6 Tips for Hiking Without a Backpack

Man hiking on trail

Hiking is an excellent way to get some much-needed respite from the big cities, but it doesn’t have to be cumbersome. Have you ever had a backpack that was simply too heavy to continue hiking comfortably? We know the feeling.

Thankfully, there are some things you can do to make sure you’re carrying the right amount of items without even using a backpack. Does it sound like a foreign concept? We bet it does, but let’s dig into some tips that will help you elevate you’re hiking game.


If you are new to hiking, you have probably heard about the different types of hiking, like backcountry hiking and frontcountry hiking. What’s the difference between the two and which kind of hiking is for you? Read our article to learn more about the differences between backcountry and frontcountry hiking


Assess Your Belongings Before Embarking on a Hike

This may sound self-explanatory, but it’s easy to round up your belongings and think you will need all of them to go on a hike. You probably think about using them while being away, but if you have a set time for the hike, there’s a good chance you will already plan what you want to achieve on the trek.

That’s why it’s best to keep it to the basics with the following:

These are the most crucial things to carry on any hike. Will you really be stopping for a break to read a book? If not, leave it at home. To satisfy your needs, many outdoor jackets have plenty of pockets to keep the things you will need on your travels.


Prepare Food Before You Leave Home

If you’re not taking a backpack, you won’t be taking camping stoves or cooking items. You could whip up a sandwich or two from your home, put it in a sandwich bag, and wrap it in tin foil to keep it fresh for when you sit down to eat.

If you’re not a big eater while hiking, always make sure to have something protein-heavy to keep you energized. Dry roasted nuts, for instance, are a good option because the chances of them getting spoiled while hiking are slim. They come in a foil bag, don’t get smashed, and can fit in a pocket.

Here are some foods you could take with you:

  • Sandwich
  • Nuts
  • Cooked meat
  • Crackers
  • Cereal bars
  • Flapjack
  • Jerky

Salads, pasta, and curries are not good options, especially for carrying in a pocket. They’d be best in a Tupperware dish. These dishes probably wouldn’t fit in your pocket and would make you feel very uncomfortable while walking.

Instead, you want to make sure you are getting the most nutritious meal possible, especially if you walk for hours on end. You don’t want to be tired while hiking. That would take the fun out of it.


Nobody wants to experience a quick day hike trip with excessive weight on their shoulders, but sometimes you’ll feel better knowing that you’re prepared for anything that might happen during your hike. To help you prevent yourself from overpacking, read our article to learn how to pack for a day hike.


Scale Back the Items You Are Taking

When hiking, you need to be able to eat, clean, and be comfortable, should anything surprising pop up. You might be surprised to know that many things come in a travel format. For example, you can get this fold-up toothbrush. Nifty, right?

It will fit in a pocket much better than a standard toothbrush. Luckily, you can get smaller versions of many items you would typically take with you, including:

  • Collapsible bowls
  • Fold-up cutlery
  • A collapsible water bottle
  • A collapsible lantern
  • A collapsible phone charger

Simply put, if it’s collapsible or foldable, then it’s probably your best friend for hiking.


Don’t Skimp on the First -aid Items

If you want to travel light or without a backpack, the worst mistake you can make is leaving the first-aid items at home. We know it’s tough to carry everything, but you need to be prepared for anything to happen.

There’s no telling when disaster might strike, and having essential items to ensure your safety is the best foot forward. The items listed below should always be in your first-aid kit:

  • Plasters
  • Bandages
  • Gloves
  • A thermometer
  • Cleansing wipes
  • Gauze
  • Duct tape
  • Burn gel sachets
  • Scissors

Although it may seem like a lot, it really isn’t when you consider the size of the above items. You could put all of them in an envelope, fold them up, and put it away in a pocket. You need to be prepared.


Alternative Storage for Hiking

We know some people will want to take more items with them but not want to carry them. Fortunately, some solutions exist, but they do come with their share of caveats.

A popular option is fold-up trolleys, like the dBest Trolley Dolly. You can load it up with more items if, for example, you’re taking your kids with you and know they won’t be carrying anything. The beauty of a trolley is that you won’t be carrying it either, but instead, will be pulling it.

That’s a worthy trade-off for many and probably one of the best things beyond a backpack.

Also, although we’ve already spoken about jackets, this Flygo Casual Outdoor Cargo Vest
is an excellent option if you’re struggling to find a jacket with enough pockets.

These are just two alternatives. In the end, what you opt for depends on what the best option is for you. There are also trousers with more than your typical number of pockets, offering even more storage.


Looking for your next hiking destination? We recommend that you check out the Cloud’s Rest hike and Half Dome hike in Yosemite National Park. You can also hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.


Leave Heavier Items in the Car

We know the weather can also be a big issue, but another good tip is to judge it when you get to your jumping-off point. The weather may be bad on the way there, but if it clears up once you get there, you may not need the waterproof clothing.

Then again, if it is raining, you can leave the books or anything that might get damaged by adverse weather. You don’t want to be carrying what we can only describe as dead weight. There are some things you simply won’t be able to bring due to bad weather.


Have the Best Hike

These are just some of the tips you should take on board when considering hiking without a backpack. The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to the great outdoors, so you need to make sure you are not sacrificing certain items that you could ultimately wind up requiring.

The rule of thumb when hiking is to always consider the worst-case scenario. That way, you will be prepared and able to adapt to any scenario that may arise.

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