Skills & Techniques

What’s on My Pack

Susy Alkaitis - October 31, 2018

Stephens City, VA: We hike all the time and get a lot of questions about everything we keep on the outside of our daypacks. Check out this video for a tour of what Jessie keeps on her pack for every hike.

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Keep a bandana tied to your shoulder strap. You can use it for a runny nose, for a napkin, to tie your hair back or for first aid. (Not necessarily in that order, though.) Pro tip – on an overnight trip, you can use a bandana to strain your dishwater to keep animal-attracting food scraps off of the ground.

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Short hikes can turn into looonnnggg hikes if you get injured or lost. Packing extra water (and food) can keep a tough situation from turning into an emergency. Of course, water only helps if you’re actually drinking it, so the easier it is to access, the better. A magnet system makes it easy to grab your hydration hose and drink consistently while hiking.

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Wildlife have better things to do than hang out while we dig for our cameras in our packs, so keeping your camera close is a must for getting good shots. We keep our cameras handy by using a clip system that attaches them to our shoulder straps. Getting too close to animals can scare them away from food and water sources, and can cause them to leave their young, so a zoom lens is key.

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The best way to have a safe hike is to research the trail beforehand by checking websites, guidebooks and talking to rangers. If you do find yourself in an emergency, though, a whistle is a great tool. To call for help, give three blasts lasting three seconds each. (Jessie keeps one more in her pocket, too, just in case she gets separated from her pack.)

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Pee rag? Yep, it’s a thing. You can use a clean bandana or a specially made product like these. Jessie was a skeptic for a long time and now loves them. Because toilet paper doesn’t biodegrade quickly and can really ruin a scenic view, we recommend packing out t.p. or burying it in a 6-8 inch cathole, which you’re usually not digging for most quick pee breaks. But if you use a pee rag, you don’t have to worry about packing t.p. in or out. And, YES, pee rags really do dry quickly when tied to the outside of your pack.

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Any trash bag is better than none, but having a reusable trash bag that’s always ready to go on our backpacks makes it even easier to pack out our trash to throw away later and to pick up any litter we find on the trail. Want a Deuter Dirtbag of your own? Become a Leave No Trace member!

What do you keep on YOUR pack? Let us know!

Enjoy Your World. Leave No Trace.

Jessie and Matt

Leave No Trace's Jessie Johnson and Matt Schneider are part of the 2018 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, REI, Eagles Nest Outfitters, Deuter, Thule, and Klean Kanteen.




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