Last week Catherine and I left work and booked it over to REI to attend a class called “52 Hike Challenge: Intro to Backpacking”. I signed up for the free class a few weeks ago and was pretty excited to learn as many backpacking tips and tricks as possible from 52 Hike Challenge creators Karla and Philip.
Two hours isn’t much time to cover ALL THE THINGS, but they managed to cram in a lot of great information and time for questions.
Here’s a list of some topics they covered:
- The 10 Essentials
- Trip research
- Food and water
- Backpacks (get REI to fit test for you)
- Sleeping and shelter gear
- Plus lots of other gear that they recommended
Going through all the information listed would result in a 10,000 word essay. Instead I thought I’d share my three favorite tips from the evening.
DIY Hot Water Bottle
Karla had a great tip for keeping warm during cold nights. Use your camp stove to boil some water. Pour the water in your nalgene water bottle (don’t use an insulated bottle…you want the heat to release). Nalgene is a great option because it’s tough, trail tested and BPA free…so no need to worry when adding hot water. Screw the lid on tight, check the seal and place your warm bottle at the bottom of your sleeping bag. BOOM! DIY hot water bottle!
Skip the Dishes
One of my least favorite parts about camping is doing the dishes. Without a proper sink, soap and hot water it’s hard to get your dishes truly clean….and devoid of your last meals flavors. To solve the last meal taste, make your pack lighter and decrease dishes they recommended “cooking” your freeze dried meals right in the pouch they come in. Just pour the hot water in and stir. Karla also recommended saving the bag to use for other foods that don’t come in packaging you can add hot water to (like ramen noodles).
The Long Spoon
Speaking of cooking your food in the freeze dried food bag. This tip really spoke to me and my “indoorsy-ness”. It can be hard to stir your freeze dried meal in that big bag with a regular sized spoon. Your hand ends up inside the bag and suddenly you have beef stroganoff all over everything. The solution is this long spoon! It’s so simple, but as soon as she said it a light bulb went off for me.
If you’re not familiar with the 52 Hike Challenge be sure to click through to find out how communing with nature helped founders Karla and Philip changed their lives and inspired thousands of people to do the same. Their stories are pretty amazing.
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