These 15 tips courtesy of Jason Stevenson's The Complete Idiot's Guide to Backpacking and Hiking ($17;
It’s a myth that people lose 90 percent of their body heat from their head. However, if the rest of your body except your head is covered and insulated, you will lose a significant amount of heat from your exposed noggin because of the concentration of blood vessels that supply the brain.
You wouldn’t drive a new car without testing the brakes, right? Likewise, you should never use a first-aid kit with knowing its contents. Before your hike, open up your kit and review all the items.
To pack duct tape without bringing a heavy roll, wrap several feet of tape around a plastic water bottle. Rip off pieces of the tape as you need it.
Packing your gear in multiple small stuff sacks instead of several large ones will speed up loading and allow you to squeeze gear into every corner of a pack. (Photo courtesy of
The most equitable way to carry a two-person backpacking tent is to have one person pack the inner canopy and the other person take the rainfly, poles and stakes.
When packing a tent, place the inner canopy in the bottom of the stuff sack, followed by the rainfly and the footprint so that you can remove them in the reverse order and keep the canopy dry if it’s raining.
If you bring DEET-based bug repellent inside a tent, store it in its own zip-top plastic bag to prevent it from leaking and dissolving the nylon fabric and its waterproof coatings.
To protect a down sleeping bag from moisture, place a plastic trash bag inside the stuff sack before packing the bag or use a waterproof stuff sack.
Warm up your clothes for the next day by stuffing them at the bottom of your sleeping bag overnight.
To make a small, packable, cutting board, cut a thin piece of plastic into a circle that is the same diameter as your cooking pot and store it at the bottom of the pot. (MSR Exo 2 2.5L Titanium Pot shown)
Eliminate the aftertaste of iodine treatments by adding a pinch of salt or flavored drink mix to the water after it is purified.
You can estimate the remaining hours of daylight by counting the number of outstretched hands you can place between the bottom of the sun and the horizon. Each stack of four fingers represents an hour of daylight.
According to U.S. National Park Service search and rescue reports, the five national parks that recorded the highest number of missions in 2005 were Grand Canyon (AZ), Yosemite (CA), Rocky Mountain (CO), Grand Teton (WY) and Sequoia and Kings Canyon (CA).
Badly mauled and left for dead by a grizzly bear in hostile Indian territory in 1823, a fur trapper named Hugh Glass set his own broken leg, bandaged his infected wounds, and crawled 200 miles over six weeks to Fort Kiowa in present-day South Dakota. This amazing feat was the basis for the 1971 movie, A Man in the Wilderness.
Follow the 30/30 rule: seek shelter when 30 seconds or less separate lighting and thunder and remain under cover for 30 minutes after the last clap.