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40 Backpacking Comfort Ideas
To Keep You Smiling

By Diane Spicer

Stay comfortable during your backpacking trip with these 40 tips from Hiking For Her. #backpacking #backpackingcomfort #bestbackpackingtips #hikingtips #backpacking #womenbackpackers

Backpacking is tough work, there's no denying that fact.

These 40 backpacking comfort ideas?

Not so tough!

Try a few of them on your next hiking trip to keep your internal comfort dial in "enjoying life" territory!

And let's make things easy.

We'll break these tips up into 8 categories, 5 tips per category, so you can navigate around to the ones that call out to you most:

Navigation tip:

See that blue TOP button over on the right? Jet back up to this list for more choices. Or use the search box at the top of the page to locate more backpacking tips.

Heads up!

Hiking For Her always does a thorough job of delivering tips to you, because those 5 decades of trail experience have to go somewhere.

This page is no exception.

Bookmark it.

Come back later to use all of the links leading to more tips, and more tips ... the trail goes ever onward, and so do these trustworthy hiking ideas :)

Time to get some comfort ideas rolling!

Backpacking comfort ideas
for a chilly morning trail

Whether you're starting out at a trailhead, or have just crawled out of a tent, your body is going to protest a little at the chilly AM conditions.

In fact, your muscles aren't warmed up, your head prickles at the cold breeze, and you might want to stuff your hands in your pockets and rethink this whole backpacking thing.

Don't despair! Here are 5 fixes for the chilly morning trail blues:

  1. Stoke your internal furnace with tempting carbohydrates for breakfast, something creamy with a chewy mouthfeel like oatmeal with dried fruit and walnuts. More satisfying backpacking food ideas here.
  2. Add warming herbs to your breakfast, like cinnamon. Or select a warming backpacking tea from these tips.
  3. Cover your head as soon as you step out of your car or tent so that cold breeze doesn't lead to tight neck muscles and an unnecessary headache. Trailworthy hiking hats here.
  4. Get moving! Resist the urge to sit in one spot and bemoan your chilly fate. There are camp or trailhead chores to do, and the sooner you tackle them, the sooner you'll feel warmer.
  5. Remember your purpose. You're out here because you're an intrepid backpacker, and you're ready to face whatever conditions the trail offers you. That includes the damp morning chill. You're tougher than a bit of chill!

Backpacking comfort ideas
for heat and humidity

Nothing saps strength and motivation faster than high humidity and its best friend, high temperatures.

But there are steps you can take as a backpacker to make yourself as comfortable as possible.

  1. Choose moisture wicking, breathable and lightweight hiking clothing with fabrics designed to pull sweat off your skin and release it into the air. Here are hiking clothing tips.
  2. Prevent chafing, rather than deal with it after it occurs, by using a product like BodyGlide.
  3. Always wear a backpack with a ventilation system, usually a webbing or mesh design to keep the pack away from your sweaty back. Backpacking pack tips begin here.
  4. Build some nap time into your plans. Ride out the heat of the day in a shady spot and relish the fact that you'll roll into your campsite in the cool of evening.
  5. Humidty brings out the worst in people, so cut your buddies and yourself some slack when the snark shows up. And let harsh words go in the heat of the moment (see what just happened there?).

Backpacking comfort ideas
for afternoon hot trails

Afternoon is a dangerous time for a backpacker: you've eaten lunch, you are still miles away from your destination, the bugs might be droning in your ears, and you're hot and sweaty.

So to stay comfortable, be pre-emptive after lunch to hang onto your comfort and motivation:

  1. Wear a bandanna or a Buff like one of these around your forehead or neck to mop up sweat. Any stream crossing or snow patch you cross is a perfect opportunity to soak it and put it back on.
  2. Take frequent water breaks, or use your backpacking hydration system, to keep your energy level high.
  3. Consume endurance hiking snacks like these.
  4. Adjust your hiking pace to account for your mid-afternoon dip in energy.
  5. Watch for signs of heat related illness, using these tips.

Backpacking comfort ideas
for wet conditions

Embrace the fact that rain happens to every backpacker, if not this trip, then next time.

There are ways to not only make peace with wet trail conditions, but actually enjoy them.

Here are 5 tips for staying comfortable on a wet trail:

  1. Don't skimp on rain gear if you want to stay comfortable when wet. Good choices are waiting for you here.
  2. Identify your personal yuck factor and keep that area of your body as dry as possible. For some backpackers, it's head; for others, it's feet. Rainy day hiking tips here.
  3. Use a waterproof backpack so your camping gear and extra clothing stays dry.
  4. Waterproof hiking boots are tricky. Read those tips and select a pair to keep yourself comfortable when you're headed into "rain likely" terrain.
  5. Snack frequently, especially if you're not only wet but cold. Keeping your energy level high with these tips also keeps your motivation level high in clammy conditions.

Backpacking comfort ideas
for basecamp

You did it! You reached your destination and the backpack and boots come off.

But before you get too comfortable on that patch of dirt you plopped down on, get to a few basic chores so your comfort level remains high.

  1. Set up your tent before you do anything else. If the weather turns, or the bugs get (more) ferocious, you have a haven waiting for you.
  2. Set up your camp chair next. A backpacking chair may not be for everyone, but if you have back problems or just want to relieve the strain of sitting on a hard surface at camp, these chair tips are for you. Flexlite chairs come in many options, explained here.
  3. Re-hydrate as you do these two chores: sip water as you work, or glug some down before you get started. A solid backpacking hydration strategy depends on never saying "later" to your personal comfort.
  4. Now it's time to peel off your soggy, stinky shirt and wash your face. You'll feel so much better if you take just a few moments to do these things. Your backpacking hygiene kit will come in handy here.
  5. Bust out a few muscle relaxing moves: arms overhead, a few knee bends, some gentle side twists, or do some downward facing dogs and cat/cow poses. Investing a few minutes now will ward off stiffness later. Really! Feeling comfortable in your body can be that simple. More stretches here.

Backpacking comfort ideas
for tackling camp chores

Does the pairing of comfort and chores surprise you?

Try these 5 approaches to face inevitable camp chores while keeping your comfort level high at your backcountry campsite.

  1. Switch your footwear to camp shoes. Your feet have been confined in moist, dark and snug conditions, perfect breeding grounds for fungus. Air them out and let them relax in a pair of crocs like these.
  2. Have a plan. You've already set up your tent and chair, so what makes sense to tackle next? I'd vote for setting up your backpacking stove, but you should also decide where the group latrine is located or where a cathole can be dug.
  3. Treat surface water so you're comfortable with the idea of relying on it for good health. If you have to fetch it to your camp kitchen, use a durable, easy to carry bag like this one
  4. Prepare for tomorrow's breakfast tonight. That means having the water, pot with lid, and firestarter you need so you can get a hot beverage into your hands first thing in the morning.
  5. Always put your comfort level at the top of your chore list. If there are gear repairs to be made, do them while dinner is rehydrating. Then you can relax into your evening at camp, knowing that busted strap or missing grommet is fixed.

Backpacking comfort ideas
for setting up your camp kitchen

Food becomes a fixation after a few days out on the trail.

That's why your backpacking camp kitchen is ground central in keeping you comfortable and able to continue with your ambitious hiking plans.

Try these best practices for ensuring that your comfort and ease with preparing backpacking food is dialed in.

  1. Situate your stove in an easy to see spot where you have enough room for storing your supplies and moving around easily. Obvious, but often overlooked, leading to hiking injuries like burns.
  2. Decide who is the cook, who cleans up, who is exempt from kitchen duty tonight to avoid uncomfortable group dynamics. The "everyone helps" method leads to chaos.
  3. Have a system for your backpacking kitchen essentials, and lay out your supplies within easy reach.
  4. Doing dishes on a backpacking trip means clean fingernails! So get comfortable with the idea that a minimalist cleaning approach and your comfort go together.
  5. If you keep a clean camp, you're going to be a comfortable sleeper - no worries about critters crashing around at midnight. So lock up your food, scraps, garbage and smelly toiletries like toothpaste in a canister or critter proof container.

Backpacking comfort ideas
for inside your tent

After a strenuous day, followed by a nourishing meal, it's time for your body and mind to rest, rebuild and reset for the next day.

But lots of backpackers, maybe including you, have trouble sleeping.

These 5 ideas will help you get comfortable when it's time to rest.

  1. Have a nightly ritual to cue your body that the hard part of the day is over. Tips here.
  2. Dial in a customized backpacking sleep system: sleeping bag or backpacking quilt, pad, pillow and more. Tips here.
  3. Never sleep in stinky, damp, confining (think sports bra) or grubby clothing. A dedicated set of clean, dry sleep clothes is going to get you comfortable and relaxed.
  4. Mentally review the day and look at the map for tomorrow's itinerary before you settle into your comfy sleeping nest. 
  5. Let go of thoughts that keep you on the hamster wheel, preventing you from drifting off to sleep. An attitude of gratitude leads to a comfortable night's sleep. You're someplace special, in a strong hiking body. Hurrah!

Which backpacking comfort ideas
resonated with you?

Far too often I see backpackers working way too hard on the trail, looking uncomfortable at a campsite, or being stressed at a trailhead before heading off on an adventure.

Meticulous planning, great gear, trail smarts - all important. That's why they are in abundant supply on this website.

But it's smart to also pay attention to little things you can do to keep your comfort level high.

  • Because if you're uncomfortable or downright miserable, you're never going to backpack again. That idea makes me :(

That's why I offer you these 40 backpacking comfort ideas - because being sad makes me uncomfortable.

You, too, right?

May these tips lead to happy comfortable trails for you and your hiking buddies!

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40 Backpacking Comfort Ideas To Try