like forest rangers, other hikers and backpackers that you meet on the trail. Most folks are happy to share trail food recipes. It can be fun to mix something from bare minimum foods and have it taste awesome. Whatever trail foods you bring, keep the lightweight, easy-to-prepare and nutritious key factors in mind.

Share Hiking Bag Food Ideas

Feel free to comment below any ideas like foods you bring, nutritional advice or experiences you’ve had on the trail. We feel that hikers are a community of their own with new and experienced trekking bag trail blazers seeking information every day.  Thank you for helping fellow hikers.  Happy backpack hiking!