5 Backpacking Hacks I Learned from HikeTok
There was a time when I was able to claim that I was “only on Instagram.” Now, after two rescheduled thru-hikes and catching my first case of COVID, it’s fair to say I’ve succumbed to the dopamine-inducing algorithm of TikTok. After hours of intense research on my part (and some involvement in the merriment myself), TikTok’s infamous, all-knowing algorithm has decided that my brain is primarily wired for backpacking gear and hiking hacks. Who’da thunk?
As part of building out The Trek’s very own TikTok Account, I’ve been swiping long and hard to suss out the gems of HikeTok that not only entertain but inform. Here are five terrific hiking hacks that I picked up along the way.
1. Managing periods on trail.
Though I’ve had my fair share of periods in the backcountry, this video was a lesson in how there’s always more to learn. From the best menstrual products to use on trail to bear country best practices (that educated me for my future CDT/PCT attempts), Renee and Tim do a great job covering this topic in an ever-engaging way. For more on Renee and Tim and their rise to TikTok stardom, check out Zach and Chaunce’s interview with the thru-hiking duo on Backpacker Radio.
2. Tying your shoelaces differently changes your foot experience.
Follow along with Elena as she walks us through three different ways to tie hiking shoes depending on what your feet are telling you they need. From relieving pressure on swollen toes to preventing heel slip, this is some good knowledge to have under your belt. All you ultralight hikers can breathe a sigh of relief: commenter Malcom adds, “Works for running shoes as well!”
3. Zipping a jacket around your sleeping pad to keep your pillow in place.
Accompanied by Lizzo’s “About Damn Time,” an audio with over 2.1 M videos, Chad Lubinski shares his strategy for a good night’s sleep on trail. If your pillow is constantly trying to liberate itself from under your head throughout the night, this video is for you. Simply use a zippered jacket to secure your pillow to your sleeping pad before you settle in for the night. “And maybe flip the jacket over so you’re not sleeping on the zipper!” adds a commenter. Good call.
4. Dehydrated toilet paper is a thing?!
Not only is dehydrated toilet paper a thing, it means instead of using toilet paper or a backcountry bidet, you’ll have access to a moist towelette on demand. The creator pops into the comments to add, “REMEMBER: Always pack it out! These say they are biodegradable, but that does not mean you should bury them. Always leave no trace!” So why lug around that disheveled, shredded half-roll you found in the back of that Family Dollar when you can be living in the lap of luxury? And, if you and your tramily are looking for the ultimate on-trail entertainment, “dehydrated toilet paper sounds like prank item on a scout camp scavenger hunt” (via comment).
Have you tried leukotape?? #hiketok #hikertrash #hikinggear #blisters #backpacking #thruhike #hikersoftiktok #hikelikeawoman #hikingtips #hikingforbeginners #hikingshoes #hikecolorado #blistersforlife
5. Leukotape is your friend!
I couldn’t have hiked the AT without hearing praises of Leukotape sung across the land. The nugget of wisdom I learned from Kacy is that there are two types of this good sticky stuff – K (kinesio tape) and P (the classic). Heavy on the entertainment in this one. I’ve never been so transfixed by a lady with a strip of sticky tan tape across her nose telling me to take care of my feet but hey, there’s a first time for everything.
As can be said with lots of things nowadays, social media is a double-edged sword. But if you’re engaging in a healthy way, there’s lots of content out there that can inspire you to get you back on trail feeling confident, eager, and informed. Check out The Trek’s TikTok for (some silly, some serious) tales from the trail, takeovers from creators hiking across the country, and much, much more.
Featured image: Graphic design by Jillian Verner (@yourstrulyjillian).
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