Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Paul's Backpacking Tips

  • Keep it lightweight, but be able to carry lots of water if necessary.
  • Bring music; it makes me hike faster and takes my mind out of the doldrums that creep in on long stretches. I use an iPod Shuffle separate from my phone, but most thrus I saw this year simply used their phones.
  • Keep your phone/camera in a light, flat, easily accessible waterproof transparent pouch (I use an eCase). Unless it's a torrential downpour, or you're climbing rocky stretches where falling is a danger, you can keep it sealed in your pocket safely but pull it out at a moment's notice for a quick picture or get information.
  • My standbys for quick energy (these have contributed to some of my high-mileage days): Trader Joe's coffee packets (milk & sugar already pre-mixed; $1.99 for 10 and they taste just as good cold as hot); Nuun Electrolyte tablets which come in a cool tube the size of a quarters roll and a multitude of flavors (and they make other tablets for Vitamins and Energy; I'm talking the ELECTROLYTE ones); and also Clif Shot Blocks. Combined with decent food, they will serve you well.
  •  Also, carry a secondary battery pack. I have one from Monoprice that cost me $30, charges 2 devices simultaneously, weighs about 5 oz., and gives an iPhone about 3 full charges. I've never run out of juice, even without power for 3-4 days.
  • To get the longest life from your phone/device, put it in Airplane Mode and turn off Location services unless you really need them for a specific reason. You can leave your device on in these modes for days without a significant loss of power (unless you are reading/listening to music, etc.). Just enable those features when you need them.

You can also peruse Paul's Appalachian Trail Journals and Pics from the past 12 years at

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