10 Things To Do When You Can't Go Hiking

10 Things To Do When You Can't Go Hiking

Maybe the weather is horrid. Maybe you're stuck at home all day waiting for the plumber. Maybe you broke your leg. But you've got hiking on your mind. Luckily, there are some hiking-related activities you can do that can soothe your craving for the trail when you just can't get out. Here are a few ideas ...

1. Give your gear some TLC

Now is a good time to re-proof your leaky rain jacket, wash that grimy sleeping bag, or waterproof your worn-out boots. Nikwax offers a huge selection of products to clean and restore all of your outdoor softgoods.  Other ideas: sharpen your knives, check the O-rings on your stoves, inspect the seam seals on your tent, replace the batteries in your headlamp, etc.

2. Reduce your pack weight

Gather all the sundries you normally carry and see where you can shave a few ounces either by eliminating gear, or modifying it, or upgrading to lighter versions. There are always a few ways to lighten your pack. And remember, grams add up to ounces and ounces add up to pounds.

3. Read a book

There are too many good ones to name, but I find reading a good outdoor-related book can almost transport me to the woods and inspire me to seek out new adventures for the future. Ask friends on Facebook or hiking group members for their recommendations. And turn it into a project. Keep a notebook with you while you read to jot down ideas you can refer back to later. Who knows, the right book may inspire your next epic adventure!

4. Practice your knots

It's true that you can get by with a fairly small number of knots in the backcountry, but it builds confidence and just makes you feel more outdoorsy when you're armed with a good repertoire. Check out Animated Knots for hundreds of ties for just about every conceivable situation.

5. Get botanical! 

Learn about plant and tree identification and wild edibles. Amaze your fellow hikers with your Cliff Claven-like knowledge of botanical minutia along the trail. Some good apps include PlantSnap (for iOS), and PictureThis (for Android).

6. Learn bushcraft skills

While you might never make it to Naked and Afraid, it doesn't hurt to know some basic survival skills just in case things ever go south. There are tons of survival and bushcraft resources online such as Modern Survival, Survival Life, and Survival Sherpa. And of course, Youtube has plenty of videos on specific skills. So get out in the backyard and practice your bow-drill technique!

7. Test out new trail recipes 

They say, "everything tastes better when you're camping." But anyone who's ever emerged starving from a cold tent in the morning only to endure watery rehydrated eggs with crunchy green pepper flakes knows this isn't true. Get the book Freezer Bag Cooking or visit the website Trail Recipes for a raft of recipes that are tested, tasty, and lightweight.

8. Build a DIY alcohol stove

They're not only fun to make, but it's rewarding to know you cooked a meal on a stove you built yourself. Plus, it will help you out with #2. A great resource for getting started is Zen Stoves. But be warned ... alcohol stove building is highly addictive!

9. Get organized

Get some plastic bins or storage drawers from Home Depot and organize your gear into logical categories so you're not desperately sifting through a pile of gear looking for your headlamp at the last minute before your next trip. Label each drawer: "Hydration", "Gear Repair", "Tools & Knives", "Fire Starting", "Maps", "Cookware", "Hygiene", "Stoves & Fuel", etc. Then, sit back and bask in your anal-retentive glory.

10. Restock staples

Check your first-aid kit to make sure it still has enough bandages and aspirin. Does your waterproof match case still have matches in it? How are you doing on fuel? Check your stock of every consumable you regularly carry. Also check out Minimus to resupply your backcountry kitchen with trail-sized packages of your favorite condiments.

Just because you can't crunch gravel on the trail, doesn't mean you have to sit home and wallow in hiker's block. With a little imagination, you can still have some fun while getting yourself even better prepared for your next outing.

Any other ideas? Post them in the comments below ...


10 Things To Do When You Can't Go Hiking 10 Things To Do When You Can't Go Hiking Reviewed by Jason Klass on August 28, 2018 Rating: 5

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