Stretching Tips for Backpacking and Hiking

Backpacking and hiking are two recreational pursuits that can be greatly improved by a little stretching. Most of us who wander into the forests and spend the night often wake to find stiff legs, sore backs, and a general feeling of soreness. While a pre and post hike stretch might not fix all of these problems, they certainly will not hurt. Here are some tips and ideas for backpacking and hiking stretches.

Before looking at a few general stretches, here are some general stretching tips for not only hikers and backpackers, but anyone. While ‘bouncing’ at the end of a stretch is common, most experts say that this should not be done. A stretch should be taken short of the point of pain and held for about 30 seconds. As mentioned earlier, stretching is not just for before an activity but for after an activity as well. Remember to start you hike slowly and end it slowly to produce a ‘warm up’ ‘cool down’ period.

Perhaps the most important area to stretch well is the calf. To stretch the calf, stand with your toes on an elevated area. Lower the heels of your feet until you feel your calf muscle begin to stretch. Again, if you are stretching to the point of pain it is too far. After 30 seconds with your heels lowered, raise your heels and stand on your toes for 30 seconds. Repeat this until you are comfortable, 3 or 4 sets should be fine. The best location for a calf stretch is on a set of steps, but these are generally lacking in the woods. A rock, tree stump, or other raised area can be used in the woods. Hold onto a tree or have a buddy assist to keep your balance. If there is no way to stand on something and stretch, calf muscles can also be stretched one at a time by taking a big step with one foot and leaning forward stretching the back leg.

The next stretch that will benefit hikers and backpackers is the standing leg stretch. This common stretch is accomplished by raising one leg onto a tree or other nearby object. The leg should be raised to belt height or as close as is possible. The hiker or backpacker then places their hands on the leg and stretches as far as possible. Do this several times with each leg.

While these two stretches are hardly all that would benefit a hiker or backpacker, a simple and easy plan is more likely to be followed than a complex one.

Insulated Backpacks from Picnic at Ascot

Insulated lunch bags have been a common item on store shelves for several years now. Additionally, insulated soft sided coolers have become popular.

Both products help consumers to keep food cool and fresh longer, because an ice pack can be used to keep food chilled. And although insulated lunch bags and soft sided coolers are really useful for someone who wants to take perishable food with them to the park, beach, or on a road trip, these insulated food carriers are generally quite small. Because of their small size, these insulated food carriers can be limiting for a family or group who needs to carry food and keep it cool.

A fantastic upgrade from smaller insulated lunch bags and soft sided coolers, is an insulated backpack from the company Picnic at Ascot. Picnic at Ascot manufactures several lines of insulated backpacks. These insulated backpacks are the size of a traditional backpack, but the largest zip compartment is completely insulated. This large insulated space makes carrying quite a large amount of food to an outing or on a road trip extremely convenient. The insulated compartment of a Picnic at Ascot backpack is easily large enough to pack a meal for two to six people.

Another great element of the Picnic at Ascot insulated backpacks is that they have an insulated drink pouch connected to main part of the pack. This insulated drink pouch is large enough for a bottle of wine or large water bottle. The insulated drink pouch can also be detached if necessary.

One of the most unique things about Picnic at Ascot Insulated backpacks is that the front zipper compartment actually folds down to reveal dishes, drinkware, napkins, silverware, and salt and pepper shakers. Each of these items are secured by an elastic band or straps that snap shut.

Some styles of Picnic at Ascot insulated backpacks actually contain a small cutting board and spreader knife as well. Combined with the insulated drink pouch that is just the right size for a bottle of wine, these backpacks are perfect for bringing along cheese and wine to an outdoor concert or other event.

The fact that the Picnic at Ascot insulated backpacks are so much easier and more convenient to carry than smaller insulated lunch bags and soft sided coolers makes this product a better choice for those who would like to keep their hands free.

Picnic at Ascot insulated food carriers and backpacks range in price from about $35 to more than $100. To view all the Picnic at Ascot insulated food carrier styles, check out the Picnic at Ascot website online.

Backpacking Grill

Depending on which type of backpacking you enjoy, eating can either be expensive or inconvenient. No matter what type of backpacking you prefer, there is one piece of equipment you should seriously consider investing in; a backpacking grill. A backpacking grill will allow you to always have a way to cook food no matter where you are. A backpacking grill provides so much. It gives you convenience, saves you money on food, and is actually a lot of fun to use.

How Are Backpacking Grills Different From Traditional Grills?

backpacking grillYou are probably conjuring up images of a big, heavy, grill; the type of grill that you use during a backyard cookout. You probably picture it with wheels or maybe one of the small, round grills. Obviously, you would be correct in thinking it would be crazy to take one of these with you on your backpacking trip. They are extremely cumbersome, and let’s not even think about what they would weigh on your back. A backpacking grill is completely different. A backpacking grill is very small and conveniently folds up. By being so compact it is not difficult to carry at all. Backpacking grills use fuel sources. The fuel the backpacking grill uses is also very small and compact and easy to carry. Another cool feature about a backpacking grill is they usually have legs which extend out. It makes set up at your camp site or eating spot a snap.

The Advantages Of Owning A Backpacking Grill

A backpacking grill has using a traditional fire beat in so many ways; at least when it comes to cooking purposes. Obviously a fire for warmth and to keep animals away is always a good idea. In this scenario, all you have to do is keep wood on the fire. However, if you want to cook on the fire it takes up so much more time and energy. You have to constantly monitor the fire to make sure it is at the exact level it needs to be to cook.

If you are going on a long journey, even if it’s by car, your backpacking grill can save you a lot of money. While traveling, stopping to eat out every meal, can add up very quickly. If you have a backpacking grill with you, you can save a lot of money by stopping at a grocery store and getting some food to cook on the backpacking grill. No matter where you are there’s almost always certain to be a grocery store there or at least a few miles away. You can take an ice chest, some food, and when you stop at a rest stop cook up some of the food.

Once you get a backpacking grill, you’ll wonder how you ever went backpacking or took long trips without it.

Choosing the Backpack for Your Dog

Howard Mattew,


Taking your dog backpacking is a great way to spend quality time with your pet and can make for a great training experience.

No matter the size or breed of your dog it can participate in your hike. Here are a few tips to help make your outing as enjoyable as possible for you and your four-legged friend.

Choosing a Backpack for Your Dog

Most dogs can carry one-fourth of their body weights. However, some packing breeds such as Huskies or malamutes can carry up to 30 percent of their weight. With some short training hikes, you can get a better idea of your dogs’ abilities.

Backpacks are based on the weight of the dog and should be bought accordingly. When buying a pack you want to look for one that is non-restrictive, waterproof, and has the bags placed over the dogs’ shoulders. You want to make sure the bags are carried over the shoulders and not across the back. A dog pulls from its shoulders so they are built to carry weight. The spine of the dog is not, so make sure your pack does not extend to far down the back. This could injure the dog and make backpacking an unmemorable experience for your dog. If the trail you are planning to hike is anything other than a flat trail you will want some padding for underneath the dogs pack. These paddings are usually fleece or fake wool. Long-haired dogs may not need as much padding.

The color and design is up to you and your needs. It is, however, a good idea to get a brightly colored pack versus a darker one. The reason for this is so that the dog is more visible to you and others around.

What to Look For in a Dog Backpack

Dog Pack Hound Hiking BackpackA good way to start looking for a backpack is to decide on what types of trips you will be taking. If you’re heading out for some weekend long hiking there are a few things you want to look for to make the hike easier on you and the dog. One really nice feature to have is a pack with a separate harness and pack system.

This means you can take the pack off while the harness is still attached. So when you have to cross water or go through a tight spot you can undo the pack without having to let the dog run free. You will also want to make sure you get a pack with reflective tape on it and a bright color. This way the dog can’t be mistaken for game by a hunter.

What Size Pack You Should Choose

When fitting your dog for a backpack you will want all the straps tight enough so that you can fit only two fingers through it. If your pack is too tight or too loose it could start to irritate or even injure the dog.

Other Canine Hiking Essentials

6-8ft leash, collar, quality dog pack , water for your dog, water and food dish, dog sweater or emergency blanket, proof of vaccinations (some places require proof of vaccinations in order to receive a permit), Tie out chains, New flea collar, Bags to clean up after your dog (read more about accessories for dogs)

How to Pack the Dogpack

When packing the dogs gear you will want to evenly distribute the weight on both sides of the dogs. It is uncomfortable for the dog to have a lopsided pack and can cause unwanted stress on the dog. Pack softer items on the side of the pack to act as extra padding. You will want the heavier items toward the dogs shoulder and lighter items in the back.

QUECHUA Arpenaz Hiking Backpack

General Information

In a good warm weather, I go to outdoor yoga classes in a park. Since I have been practicing yoga for many years, I have many sports accessories in my arsenal. There are, for example, Ralph Lauren sports bag, bright and catchy Adidas, etc.

But despite this, I’ve decided to buy a backpack just for outdoor activities, inexpensive, so you can put it on the grass, and sometimes even sit on it. The choice was the backpack of the Quechua Arpenaz 10.

QUECHUA 7l/10l/15l/20l Backpacks Review

There are four backpacks in the review:

  • 7l, 31x22x10 cm. Weight 130 g
  • 10l Dimensions 15.7x9x4″ Weight 0.29 lbs
  • 15L Dimensions 15×9.4×4.7″. Weight 0.6 lbs
  • 20l Dimensions 19×9.4×5.5″. Weight 0.75 lbs

7L and 10L backpacks have one main compartment and a pocket with a zipper. The main compartment is closed by one zipper.

The 15l backpack has a chest strap, and 20l one comes with a lap belt

The back is not rigid. The fabric is good, the seams are even.

Such a backpack will be good for mothers with young children. As a rule, for a walk parents take a lot of everything, from a light snack, to wet napkins. The backpack is light in itself, even if you don’t wear it, you can always hang it on a baby carriage.

There is no lining inside. The backpack is sewn neatly, the seams are even, but there are shortcomings here and there. And yes, zipper seems to be high-quality, works without jamming. The stabbers are broad and convenient.

You can choose a model with needed volume.

Overall, the backpacks are cheap, lightweight, neat and roomy. They look good even after several machine washings. The material is polyester, dries quickly and does not absorb moisture.


  • price
  • the color palette
  • compact and lightweight


  • Cheap materials
  • lack specialized compartments


It is not a hiking backpack, nothing serious. Good cheap and lightweight one for outdoors activity. Great for children to play everywhere with them: trips, bikes, rollers. You can also take the little one for diapers, bottles, small boots, child jackets, etc when going for a walk.