If you’ve been smitten by hiking and all you can think about is your next trip, it’s time to rearrange your life to maximize your hiking time. Here are a few hiking and backpacking hacks to help you on your way.
1. Replace your entire wardrobe with hiking clothes.
If putting on your hiking clothes helps get you in the mood for hiking, go ahead and put them on all the time. No one will know that you’re wearing your hiking outfit at work, unless you’ve camped overnight in the woods behind your office park!
2. Dehydrate all leftovers so you always have backpacking meals ready.
If you have leftovers at dinner or from a takeout, don’t put them into the refrigerator. Pop them into your dehydrator and bag them up for your next backpacking or camping trip. Have it your way!
3. Plan trips well in advance so you can go when conditions are right.
Bored at work? Plan a day hike or a backpacking trip. There are lots of free online mapping tools like Caltopo.com that you can use over the internet. Collaborative editing, free online storage and sharing are also provided, so you can plan a half-dozen trips or more in advance.
4. Keep your backpack packed so you can leave at a moment’s notice.
Can’t go for a weekend trip because you don’t have enough time to get ready? Keep a backpack packed at all times for a one night overnight trip so you’ll never miss an opportunity for a quick trip. Just add more ramen and cliff bars if you want to stay out longer.
5. Get a seasonal job. Become a ski patroller like Justin Lichter.
Work for six months and hike for six months. Construction, tax preparation, teaching, and snow plowing are all seasonal jobs you can do in the off-season, so you can backpack when the hiking is good.
6. Schedule business meetings at mountain huts.
Take your clients or business partners hiking in the mountains. They’ll be amazed by the view and you’ll still reap the rewards. Plus you can deduct the expenses and driving mileage on your taxes.
7. Take the commuter train to work
City living is for the birds. Move closer to the trail so you can hike whenever you want, but still commute into town when you have to make an appearance at work. Many commuter lines also have wireless, so you can start your work day early and maximize your time on the train, instead of sitting in traffic.
8. Fill your winter hiking hot water bottles at a gas station on the way to the trail.
There’s no need to get up an hour early before a winter hike to boil hot water for your water bottles. Just pull in at a convenience store or gas station that sells coffee and fill up your water bottles with 200 degree water, straight from the coffee machine. They don’t mind.
9. Accumulate frequent flier miles with small airlines
The big airlines don’t fly directly to the places you want to go. Make friends with bush and float plane pilots and start racking up those frequent flier miles.
10. Spend some time on a trail crew. Become a trail steward.
Spend some time giving back to the trail by helping perserve it for other hikers to enjoy. You’d be surprsied at how fulfilling trail work can be and how much it will increase your appreciation of the time you spend hiking.