Mom Goes Camping

14 Expert-Level Backpacking Hacks

backpacking hacks

Want to cut weight from your pack? Use less fuel? Or make meal cleanup easier when backpacking and hiking? Here are just some of the cool backpacking hacks I’ve picked up which will make your trip easier.


1. Turn Softshell Jacket into Pillow

No need to bring a pillow backpacking when you can just use your jacket! This method creates a perfect pillow which stays in place.

turn jacket into pillow no title


2. Use Boot as Coffee Cup Holder

As a bonus, it will also keep your coffee hot longer.

backpacking hack boot as coffee cup holder


3. Scrub Pots with Grass

For all you ultralight backpackers who don’t want to bring a sponge, just use grass to scrub your cook pots clean.  Also read: How to do dishes backpacking.

backpacking hack scrub with grass


4. Use Your Sleeping Bag Stuff Sack As a Day Bag

Need to do chores near camp but don’t want to take your giant pack? Use your stuff sack for carrying things instead.

backpacking hack use stuff sack for day pack


5. Make Clothespins Out of Branches Sticks

Got wet clothes which you need to hang? Use a knife to cut a wick branch partially down the middle to create a clothespin.

backpacking hack make clothespins


6. Use a Fisherman’s Knot to Tie Cord Together

Rope too short? You can use the double or triple fisherman’s knot to tie two pieces of cord together. The knot is stupidly easy, very secure and can be undone easily too.

fishermans knot for tying two ropes together


7. Keep Extra Hair Bands On Your Water Bottle.

Trust me, you’ll need them for things like closing food baggies!

backpacking hack hair bands


8. Pre-Soak Pasta Before Cooking to Save Fuel

This also helps you calculate exactly how much water you need for cooking.

camping hack pre soak pasta


9. Use Your Pack Rain Cover for Hanging Food

Then you don’t need to bring a separate waterproof bag for the food.  *This pic is a critter hang, not a bear bag hang.

backpacking hack hanging critter bag with rain cover


10. Utilize Straps to Hang Wet Things Outside Your Pack

Your pack probably has a lot of straps.  Make use of them!

camping hack wet clothes off of backpack


11. Line Your Bowl with a Tortilla.

It makes dishes cleanup easier!



12. Hold Your Finger In the Middle of the Bag to Pour Out Half

Measuring out half of the powdered milk in this baggie.


13. Eat Cookie Crumbs with a Spoon

Your cookies will end up all smashed in the bottom of the snack bag.  Eat them up for dessert with a spoon.

camping hack spoon to eat cookie crumbs

14. Plan Trip Around Water

You won’t have to carry as much water while you hike, meaning your pack will be a LOT lighter.

filtering water while backpacking

Image credit: Triple Fishermans Knot by Hadron137, CC Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

About the author /

Diane Vukovic grew up camping and backpacking in upstate New York. Now, she takes her own daughters on wilderness adventures so they can connect with nature and learn resiliency. With dozens of trips under her belt, Diane is an expert in minimalist camping, going lightweight, planning, and keeping her kids entertained without screens.

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