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

hiking bag
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!

Backpack Bag | Do I Really Need One?

backpack bag

Backpack Bag | Carry Your Necessities

A backpack bag is a highly convenient way to carry everything you take with you on a hike. It centralizes all of your necessities in one place when you trek from the trail head to your destination. You need this organization because there is nothing worse than frantically looking for something you need in a hurry. Carrying a plastic bag with a water bottle and a sandwich won’t cut because you need to carry more than just immediate items. Some items aren’t used every time you hike but they are things you should bring anyway. Why not hike with confidence that you are ready for anything, simply because it’s more fun that way.

Your Backpack Bag Should Always Contain First Aid Items

I never plan on a blister or getting cut from a tree branch, but it happens. Hikers underestimate the power of the sun on the trail because they may not be hot. Not all trails have adequate shade, so you need to be protected by carrying sunscreen. There are bugs within nature; some places have more than others. If you carry repellent you can insure less insect bites and have a more comfortable experience. What if you forget to bring bandaids? Having several layers of duck tape wrapped around a pencil will do the trick because it is so versatile for many uses. Duck tape solves many different situations in hiking and should always be carried.

backpack bag

A Backpack Bag Can Get Pretty Heavy!

My backpack bag doesn’t really have to carry everything but the kitchen sink just for a day of hiking, does it? The answer is no. Day hikes require basic staple items packed in a day hiking bag. Most importantly you will need, food, water, sunscreen, bug repellent, a few first aid supplies and a jacket or sweatshirt. Loaded with your necessities for one day, your day pack should not weigh more than 10% of your body weight because you need balance and comfort.  If you are 180 lbs, 18 lbs would be maximum weight to carry.  That is more than what you would place in a shopping bag, but not so much that you were burdened with a 40 lbs load.

Backpack Bags – Other Necessities For A Day Hike

Bring a spare pair of socks and either a warmer or cooler pair of pants/shorts than you will be wearing for being comfortable in climate changes throughout the day. It’s a wise idea to pack these items in a sealed waterproof bag to stay dry in case of rain.  Bring a map, compass and phone because sometimes we all take a wrong turn and get confused on the trail. Don’t bring just your phone because cell service could be spotty in hiking areas.

backpack bag

Don’t Forget To Pack These Items

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Sunglasses, a bandanna, a multi-purpose tool, matches and snacks top the list of extra essentials for hiking. If you will be in a remote area with no public bathrooms, you should carry a roll of toilet paper, a trowel for digging and burying waste, and a ziploc bag for disposal of used T-paper. Never just leave it on the ground. It could attract wild animals that aren’t friendly.

Backpack Bags | Keeping It Simple And Lightweight

Packing your backpack bag should be tailored to the time you will be hiking, weather there, and terrain. The distance you will be from help, such as a ranger station or civilization should also be a factor.  You may wonder, should I bring this or that, but keeping your packed items to a category of “necessary” things may differ from hiker to hiker. Just remember you will be carrying the weight, so keeping it to basics will make for a better hiking trip.

Longer Hiking Trips Mean More Carry Items

Obviously for a weekend or several day trek, your list of items to carry will be considerably more comprehensive due to conditions and exposure to wilderness. Camping overnight will require tent, sleeping bag and extra clothing, so naturally your hiking pack will need to be larger and the overall weight will be considerably more. For camping or overnight hikes, your load should not be more than 20% of your body weight. A sore back would not make for a pleasant nature outing.

Longer Hiking Trips Mean More Carry Items

backpack bag

Backpack Bags – We’re Here To Help

We realize that hikers that are new to the experience may be confusion about packing.  What is necessary to pack and how much extra can or should I bring? These are common concerns. We are here to answer any and all questions you may have about hiking or our backpack products. Please feel free to reach out to us here at Nature Trail Backpacks.

Backpack Bags –   What About…. Keeping It Simple

Hiking Bag – 10 Facts About Adventures With Wolves

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Hiking bag trips may include exposure to wolves. You may fear these carnivores because they are often depicted as an animal that is scary and will attack you. You most likely view them as a human predator. They are not. Do you, or a loved one reject hiking bag trips from a fear of wolves?   Wolves don’t normally pose a threat to humans from a distance.  Outdoor enthusiasts should just be alert. I will give you some helpful information to eliminate fear of wolves while hiking and camping.

Hiking Bag Backpackers – Keep Your Distance

You are a guest in the wildlife environment. It is quite safe if the space between you and the wolf is at least 50 feet. Both hiker and wolf are actually safer because wolves are skittish of humans and humans fear them. You should never approach a wolf simply because it’s a wild animal. If you lure them with food you carry in your hiking pack, wolves get used to humans and their scents, which may result in human habituation. Kids need to be nearby and in sight throughout a hike. You must keep pets leashed and under control because wolves will consider them prey. If possible, for their own safety, keep pets at home.

What Do Wolves Eat?

I’ll bet you didn’t know that wolves have about 200 million scent cells allowing them to smell other animals more than one mile away. We humans have only about 5 million. Under certain conditions, wolves can hear as far as six miles away in the forest and ten miles on the open tundra. I’ve read that a hungry wolf can eat 20 pounds of meat in a single meal. A human would have to eat one hundred hamburgers in comparison.

Respect That You Are In Their House

Humans Must Respect The Wolves Domain

Hiking bag treks can expose you to wildlife you’ve never encountered before. You can rest assured knowing that wolves are considered Ungulates. This means that they primarily feast on large-hoofed mammals including horses, cattle, pigs, and deer. Caution is always advised when you are in their “house.” 

It’s never a good idea to camp in the wilderness near a carcass, because wolves will scavenge these dead animals and protect that food source.  In coastal areas you may commonly see wolves feeding on carcasses such as seals and sea lions that have washed ashore. Because of this, it is wise to thoroughly check out the area first before setting up your camp area.

Hikers, Keep It Clean

You will want to always keep a clean and orderly camp as a means of protection. You had a great day of fishing but never clean fish at your campsite. Remove carcasses immediately far from your area. Do not bury bones or garbage. If you pack it in, pack it out. You should cook and store food away from sleeping areas. You must secure your food and kitchen items even when the camp is unoccupied during the day because wolves will scavenge day and night. Campers have reported that wolves have removed personal and other non-food items from campsites. Hikers, be sure you bury all human excrement at least 6″ deep since wolves have been known to feed on excrement buried in cat holes.

Captured His Prey

What If A Wolf Approaches Me?

Take immediate action whenever you encounter a wolf that acts either unafraid or aggressive. If you notice the animal before it reaches 100 meters close to you, you can easily and slowly retreat. You can raise your arms and wave them in the air to make yourself appear larger. You should make lots of noise, throw sticks, rocks or sand at the wolf to scare him/them away. If fellow hikers are along, act in unison to send a noisy but clear message to the wolves that they are not welcome.

Wolfs Can Run Fast

Did you know that a wolf can run about 20 miles (32 km) per hour, and up to 40 miles (56 km) per hour when necessary? They can only do this only for a minute or two. They can “dog trot” around 5 miles (8km) per hour and can travel all day at this speed.  A wolf pack may contain just two or three animals, or it may be 10 times as large.

Beware Of Aggression

If you encounter a wolf that seems aggressive, back away slowly without turning your back away from the wolf. You should never run away with your back turned. The same rule applies to bears encounters; don’t run. You can use bear spray or pepper spray if you have it and you have the skills to use it safely. Be aware of the range and operating conditions of the product you are using.

Hiking Bag Excursions – 10 Wolf Facts

You have learned the preventative side of dealing with wolves. Your fear should be lessened because you now have knowledge and understanding of the species. You are always cautious, aware and alert, so you will be fine.

Interesting Facts About Wolves

  • Wolves are the largest members of the Canidae family, which includes domestic dogs, coyotes, dingoes, African hunting dogs, many types of foxes, and several kinds of jackals.
  • This animal runs on their toes, which helps them to stop and turn quickly and to prevent their paw pads from wearing down.
  • At one time wolves were the most widely distributed land predator the world had ever seen. The only places they didn’t thrive were in the true desert and rain forests.
  • A wolf pup’s eyes are blue at birth. Their eyes turn yellow by the time they are eight months old.
  • Their jaw has a crushing pressure of nearly 1,500 pounds per square inch (compared with around 750 for a large dog). The jaws themselves are massive, bearing 42 teeth specialized for stabbing, shearing, and crunching bones. That jaws also open farther than that of a dog.
  • They can swim distances of up to 8 miles aided by small webs between their toes.
  • You’ve heard what a wolf’s howl sounds like. They howl to contact separated members of their group to rally them before hunting, or to warn rival wolf packs to keep away.
  • A lone wolf will howl to attract mates or just because they are alone. Each wolf howls for only about five seconds, but howls can seem much longer when the entire pack joins in. Biologists have found that wolves will respond to humans imitating their howls.
  • They were the first animals to be placed on the U.S. Endangered Species Act list in 1973.
  • The last wolf in Yellowstone Park was killed in 1926. In 1995, wolves were reintroduced and, after just ten years, approximately 136 wolves now roam the Park in about 13 wolf packs.
Wolf Howling

Hiking Bag Trips – Conquer Your Fears

If you have knowledge, you have power.  When you familiarize yourself with animals in the wilderness where you hike, you will know what to expect. When you are armed with pertinent information and feel confident, dealing with wild animals is not so scary. Wolves are beautiful creatures, but you need to keep your distance and use care not to invite them into your space on the trail or campground.  Happy Hiking!

Rucksack | Hiking Has A Wild Side Worth Exploring

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Outdoor Hiking Trips – Set The Scene

A backpack hiking date is a unique way for you to make romance bloom.  When you think of a super romantic date with your significant other, your mind usually leans toward dinner, mood music and wine, right?  Here’s a way you can enjoy quality alone time with someone special, and incorporate all of those elements in a different venue.  You can  boost up the excitement in the  great outdoors with these tips.  If you pack a few elements of surprise because they are a sure cure for the usual  boring and typical scenario.

Rucksack Backpacking Trips – Spice It Up

Rucksack hiking treks give you a chance to set the perfect stage for an amorous camping backpack trip.  Anyone can pack a bottle of wine and bring their cell phone with their music playlist.  But if you switch that playlist up a bit and add some mood music, now your’re talking.  Choose music  that is different.  You can pick some memorable songs from the past or current ones to make new memories.  Years from now you will automatically remember this hiking trip with him (her).  The point is to go beyond what you would normally do as a couple and enjoy Mother nature in a romantic setting.  There is something magical about a campfire under the stars and especially during a full moon.

Romantic Backpack Ideas

Your rucksack bag could contain some indulgent chocolates or favorite snack.  If you see wildflowers on your journey, don’t just admire them, pick some.  Present these to your lady because women always love flowers.   Find a secluded camping site for the night and enjoy the sunset and the stars with wild abandon. You are in charge of making this trip sexy and unforgettable.

Hiking Couples Show Love

Simple things in nature can ultimately be labeled a romantic setting because they are.  Take a stick and carve your initials in a heart on the ground where you are sitting.   Snap a photo with your cell phone because this lasting reminder of  yourselves as a couple is powerful.  Pack a rose in your hiking backpack and peel off its petals on the floor of your tent.

Rucksack Backpack Hiking – Where Should We Go?

You can  hike almost anywhere.  Now that you have romance suggestions and ideas for the best place to go.  Here are 5 highly suggested locations.

5 Great U.S. Locations

Arcadia National Park in Maine

First, try the Cadillac North Ridge Trail in Arcadia National Park in Maine. The four mile North Ridge Trail overlooks the ocean and will take you up the rocky coastline with beautiful pink granite and chaparral vegetation. It is one of the most scenic hiking trails with ocean views.

Kauai, Hawaii

Kalalau Trail in Kauai, Hawaii provides a more experienced and adventurous couple an 11 mile hike with various coastal cliffs and valleys. The isolated beaches and lush tropical forests are a gorgeous backdrop for romance. The beauty of this location is that fewer people who hike have the endurance to navigate it. This creates the chance of more isolation and serenity with your lover. This is not the best option for a couple who has just started dating.

Heart Lake

Explore Heart Lake Loop in Anacortes, Washington, for a perfect daypack trip with your sweetheart.  An obvious reason for this choice is the actual heart-shaped lake.  This hike is a three mile loop around the mountains and Pacific Northwest Forest. You can picnic by the lake and explore the forest and all Mother Nature has to offer. You’ll create a beautiful memory of your time together in this beautiful and symbolic location.

Havasu Canyon

This adventure seekers backpacking backpack trail, in Havasu Canyon, Arizona is not one for beginners.  It is a spectacular destination, but hikers must trek eight miles to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  From there, it’s another 2 miles to the gorgeous Havasu Falls waterfalls. This would make a great challenge for more experienced hikers. The scenery and bright-blue crystal clear water makes it so worth the time and it’s perfect for a swim there.

John Muir Trail

Check out the John Muir Trail in California  which provides a location named after the writer, John Muir. He truly understood the romance and beauty that nature has to offer. This trek takes you through 215 miles of California. It winds through Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park and includes Kings Canyon National Park.

Don’t feel as if you need to conquer all those miles for the sake of romance, because the romance is in the extras that you do.  The High Sierra Mountain Range offers back country camping with shorter treks.

Rucksack Hiking Closer To Home 

Trails for hiking excursions that require traveling long distances may not always be possible because of time off needed and expenses.  You can do a search online for local hiking backpack trails and you will find places closer to where you live. You may want to save the further distances for a special vacation spot or an anniversary trip and still discover places to go locally.

Create Outdoor Romance

Wherever  you go and whenever you choose to camp on the trail,  your backpack hike will be more memorable because of romance.  Don’t be afraid to head out to explore your wild side in the wilderness.  If you need a hiking bag, head on over to Nature Trail Backpacks and we’ll help you find the perfect one for you.  Happy backpack hiking!

Hiking Backpack – Packing Your Essentials Simplified

hiking backpack

Pack Your Hiking Bag Like A Pro

Hiking backpack organization of all your necessities can have you wondering, where do I put it all? Simple planning and forethought can get you packed and ready for the trail quickly.  Tossing your stuff into a backpack randomly will have you cursing. You will end up frantically searching when you need something in a hurry. This can make the difference between hiking agony or a pleasurable trip.   Do you really want that frustration?  Let’s start packing with a purpose by using our ABC’s and focus on; Accessibility –  Balance – Condense/Compress.

Example Of A Solid Packed Hiking Backpack

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Hiking Backpack Pockets And Compartments

Hiking bags are designed to help sort and organize your cargo.  Some items you will want quick access to without stopping your hike. Staples such as water, a compass, sunscreen, etc. you’ll want to grab on the go.   Other items you won’t be using until you make camp at the end of the day.

Start With A Hiking & Camping Check List

You should always start packing your hiking bag by writing a checklist sheet of items you are taking because you’ll want to avoid forgetting anything important.  Once you have done that, you can begin by packing from the bottom up and check off each item as you pack it. 

Practice Makes Perfect

After a few trips out, you will automatically remember your frequently used items and where to pack them. You may want to make changes next trip out if you pack something too heavy, so make mental notes of those items that seemed to throw your balance off or that you never used.

What Do I Pack In My Hiking Pack First?

It’s always a good idea to line the inside of your backpack bag with a contractor bag before you begin packing. This first step will allow everything to stay dry for less than a dollar. If you are traveling in a chronically wet area, consider investing in a pack cover, which will add another layer of moisture protection.

It’s All About Backpack Weight Balance

Hiking backpack organization is important to help balance the weight of the load on your back and hips. The bottom of your pack should contain the gear you will use when you finish your hike for the day. Use items such as a sleeping bag and/or pad, clothing you plan to sleep in, casual shoes to relax in as cushions.  Soft and squishy items like these create internal shock absorption within your hiking bag because they are soft.

Always Fill Your Bladder Bag First

If you are using a water reservoir/bladder, fill it first, and then pack around it with soft items to eliminate shifting. If you attempt to place the bladder bag into your full backpack it will be difficult.  Can you guess how I know this? I found out the hard way.

Pack Heavy Items In Your Hiking Backpack’s Core

Hiking backpack gear such as trail dinner food (not snacks), cook stove, water bladders or bottles and a bear canister should be packed in the core or middle section of your hiking pack.  Place food items or other things that have scent to them inside the bear canister because they give off odors to animals. You may think all heavy items should go at the bottom, like when you pack a grocery bag, but this is not so.  

Pack Your Hiking Backpack Wisely

Placing heavier objects in the center helps to create a stable center of gravity directing the weight downward instead of backward to prevent the bag from sagging. If you place these heavier items high in the pack, it will make your backpack lean or tip, throwing your balance off.  If you are carrying liquid fuel for your stove, make sure the cap is secure and tight so that it doesn’t leak. Pack the bottle upright placing it below your food (in case of spillage) and then wrap soft items, to act as a buffer, around the tank. Examples are extra clothing, your tent body, extra dry bags or a rain fly.

Hiking Backpack Items Packed On Top

This is where you place your bulkier necessities.  You may want to place your tent at the very top of your pack. This way, if a storm moves in and you need to set it up immediately, it’s handy to access.  With sudden weather changes you will want easy gain to a heavier jacket or rainwear because staying dry is very important.
Keep them on top for quick retrieval.

Keep Important Hiking Pack Items Handy

Have your first aid kit readily available because you can get an injury any time. Your water purification filter or tablets should always be handy to refill your hydration bottle when you come across a water source. This is also where you will want to have your toilet trowel, paper and zip lock bag for used TP.  You never know when you will need these items, but they should be easy to grab without a hassle. 

Placing Hiking Backpack Accessories On The Exterior

Hiking backpacks often come with reversible side compression straps that you can utilize to attach exterior gear. These straps must have rear-facing ends with clips instead of being sewn onto the pack. There must be a male clip and a female clip on opposite sides that you can clasp together. This gives you the ability to attach bulky things like your tent, trekking poles or extra shoes because you may not have room inside the pack.

Packing A Hiking Bag Back To Side

With your gear loaded at the back end, that leaves the side pockets free for grabbing things you need on the go, such as a water bottle, sunscreen and a camera. This is great for utilizing the pockets and compression at the same time. If your hiking pack lacks the amount of loops or rings to hang gear from, you can easily attach additional hooks and pockets as needed to center the load.

Packed And Ready

Now You Really Know Your Backpacking ABC’s

Hiking Backpack treks are all different. You can adjust your packing to suit your needs while keeping the ABC’s in mind.  Utilize the basics of heavy to light areas of packing your essentials, and you can experiment with extra gear and placement until it’s comfortable for you.  Happy Hiking!