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10 Backpacking Hacks You Can Pick Up at Walmart

10 Backpacking Hacks You Can Pick Up at Walmart

Backpacking is considered to be a rough way to travel with high costs for good gear and many inconveniences. While true in some regards, there are ways to hack your travels to make life a bit easier on you. Here are ten items that you can use to make life on the road a bit easier. No high costs – you can find them all at Walmart. No added weight – they each weigh only a few ounces.

Drain Stopper

Your universal drain stopper can be used in just about any sink or tub. Stopping the drain allows you to pool water for washing clothes. Whether your lodging doesn’t have accommodations or they are just too expensive, you’ve got the answer in your pack.

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Camping Clothes Line

If you’re washing clothes, you’ll also need a place to dry them. A basic bungee cord style camping clothes line allows you to hang your clothes just about anywhere: between two trees, between bed posts or even a couple of chairs. Clothes lines also come in handy for supporting a tarp to protect your hammock or sleeping bag from the dew or rain.

Carabiner

These small clips are invaluable when backpacking. Most travel packs will have an abundance of D-rings, straps or handles that you can clip your carabiner to, allowing you to attach nearly anything to your pack. If you’re swapping out shoes, tie your laces together and hang your old pair from your back. Got a water bottle? Slip it in a side pocket and secure it to a strap with a simple clip. It’s an easy and convenient way to carry your loose items that won’t quite fit into the pack itself.

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Ziplock Bags

Ziplock bags work well for storing items that you want to keep dry. Put your electronics in one before you travel to keep them from frying if you get caught in a rainstorm or drop your pack in a creek. Slip a sandwich in one for the road. Stuff your toiletries in them before boarding an airplane to get them through security and avoid spilling soap and toothpaste on your pack’s contents should it spill. The uses are endless!

Under Armour

Backpacking is difficult for many people because they want to pack everything they normally would in a large, 50lbs suitcase into a backpack. If you have to cut down on the amount of clothes you bring, you have to aim for versatility. What items can be paired with any of the other articles of clothing I bring? Under Armour is light and packs small while still bringing that added layer of warmth without the bulk of a jacket.

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Camp Utensil Set

When traveling, food is a big concern. Many tourists or vacationers will just go out to eat. The backpacker, on the other hand, must often buy his/her own food. Buying food on the road means you’re also stuck figuring out plates/utensils. A simple camp utensil set will solve that problem for you.

Garbage Bags

Like Ziplock bags, garbage bags are tremendously helpful. With a few tears, one could be converted to a pancho during a downpour. Slip another over your pack and you’ll keep it dry as well. Heading into town for the day? Put your gear in a bag and toss it in the bushes near your campsite. People will think it’s trash if they find it and it’ll stay dry from any unexpected rains. They’re also quite helpful when you need to pack that muddy pair of shoes in the same bag as your clean clothes.

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Athletic Tape

Just as strong as duct tape, but more versatile, athletic tape allows you to patch leaky tarps, brace sprained ankles or any number of other hacks. It also packs smaller, allowing you to take more tape per role.

Nail Clippers

Everyone knows you can’t take a knife on an airplane unless you check your bags. If you’re carrying your backpack on the plane, that’s out of the question. On the road, however, a pocket knife can be invaluable. Of course, you can purchase a knife once you get to your destination. However, an alternative should that option not be available is to bring a pair of nail clippers. Passable through security and incredibly sharp, they can be used to cut bits of string, tape, cloth or plastic. Though they might take a bit longer, they’ll get the job done.

Padlock

Finally, pick up a padlock. Look for one with a large loop but a medium sized latch. This will give you maximum versatility when securing your possessions in a hostel’s locker, locking your zippers together or simply lashing it all to a bed post.

Bon voyage!

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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