Wilderness Girl Hacks

Ok, so maybe these aren’t real ‘hacks.’ But as active adventuristas out in the elements, you’ll have those tough moments, and some helpful tips go a long way. We’ve all seen those ’41 Camping Hacks’, so why not comprise a list that’s relevant for us girls?

Also, gear isn’t cheap and I am… so this takes minimalist and bootleg to a new level 😀

MOSQUITOES                               

I have Skeeter Syndrome, so I welt like crazy. My first backpacking trip in the Sierras, I brought a mosquito-crotch fan with me. Needless to say, my friends didn’t let me step foot out of the car with it.

So don’t bring a crotch fan. Try the following tricks:

  • Add sage to your campfire. It’s a natural mosquito repellant, AND your camp will smell pretty spiffy 🙂
  • Make your own natural bug spray recipe! Ditch the toxic DEET, and follow this recipe.
  • Pitch the door to your tent towards the wind so the skeeters won’t congregate.

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THAT SQUEAKY CLEAN FEELING

Cleanliness is overrated, but after a few days under a limited choice of base layers, that layer or sunscreen and grime on your skin can be a drag.

  • Dr. Bronner makes a hand sanitizer can also serve as a deodorant (thanks Mike!). DONE.
  • Buy a bar of natural soap and use a veggie peeler to shave off ‘slices’ before your trip. If you plan on using it in the water, just be sure to use at least 200 feet away from a water source.
  • Baby wipes, another godsend.
  • Expecting your period? Lots of girls are fans of cups, which can come in handy in the backcountry if you need to pack in/pack out. If you decide to use tampons/are packing them out in a ziploc, keep odor at bay by adding teabags or crushed aspirin into your bag.

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SLEEPING QUARTERS

  • Bring an extra pair of socks just for bed. Your feet will thank you 🙂
  • If can’t seem to get warm in your sleeping bag, fill your water bottle with hot water and go to bed with it between your legs. If the bottle’s too hot, just wrap a layer around it.
  • Use your dry bag (or Ziploc bag) as a pillow- just stuff your layers inside! Your dry bags can also serve as a floatation device.

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FOOD/CAMPFIRE

  • Freeze water in your water bottle to keep your food cold for the first few days, and replenish yourself afterwards.
  • If you’re planning on having a campfire, pre-stuff your marshmallows with chocolate, berries, and other yummy treats.
  • My favorite backpacking/car-camping treat? Cupcake-sized gluten free banana bread! Recipe here.
  • Cheese makes for good fuel- bricks of hard, low-moisture cheese (gouda, cheddar, etc) are good for extended trips (some can stay edible for more than a week!). Low-moisture string single mozzarella can last for two weeks without refrigeration in the low 80s temp. Avoid packing your cheese in plastic bags (to prevent mold)- instead, wrap in wax paper or a paper bag. Cheese cloth soaked in a bit of vinegar also soaks up oil and keeps mold at bay.
  • Running low on kindling? Corn chips (like Fritos and Doritos) make a good substitute for dry wood since they’re essentially pure hydrocarbons (which burn) soaked in fat. Dry pine cones and pine needles (not the green ones) also work as well.
  • Want to play your awesome spotify playlist? Put your phone in a ceramic mug if you don’t have access to music speakers.

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HIKING

  • Prone to blisters? Apply duct tape to your feet before your blisters develops and try to smooth out any wrinkles. If you already have blisters, apply a piece of gauze to the blister, and put the duct tape on top. Also be sure to take off your socks and air out your feet during rest periods as well! Sidenote: if you don’t have access to medical assistance, you can also use duct tape in makeshift butterfly stitches to close a wound!
  • If you’re relying on directions on your phone to find a trailhead/remote hot springs, don’t forget to screenshot your directions just in case you lose service.

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ESSENTIAL GEAR

Lastly, here are some essentials (aside from my sleeping gear) in my pack that are worth every penny:

  • HEADLAMPS- though sometimes I seem to forget this!
  • SAWYER STRAW- stick these filter straws inside any water source, and you can drink right through it! Check out the technology here.
  • TOPOGRAPHY MAP- if GPS is running low/nonexistent, it’s helpful to have one map within the group
  • EXTERNAL CHARGER (more so car camping)- make sure your Gopro, phone, never run out of juice!
  • MEDICAL TAPE/FIRST AIDyou never know when you’ll sprain your ankle while getting distracted by Elk grazing… it can happen.

Lastly, always remember to put any scented or yummy goodies in bear canisters a good distance away from your sleeping quarters! Stay safe, and go roam the great outdoors <3

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