10 Essential NH Hiking Hacks and Tips
New Hampshire offers many hiking opportunities. In the White Mountain National Forest alone there are several mountains and trails that reach mountain peaks as high as 4,000 feet. The trail on Mount Eisenhower and Mount Pierce covers 7.4 miles and is the oldest maintained trail in the country. A bigger challenge comes on the 14.2 mile trail through the wilderness between Mount Garfield and Galehead Mountain. You can pick these, other organized hikes, or start a more epic journey through the mountains. No matter what you choose, it’s important that you are prepared. These tips will help you get the most out of your hike.
- Be flexible with your tent set up. There is more than one way to pitch a tent. Sometimes you need full covering, especially if you are staying in a spot overnight, but for shorter stops or times when space is limited you can still provide protection from the elements with folds such as the A-Frame, Basic Arch, or Half Box. On longer hikes, you can even fold your tent to recreate a shower curtain to assist in clean up.
- Use Biodegradable Trail Marking Tape. No matter how well you think you know a trail, it might not be the same as you remember. Trail marking tape will help keep you safe should you venture off the beaten path, and will keep the earth safe as well when it eventually becomes part of the soil.
- Consolidate Essentials. There are many ways you can carry essential items efficiently by storing them differently than you normally would. Spices can be wrapped in plastic wrap and secured in a candy tube or old pill bottle. A mini first aid kit with a few bandages and ointment can travel in a similar container. Duct tape has many potential uses on the trail. It can be used to cover blisters, patch a hole in the tent, or be used for tick removal. It can also be taken off the roll and wrapped around your water bottle or lighter to make better use of space. Eating utensils can be attached to a key ring in order to take up less room and remain accessible.
- Enhance Protection Against Water. The fact that your raincoat was designed to wear in the rain doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its limits. A quick spray with waterproof spray will make it that much more reliable should the clouds surprise you. Matches are another thing you don’t want to be ruined by getting wet. A coating of shellac can give them extra life if they happen to take an accidental dip.Coat Raincoat with extra water protection and put shellac over matches so they will still work when wet.
- Keep your backpack in order. There is a right way and a wrong way to pack your backpack, and disorder can lead to a lot of frustration. Normally, your sleeping bag and tent don’t need to be handy and should be stored near the bottom, while your camera, maps, and clothes should be near the top of the pack where they are easily accessible.
- Know potential poisons. The views on these New Hampshire hikes can be breathtaking, but the wilderness isn’t always kind. It’s important to memorize how poisonous plants look , especially poison ivy, oak, and sumac and take precautions to stay clear. It also helps to learn about spiders and insects you may encounter on your hike. Many are harmless, but it’s good to know the exceptions.
- Be aware of the daylight. You can cover ground better during the day hours, but your sense of time can easily get skewed when you’re on a hike. Your own hands are a great tool for measuring the distance between the sun and the horizon. Each finger width gives you fifteen minutes. One hand is an hour. It’s recommended that you give yourself at least two hours if you plan to make camp and stay the night.
- Dress for the Hike. Even in the summer it can get cool in the mountains, but it can also be quite warm. The “ready for anything” approach is best hear. In other words, dress in layers. Start with a base layer next to your skin that stays dry. This should not be cotton as it retains moisture and doesn’t insulate. Several synthetic fabrics including many polyesters will “wick away moisture,” At least one insulation layer of fleece, down, or wool will trap air next to your body, and an outer layer water repellent jacket will give you the weather protection you need.
- Use plastic bags for important items. For some losing their cell phone is a minor catastrophe. The same goes for your wallet. Anything that important needs to be in its own sealable plastic bag for protection.
- Know Your Knots. Boy Scouts earn badges for learning certain knots for a reason. They can come in handy when you need things to be a little easier, or if especially difficult circumstances occur, and survival becomes an issue. If you don’t have scouting knowledge on the tip of your brain you can get instructions for many useful knots at ProKnot.com.
After spending a few nights in the woods, you may want to treat yourself to a delicious dinner, shower, comfortable bed and jacuzzi tub. If you do choose to pamper yourself, please consider Stonehurst Manor, a hiker friendly North Conway Boutique Hotel. Tour our beautiful rooms and book a few nights following your hiking trip.