Though the concept of backpacking is simple (walk a ways, set up a tent, eat, sleep, repeat), there are a myriad of little things that can take your trip from good to great. Though there’s no replacement for simply getting out there to discover what works best for you, this list of tips and tricks will give you a head start on the path to backpacking greatness.

Get Real-Time Trail Info from Fellow Hikers

Learn from those who have gone before and ask people passing you about upcoming trail conditions, campsites and water sources. You may get insights about an epic hidden spot, a waterless stretch you need to be prepared for or advice about a confusing trail junction.

Backpacker on a trail

Pack Extra Maps for Good Karma

Just because you’re always carrying the Ten Essentials (right?), that doesn’t mean others are as well-prepared. Print extra paper maps and pass them out to those folks who inevitably ask, “Do you know where we are?” Who knows, you might be rewarded with some super-secret trail info (see Tip #1).

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