Thru-Hiking Tricks of the Trade


—– Gear/Stuff I mentioned in this Video! —–

ThermaRest Z-Seat (AssPad) –

DIY CookPouch & Cozy –

AWOL AT Guide –

Thru-Hiker Companion –

AT Gear List –

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*** Gear Used to Shoot this Video! ***

– Camera –
Canon EOS T6i –

– Lense –
Canon EFS 24mm –

– Sound –
TakStar Shotgun Mic –

– TriPod –
Targus 360 Trigger Tripod –

——- Music By: Thunder/Dreamer ——–

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47 comments

  • Most hands animated video ever!

  • ZD

    10:00 – does anybody know if this 'box bounce' works for free in the UK as well? I've never heard of it with Post Offices/Royal Mail. Thanks

  • Use acrylic glow-in-the-dark paint and mark your earbuds, night lamp, phone, cooking pot handle and whatever you feel can get a bit lost when it gets dark.

  • Brilliant idea with the duct tape on the hiking poles! I was just trying to come up with an idea to deal with that problem!

  • I take pictures of the relevant / important pages of my guide books with my phone and just use the pics on the trail. No bulky book to bring along!

  • TP Coins/ pills. Small individually wrapped and expand into nice small towels. You get them wet to expand them and they clean you up much better and are much much lighter than toilet paper and not near as bulky.

  • I have never carried books. I always carry a pdf on a kindle or on my phone. I anyway carry a 20K mAH battery bank to charge my phones and gps devices.

  • I would like thoughts from everybody on this. I am new to long distance hiking and am in the very early stages of planning my first thru hike of the AT. One of the things I'm wondering about is hiking boots. I have very flat feet so I always have a hard time finding boots that are comfortable. And yes I need the extra support of the boots rather than the shoes. I also wear the special inserts. I am a little concerned about my boots wearing out and not being able to find something comfortable along the trail. I was considering buying several pair of boots, and inserts, before I leave and asking a family member to ship them. I would call/text them a couple of weeks before I needed them and tell them where to ship to. Hopefully that will also save $$$ as boots along the trail might cost more.

    I also had a question about hiking boots vs backpacking boots. I have looked a little at both. And the backpacking boots seem to be much more expensive. Is it worth the extra money? Would they actually last much longer on a thru hike rather than just regular hiking boots?

    Thoughts? Thanks in advance!

  • Darwin, it would be very interesting for you to consider doing a large section of a hike going all vegan. (I’ve been one for 30+ years and sectioned hiked 1,700 of the AT. I believe u would be amazed at the difference. We also avoid all processed oils, hence never need to soap your pots. Obviously you would need to try it out for say 3-4 weeks at he prior to a hike. Prob the number one go to site would be Nutritionfacts org, 2,000 + videos. I’m constantly experimenting but generally make all my own food. My off trail diet consists of about 75% unrefined starchy (carbohydrate) foods. I just add lots more raw nuts n no sugar added dried fruits. I also trail run have very good health, take zero meds have no family doctor. I’m 66 wife also dropped 56+ lbs in 8 months (drmcdougall com is a doc we’ve followed for 30 years The Starch Solution). I really Enjoy ur videos 👍🏽👍🏻👍👍🏿🌈🌍✌🏽

  • 1) Weight in the hands or feet is twice as heavy, because they travel twice the distance. Carrying tape on trekking-pole is the least efficient place to carry it. Cut a piece of fat straw (eg McDonalds), roll tape onto straw and carry it in your pack if you want to at least look like you know what you're doing out there? 3) Food: Use bulk freeze-dried for most staples (meat, beans…), instead of rationing so carefully? Freeze-dried is roughly one-tenth the weight of regular food and less than half the weight of most grocery trail-food. That way you always carry less weight and never run short?

    4) Eat heavy food first – obvious. 5) Use Twinline Flosser's for teeth and sewing-thread for sewing. Seam-seal won't stick well to waxed floss and eventually, you'll want to seam-seal patches. A few yards of #70 Gutterman's thread weighs one-gram (1/28th oz) and will be worth the (same) time spent sewing, because it's a permanent fix. 8) Use a bidet, instead of TP. Bidet cleans everything (salt, dust, etc,) and leaves nothing behind. No carry-out mess either. 10) Phones are lighter than guides.

  • I never split a small hotel room with 11 other people in South Padre before but if I did I would only have like two people at the front desk with checking in.

  • s k

    s k

    1 second ago

    In the camping sundries aisle of the store, you can usually find mini rolls of duct tape that don't have a center. The roll is only about 3/4 inch diameter and has a few yards of duct tape. Very handy to carry and you don't have to worry about the tape weathering on your trek pole.

  • Hey Darwin, Can we get an update on this list? Anything new you have learned?

  • A small tube of super glue can be very handy for repairs.

  • In Wyoming we called tp mountain money. Does any one else use that slang?

  • Instead of a big heavy book carry a.kindle. Then you can carry hundreds of books, guides etc. But also downloaded movies.

  • Will gaffers tape work for repairs? I ask as it is easier to remove and is not as sticky. I use it on stage to tape down cables. Just a question. Thanks

  • Another way to carry duct tape. Take one empty toilet paper roll and wrap with duct tape. Two wraps work. Then shove a towel or small piece of clothing into the roll that will compress that you normally carry in your pack. Takes about the same space as the clothing. Or maybe stuff your first aid stuff inside the roll. Just another thought.

  • "Moving to Montana soon, going to be a dental floss tycoon." Frank Zappa, 1973

  • My wife is from Thailand where toilet paper is sold in individually packaged rolls. In Thailand, TP is used to (obviously) wipe your ass, but also in place of tissues and paper towels. So when my wife and I did our first road trip around Isaan region of Thailand, she picked up a roll of TP, poked her finger in one end of the plastic wrap, pulled out the cardboard roll from the center and the TP followed the roll, leading to a self dispensing setup. Clever little siamese lady. I just re-roll my TP into a smaller roll and keep it in a soft sunglasses case with my TentLab Deuce trowel rubber banded to it.

  • Hey Darwin, I'm just curious if you have ever done some fishing while you're out on the trail. If so, I would like to see if you had any specific recommendations for an ultralight fishing rod. Please get back to me. Blessings to you on the trail!

  • I think you really like saying "ass pad"

  • As a former Girl Scout I remember making a "sit-upon" with rolled newspaper and contact paper — the original "ass pad"!

  • I use a slightly larger ass pad to serve as a door mat for the tent. I'm old and make a couple "trips" each night. Really handy to roll out on the clean cushion. Keeps the tent clean.

  • Another great hack is to pour hot water in your meal pouch, seal it up to cook, and use it as a heat pad while your food cooks. Feels great on back and legs!

  • I scanned the CT Guide and loaded the PDF to my phone, along with my shopping food list and main water stops/campsite list. Too easy.

  • Shit tickets lol. Use baby wipes you nutter!! Loved the tips though. 👍

  • Further to the numbering of your food bags I have green, yellow and red stuff sacks like a traffic light,which represent all my breakfasts, lunches and dinners so I only unpack what I need. I have a whitish one where I put all the crap like medication, repellant, light that I may need at night. It helps me break camp quicker in the morning. My arse pad goes under my pillow.

  • D…. please tell me what info you put on your po box when you don't know what date you will be at the next town…. name, ….. what info… Bloomington mn

  • Holy shit. I saw in in your Georgia picture! I met him in 2014!

  • When hiking with a book: Take an Ebook or fotograph the pages with your phone.

  • Take a piece of Reflectex and cut it into the small shape of your body. This is one of the most versatile equip pieces you can carry. Weighs about 4 oz. Uses: Replaces sit pad by performing all those functions PLUS…..Place inside sleeping bag/quilt on top if you to create extra warmth on cold nights. Like having your own personal heater. (Replaces heavier bag/bag liner, heavier clothing).
    Can be used under sleeping pad to protect from punctures on rough/poky ground. Use it under bag for cowboy camping.
    Instant shade in exposed treeless areas by rigging it to trekking poles/bush/backpack creating your own shade to rest under.
    Water proof and wind proof uses.
    And so many more uses and weighs so little.

  • Ty

    who gets the hotel bed?

  • Hey Darwin,,
    ,,,,swamp gal here,,,
    ,i use the winshild cover as a sitts pad cuz its long & can stretch my.legs out & can set my pack on it & when ya stop to eat ya can set your food down on it ,&or if ya want to put your feet up a tree ,,its great ta lay on & i put it under my sleeping bag as an insulater from the ground,,,double duty,,

  • I use foam from the packing material when I bought my laptop computer. It is ultra light does not absorb water and the best part it was free. It is about an inch thick and you can cut it to size.

  • On the hiker guide one, instead of tearing out pages as I go, I just make copies of the pages I need to start (because I'm one of those book lovers who can't bring herself to tear pages out of a book) and carry them with me. I put the other copies of pages I'll need in the future into my resupply boxes. That way I can recycle the old pages (or burn them) when I don't need them any more and don't have to carry the whole dang book. I also take pictures of the pages on my phone and keep them in a file there, just in case something should happen to my printed copies.

  • Darwin, Bury or Carry out your TP??

  • I started with $0 and hiked over 1000 miles of the AT this year. I played harmonica in town for food. So I would reccomend an instrument even if your not good at it the trail is a good place to learn.

  • Dez

    ASSPAD is by the far the best purchase I've ever made aside from the essentials lol….thanks to you

  • Some goods tips and some I was already using. The food for each day in a bag. Love the ass pad

  • Great tips, not sure some of the Scottish hotels would like 6 hikers in a hotel room. 😂
    I take photos with my phone of guide books so its all on my phone.

  • Ripping pages out of a book, that is horrible 😛 I wonder if they carry windshield screens up here. Usually we want cars to warm up in the sun instead of sitting on cold hard seats. Actually if you used a kindle paperwhite. It is lightweight and you can have many books on it. Have your cake and…

  • Since I need to redeem myself and save face: If you use an alcohol stove, sleep with the fuel when it's cold. Your stove will preheat and bloom much more quickly in the morning. Filtering water the night before and sleeping with it will make it boil much more quickly, especially if you heated it near the previous night's campfire (I carry a stainless single-walled bottle for that purpose in cold weather). Wait until the bottle cools before putting it in a cozy or socks, so you don't damage them. Actually, sleeping with any fuel (except fuel tabs) will make your stove more efficient in the morning. Use solid fuel tabs? A dab of hand sanitizer or drop of alcohol (I carry a small bottle of Isopropyl for hand sanitizer and medical use) gets the tab started quickly, as will a square of toilet paper, paper trash, birch bark, etc.

  • Oops, replied to an ad! Duh! 😒

  • If the drone is stable (adjective) in flight, it flies stabLY (adverb). Adjectives describe things, adverbs describe actions. I am impressed with your device, but not your advertising. Hire a proofreader. 😒

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