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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

Rain Cape

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.

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Backpacking Ideas