Over the years, I have developed my evening routine while hiking – especially on the multi-day hikes:
This post highlights one of my hiking routines. Read more on my different routines like setting up my tent, my hygiene routine, my evening routine and my morning routine.
- Check location, the weather and other circumstances. When I’ve arrived I usually try to check with locals, available apps, sites or other sources.
- The location – Is this indeed the correct campground, what is the best place to camp, is it safe, is there anything special?
- Facilities – Is there drinking water (sometimes there will be while there was no mention or the other way around), are there ways to wash myself (again, this is not always consistent with planning/documentation or my careful preparation).
- The weather – Locals, apps, sites, etc. that will tell me what the night will look like and if the evening or night will be bringing some unwanted surprises (e.g. see my post on checking the weather for the Jordan Trail). Based on this I’ll know whether I need to take extra precautions for the night or -worst case- have to evacuate the area (e.g. when arriving at the start of Laugavegur, we were told we couldn’t hike that day and had to stay the night).
- Get warm. As I usually have been on the move (and sweating) all day, I will make sure to put on an extra sweater or jacket to make sure I won’t be cold. If my shirt is soaked, I’ll quickly change.
- Set up camp. Setting up the tent. Making sure my tent is safe (not in a canyon), will stay dry (not in a lower area that will flood during heavy rain), on even flooring, not too close to snake territory, secure enough to withstand winds/rain, etcetera. After setting up my tent, I’ll usually prepare my sleeping pad and sleeping bag and arrange my gear in my tent. Finally, I will make sure to have my trash compression bag hanging high and/or away from my tent.
- Charge. This is usually also the moment to start charging my phones, GPS, etcetera again which are usually drained after a long day of hiking. Most of the time, I will be using my power bank. If I have the luxury of a power socket, I use my multi-charger to charge as many devices as possible at once (I usually carry my phone, GPS, Garmin InReach Mini, Garmin Forerunner 935 and GoPro).
- Food. Boil water for one more Adventure Food meal and one extra portion of vegetables. After, I will take my dessert (or, if I’m a real rebel, I sometimes even eat it before my water is warmed up – but please don’t tell my mom) – see my separate posts on my favorite food on the trail and my food preparation routine. I only use my pots for warming water, so I don’t have to clean them and I will wrap my trash in a trash compression bag.
- Check in with my family. While I’m cooking and/or eating I usually check in with my family to let them know I have arrived safely and all is well. After issues I had with my connectivity on the Laugavegur trail (and my family was rather worried), I bought a Garmin InReach Mini and I prepared a standard message for when I finished hiking on a specific day. It sends my location and time of start, so they know I’m alright.
- This day. While eating dinner, I usually look back on the day. I reflect on what went well, what went wrong, what I enjoyed most, what I could do better the next day.
- The next day. While reflecting, I start looking forward. I start to take out maps and my notes I made beforehand (the day planning of the Jordan Trail gives quite a good impression of how I plan my days). How far will I be hiking? Will there be difficult parts because of navigation (no signage, difficult GPS, etc), terrain (steep climbs, difficult terrain) or other? Will I be able to reach my family at home? Are there resupply places for water or food? Do I need to make changes to my plans? Etcetera.
- Hygiene evening routine. Embracing the stink is part of multi-day hikes, but I try to keep to my rigid hygiene routine, depending on the facilities near my camp.
- I’ll use special body wipes to freshen up or use available water nearby (or take a shower/bath in the rare circumstance there is one).
- I’ll put on my night gear – I keep a separate set of boxers and a shirt to sleep at night (so I don’t have to wear my dirty hiking clothes at night).
- When using the toilet (if there isn’t one available), I will dig a hole away from water sources and the trail (and snakes), drop my stuff and pack my paper/wipes in my trash compression bag.
- I’ll brush my teeth.
- Body check. While freshening up, I will run through every part of my body as a routine check. How do I feel overall? How do my feet feel? My ankles? My calves? My knee? My upper leg, etcetera, etcetera. And then I especially check things that hurt the last day of hiking. How’s my sore knee doing, etcetera. Apply care when needed.
- The next day (again). Before I get some sleep, I’ll usually run through tomorrow’s day one last time.
- Get some sleep. I usually go to bed within 90 minutes of getting to camp, as early as possible. Quite often, I will get to sleep before sunset. Not only because I’m tired, but also because I like to get up with civil twilight to get walking as soon as possible (also see my full morning routine).
Thats my evening routine. Are you missing something? Things you do on the trail?