Experience the Trails of Pennsylvania

Hiking Tips

Sleeping Over Night On The Trail

Just a few tips to keep in mind when you are planning on doing an overnighter. These tips are more about your comfort and less about gear needed: that is an entirely different discussion.

  • Take along camp clothes; something different to sleep in then what you hike in.
  • Eat a small snack before you go to bed; it will keep you warmer at night.
  • Keep a bottle of water handy; makes night time thirst easier to quench.
  • Keep a flashlight nearby; for animals invading your camp and all that water you drank through out the night.
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Eating On The Trail

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you are eating on the trail. You should eat food that weighs the most first, such as fresh fruit, or a canned foods. This will lighten the pack early on instead of after hiking many miles with the additional weight. Also, try eating small quantities often. This will avoid stomach aches while hiking and also keep your energy level up through out the day. Before you begin a climb, stop and have a snack. This will give you an energy boost when you need it most.
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An Interesting Tip For Out-and-Back Hikes

The one thing that I enjoy most about hiking is the exploration aspect. That is why I prefer loop or circuit hikes. You start at point 'A', and return to point 'A', while experiencing new surroundings every step of the way. Point to point hikes are also enjoyable, but require at least two people and two cars.

My least favorite type of hike is out-and-back hikes. However, if you have a large enough group of hikers, there is a way to avoid an out-and-back hike. What you’ll need to do is split into two groups. Drop the first group at point 'A' and then drive to point 'B', park the car, and begin your hike. At the mid point, when the two groups pass each other, hand off the keys. Now the first group hops in the car parked at point 'B' and drives back to pick up the other group at point 'A'. An option if you are hiking by your self: drop a bike off at point 'B' and then ride it back to the trailhead after your hike.

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Dressing For The Cold

Hiking during the winter requires you to dress appropriately. You’ll be surprised at how fast you get overheated and begin to sweat while hiking during these colder months.

The key to dressing for hikes when it’s cold is to dress in layers. Also, wearing a shirt or turtleneck that zippers in the front is a good idea. You can zipper up for warmth and unzipper to cool down. When you do start to get hot, start by taking off your hat (yes, make sure you wear a hat as that is where most of your body heat escapes), then open your shirt or jacket a little, then try unbuttoning and rolling up your shirt sleeves. This will allow cool air to circulate up your arms and down your torso.

Finally remember to bundle back up when you stop hiking. Dressing and undressing as your body warms and cools is the best way to keep comfortable during winter hikes.

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Treat Your Sleeping Bag Well This Winter

Winter is here and if you are like me, hikes during this time of the year are typically limited to day hikes. However, even if you aren’t using it over the winter, don’t neglect your sleeping bag.

This is the perfect time of the year to launder your sleeping bag. Ideally you would do this at a laundromat where they have those large, industrial size washers, specifically the ones without an agitator. If you don’t want to make a trip to the laundromat, then wash your bag by hand in a large tub of water (ie: bathtub). Make sure you use a mild, powdered soap and stay away from liquid detergents. When done washing, tumble dry your sleeping bag in your dryer using a no heat setting.

One last thing: don’t store your sleeping bag in it’s stuff sack. You can hang it from a hanger (best choice) or store it in a large breathable bag. Storing it this way keeps the fibers loose and not compressed, extending the life of your bag, and giving you continued warmth in the upcoming backpacking season.

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