More New Backpacking Ideas
Note: This is part three of our collection
of backpacking gear ideas.
Here are a few more ideas for backpacking inventions or products,
as well as innovations in techniques as well. Good techniques
can often lighten your load as much as lightweight products.
New Backpacking Product Ideas
Instead of a poncho, a tarp that simply has a chin strap and
a few velcro attachments down one side could be used for a "rain
cape." It would be cheaper and simpler to manufacture, and
easier to actually use as a tarp. It would also easily cover
you and your backpack. If you have ever held a rectangular
tarp around you to keep the rain off, you get the idea.
Wax Paper Water Container
The idea here is to have a water container for those long
hikes in the desert when you need to carry extra water. When
you have used it up, the container doubles as a good fire starter,
eliminating its weight from your pack. Existing waxed milk and
orange juice cartons could be used for this.
Swamp Cooler Shirt
Again, this is for hot desert hiking. Soaking your shirt in
a stream and wearing it wet is a great way to keep cool from
the evaporative effect. The problem is that twenty minutes later
you are far from the stream and the shirt is dry. The innovation
here, then, is a shirt that has some kind of water bags attached.
Once filled, they slowly leak the water into the fabric of the
shirt, keeping you cool for hours. You just refill the bag each
time you pass a stream or other water source.
Solid Fuel Fire Starters
Take army fuel sticks and add a strike-anywhere match head.
You have an instant fire starter. It would be something like
having a mini emergency flare.
Air Condition Your Tent
If the day is dry and hot, try wetting any large piece of
cloth in the nearest stream and laying it over the roof of your
tent. The evaporation can cool the interior of the tent by ten
degrees. Just be sure that if you are using a shirt or other
clothing that you'll be needing the next morning, you allow enough
time before dark for it to dry completely.
Raise Your Body Heat
You can get by with less cold weather wear and sleeping gear
if you have more body heat. One way to create more is to eat
fats before going to sleep. Fats create heat when they are digested
(this is why eating whale blubber helps Eskimos stay warm). Corn
chips are oily enough to help if you can't stomach a half cup
of olive oil before bedtime.
Walk at Night
I purposely timed a five-day backpacking trip through the
Sierra Nevada mountains to coincide with the full moon. I slept
until the cold got to me and then easily hiked through the rest
of the night by moonlight. It meant I could go with a lighter
sleeping bag, and it was a unique experience - one of those backpacking
ideas I had wanted to try for a while. It did mean taking a nap
in the sun every afternoon.