Experience the Trails of Pennsylvania™

Hiking Tips

Starting A Fire On The Trail

Here are a couple tips on starting a fire when you are hiking.

  • If it has recently rained or is raining, look for dead limbs and wood still attached to a tree. It will be much drier than dead wood laying on the ground.
  • Look for a fallen birch tree or a dead birch tree where the bark is falling off. Birch bark is great for starting a fire even if it’s somewhat damp.
  • Take along some cotton balls lubed up with petroleum jelly. Keep them in a ziplock baggy and use one to start your next fire.
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Duct Tape Is A Hikers Best Friend

Duct tape, in my opinion, is the best invention ever made and a "must-take-accessory" when I go hiking. This durable, adhesive tape is strong enough to hold almost anything together and is "water-proof" enough to get you out of potentially wet situations, such as a leaky tent.

A tip given to me a while back is to wrap some duct around your water bottle. It’s easily accessible, you know exactly where it is, and it doesn’t take up space in your pack.

My favorite use for duct tape: blisters. Instead of using mole skin when you develop a blister, put a piece of duct tape on your foot, covering the blister. You can also put a piece of tape on the offending spot inside your boot as well. This quick fix will keep your blister from getting worse and will see you through to the end of your hike.
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Get The Most Out Of Your Tent

Want to get years of enjoyment from your tent? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Seal Your Seems - Make sure you seal all of your seems. Once you apply the seem sealer, let it dry for 24 hours, and then set up your tent under a water sprinkler. Even if the manufacturer says that you don’t need to seal the seems, test your tent just to make sure.
  • Dry Your Tent - As soon as you get home, hang your tent or set it up inside until it is 100% dry. This prevents mildew which will cause your tent to stink and also remove the water-repellant coating.
  • Don’t Stuff a Wet Tent - If you can avoid it, hang your wet tent and allow it to dry before stuffing it in it’s sack. If you can’t avoid stuffing it wet, make sure you remove it and dry it as soon as possible.
  • Use a Ground Cloth - This will prevent wear and tear on the floor of the tent. Make sure the ground cloth is just slightly smaller than the tent foot print to avoid water channeling underneath the tent if it rains.
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Avoid Getting Wet From Your Tent

This isn’t about keeping dry in your tent when it’s raining, this is about avoiding those mornings when you awake to find the inside of your tent covered with little droplets of water. If you’ve every experienced this phenoma, then you know that even the slightest brush against your tent wall will soon have you damp and wet.

To avoid condensation dripping on you in the mornings you need to vent your tent. The best way to do this is to get a chimney effect going by opening a vent down by your feet, so cool air comes in low, and opening a vent near your head, preferably towards the top of the tent. This way the heat escapes, and along with it, all that moisture.

To help with the chimney effect, it is also good idea to have your tent oriented with the vents toward any breeze or air flow going through your camping site.
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Benefits Of Hiking With A Group

Many people take the woods to hike the trails in solitude. But if you plan on hiking a low-traffic or remote trail you may want to consider hiking with a group of fellow hikers. Benefits of hiking in a group include the distribution of hiking gear. This will help lighten the load on long distance back packing trips when you don't have to carry all the gear yourself. Hiking in a group also assures you will have assistance in case of an emergency. Finally, by hiking with a group you can learn from more experienced hikers or even pass on your knowledge to hikers that haven't logged as many miles as you.
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