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This is a compilation of hiking tips that have appeared on the home page of PA Hikes. I hope you find these usefull and beneficial when you go hiking. If you have any tips to share, please feel free to email them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Not only will we add your hiking tip to this page, but you'll also see it on our home page.

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Chances are when you purchased your new tent it didn’t come with a ground cloth. The material used for the flooring of most tents is a little heavier and more rugged than the fabric used for the tent walls. But you’ll get many more years of use from your tent if you use a ground cloth as well, protecting your tent from sticks and stones.

Not only does a ground cover help extend the life of your tent, it also helps keep you dry, especially during all day soakers or very heavy downpours. You will need to make sure that the edges of the cloth are folded under your tent to prevent rain from being funneled under it. Even better yet, cut the ground cloth a few inches smaller than the tent floor to elimnate the need to fold.

Your ground cloth will surely get damp as it will be between you and the ground. Just like your tent, you will need to make sure you dry your ground cloth thoroughly. If possible, dry it before you pack up and leave camp, and at the very least, make sure you dry it as soon as you get home.

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With fall here and winter just around the corner, nothing can make an overnight backpacking trip less enjoyable than having the wrong sleeping bag.

Most sleeping bags sold today come with a temperature raiting. You should only take the rating as a suggestion and not an absolute value. Also, only compare temperature ratings within a manufacturer’s line: a 25 degree rating for one manufacturer may be a 35 degree rating for another.

Mummy style sleeping bags are the warmest style sleeping bags available because they have less air inside to heat. You can also pull the hood over your head to help warm the interior of the bag and retain your body heat.

And finally, don’t forget about your sleeping pad. The warmest sleeping bag will do you no good if you don’t have an insulating barrier between you and the cold ground. During the coldest months consider using two open celled sleeping pads stacked on top of each other.

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Here are a couple tips on starting a fire when you are hiking.

  • If it has recently rained or is raining, look for dead limbs and wood still attached to a tree. It will be much drier than dead wood laying on the ground.
  • Look for a fallen birch tree or a dead birch tree where the bark is falling off. Birch bark is great for starting a fire even if it’s somewhat damp.
  • Take along some cotton balls lubed up with petroleum jelly. Keep them in a ziplock baggy and use one to start your next fi
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Duct tape, in my opinion, is the best invention ever made and a "must-take-accessory" when I go hiking. This durable, adhesive tape is strong enough to hold almost anything together and is "water-proof" enough to get you out of potentially wet situations, such as a leaky tent.

A tip given to me a while back is to wrap some duct around your water bottle. It’s easily accessible, you know exactly where it is, and it doesn’t take up space in your pack.

My favorite use for duct tape: blisters. Instead of using mole skin when you develop a blister, put a piece of duct tape on your foot, covering the blister. You can also put a piece of tape on the offending spot inside your boot as well. This quick fix will keep your blister from getting worse and will see you through to the end of your hike.

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Want to get years of enjoyment from your tent? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Seal Your Seems - Make sure you seal all of your seems. Once you apply the seem sealer, let it dry for 24 hours, and then set up your tent under a water sprinkler. Even if the manufacturer says that you don’t need to seal the seems, test your tent just to make sure.
  • Dry Your Tent - As soon as you get home, hang your tent or set it up inside until it is 100% dry. This prevents mildew which will cause your tent to stink and also remove the water-repellant coating.
  • Don’t Stuff a Wet Tent - If you can avoid it, hang your wet tent and allow it to dry before stuffing it in it’s sack. If you can’t avoid stuffing it wet, make sure you remove it and dry it as soon as possible.
  • Use a Ground Cloth - This will prevent wear and tear on the floor of the tent. Make sure the ground cloth is just slightly smaller than the tent foot print to avoid water channeling underneath the tent if it rains.