Essential Trail Skills? - CH Season 2

Annie and Matt Zion Narrows

What are the most important backpacking skills that you'd like to see covered in CleverHiker season 2? 

Since the launch of our ultralight backpacking video series, we've been actively seeking feedback on our content. Responses have been overwhelmingly positive and viewers have given us great suggestions about future content. We want to make sure that we focus future seasons on the most valuable information for backpackers of all levels. Many supporters have suggested that we do a season focused on essential backpacking skills. We think that's a fantastic idea!

If you'd be willing to share your opinion, we'd love your help. Today we created a rough draft outline (very rough indeed) with some of the topics that we'd like to address in future CleverHiker content. There  are whole bunch of topics listed below and it's doubtful that we'll be able to cover all of them properly in one video series. That being said, if we know what's most important, we can put our effort in the right place. Anything that we can't fit into season 2 can be covered in future video series and blog posts. So take a look at the list and let us know what you think.

Comments are currently unavailable on our blog (we're working to fix that), so we'd love to hear your input through our Facebook page. 

Which topics are good? Which topics are unnecessary?  Which topics are we missing?

Thanks again for all of your support and thank you for your input. Your opinion is very important to us!

Take care and talk soon, 

Dave Collins

Essential Trail Skills

(? marks a questionable topic) 

1) Trip Planning?

     a. Fitness and training

     b. Gear checklists

     c. Important planning factors

2) Navigation

     a. Maps

          i. Types of maps

          ii. How to read a map

     b. How to use map & compass (orienteering)

     c. Common navigation mistakes

     d. What to do when lost

          i. How to get found

          ii. Essential Priorities when lost


               1. Decision making

               2. Water

               3. Food

               4. Shelter

     e. GPS Units

3) General backpacking skills

     a. How to pack a backpack?

     b. Selecting a campsite site

          i. Sleeping area

          ii. Cooking area

          iii. Food storage

     c. Protecting your food

          i. Helps protect wildlife

          ii. Food cleanup (cooking)

     d. Estimating hiking times

     e. Finding water – staying hydrated

     f. Trail Hygiene

          i. Cleaning yourself

          ii. Cleaning your clothes

          iii. Bathroom breaks

     g. Leave no trace backpacking

4) Fire Skills

     a. General fire tips & safety

     b. Starting a fire without matches

     c. Making a fire in the rain

5) Hazardous, animals, plants, and insects

     a. Bears

     b. Snakes

     c. Mountain lions?

     d. Insects – mosquitoes & ticks

     e. Poisonous plants – ivy & oak

6) Extreme Conditions

     a. Hiking in rain

     b. Hiking on snow and ice

     c. Desert Hiking

     d. Fording rivers

     e. High altitude backpacking?

     f. Winter camping?

     g. Severe weather

          i. Lightning danger

          ii. High winds?

          iii. Low visibility?

7) Essential survival skills

8) Essential wilderness first-aid?

9) Safety/Emergency situations

     a. Out of water

     b. Out of food

     c. Possible medical problems (most common) 

     d. Hypothermia

10) Useful Backpacking Knots

11) Gear repair and maintenance?

12) Health and body care?

     a. Stretching etc?

     b. Taking care of your feet

13) Hiking at night?