Backpacking Gear with Multiple Uses

Backpacking Gear with more than one Use:

Reducing the weight of your backpack can have a huge impact on how far and how comfortably you hike. To cut your packs weight try to select gear that can be used in a number of situations.

Leatherman Multitools

Here are some pieces of backpacking gear that have multiple uses:

  • Tarp – Can be used for shelter, rain gear, ground cover, rain catch, etc…
  • Paracord – For traps, fishing, clothesline, food bag line.
  • Multitool – Knife, tools, scissors, nail cutters, saws, etc…
  • Duct Tape – Use to prevent blisters, repair gear, bandage wrap.
  • Candles – lighting, fire starter, waterproofing.
  • Metal Canteen with CupBoiling Water, cooking food, bowl for eating.
  • Hiking Poles – Walking stick, shelter poles, emergency splint.
  • Socks – warming hands, filtering water
  • Bandana – cooling head or neck wrap, sunscreen, water filter, bandages.
  • Safety Pins – fishing hooks, hanging items, securing bandages
  • Dental Floss – fishing line, sewing thread, etc…
  • Plastic Baggies–carry items, emergency water carrier, storing food.
  • Compass with mirror – emergency signal, personal mirror, finding your way.

10 Comments

  1. RpknAZ
    March 7, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Anyone know what backpack that is in the top right of the artical?

    • Mike
      June 13, 2012 at 8:58 pm

      Posted on wrong reply…
      It looks very similar to the Jansport Versteeg or Klamath

  2. josh
    May 25, 2012 at 11:59 am

    a quick easy fire starter use a piece of steel wool and a 9volt batt. Humidity, wind, even underwater it has work every time. Just add fuel,try and see what you think of it.

    • Mike
      June 13, 2012 at 8:57 pm

      It looks very similar to the Jansport Versteeg or Klamath

  3. Joe
    July 25, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    My first and a random post on this site. Hope all are well.

    I guess in terms of other multi use items, I’m kinda being funny here but lets start.. Bring yourself a beer or beverage of choice out with a bar of chocolate. Now, all of you are thinking “Okay, a full can weighs too much and will just get shaken up in my pack.” Regardless of that thought, both of these are obvious food items. They give you calories, water content, carbs, fat and maybe some protein; so at least those are of use to you. Now, take a little piece of chocolate and the empty can from your beverage you enjoyed around your non-existent,warm,fire. Now, with the piece of chocolate, proceed to polish the cupped indentation on the bottom of the can where the “sell by” date is usually located, until you see it shine. (You may need a little wax on wax off with a shirt sleeve or something)…. This creates a nice and reflective surface that is able to aim concentrated beams of sunlight on to your tinder of choice and are in fact, capable of igniting it. Hey, have some chocolate while you’re trying! It’s the least you deserve, you must be cold if you have to use this technique! If you change camps, throw an ember with some tinder in your can and get to hiking! Oh, my can reflects. I can signal someone with the correct lighting. I can also fashion a fish hook out of the tab that opens the can. I can boil water in my can.. I can even use the sharp edge on my can as some sort of lame knife if I really need! In all, this is a humorous but somewhat practical way to gain multi uses out of two items. Haha… I hope this was funny or maybe a little useful to you. It’s fun to think of items to gain multiple uses out of. Though, with the correct and obvious gear choices made, you won’t have to walk into the wilderness on an outing and say to yourself “Damn, I forgot my can!”

  4. Brian
    October 29, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    CRAYONS instead of candles i carry a few crayons the paper will light easy (if dry) and each crayon (made of wax) will last about 20 mins so for the same price as small candles i can stash about 15-30 crayons in all my BOBs and vehicle

  5. Chris
    November 25, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Waterproofing with candle wax is a good idea I hadn’t thought of, thanks.

  6. Willybee
    April 6, 2014 at 7:22 am

    Well sonny ,, Tools are nice,, but what if you don’t have tools? And the only thing you have is yourself.
    Skills,, that is the ticket. Don’t get me wrong, a Doan MAG stick is my go to. But what happens in a true survival situation? And you have NO TOOLS…IF you know how to twist your own twine, nap a cutting edge from a rock, build a dead fall, and start a fire from what you can find, ( where you are at ). Then you will truly have a chance.
    All of this is to say,, We should not rely on things we have, because we may not always have them. ie. planing a test, or testing a plan…

  7. Tool time Tim
    May 11, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Another good one is one of those small plastic pencil sharpeners you used in grade school. They can make arrow tips, spears, or god forbid you get a broken pencil led. You can also use the shavings for fire tinder.

  8. MAC
    January 1, 2016 at 12:03 am

    There is a lot of going back and forth here about the pros and cons of carrying a bic lighter. I’m a former Army Special Forces soldier who has always carried a bic lighter on a loop of 550 cord. Just form a half loop long enough to hang the lighter about half way down your chest and secure the loose ends around the lighter with duct tape (use extra tape for expedient fixes).
    I keep that directly against my skin and I’ve had no issues getting it to light in sub-zero conditions. Yes, wind can hinder that but there are lots of ways to create an expedient wind block that will provide enough cover for you to get a flame. And yes, I always have at least three means of lighting a fire when I am out in the field.

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