The Best Hiking Accessory Every Hiker Should Own

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The newest trend for outdoor adventurers is day hikes. Throw the essentials in your day pack, grab your hiking poles, and off you go on your next adventure. Day hikes defy seasonality. Typical day hike loops are three to twenty miles. In addition, it usually includes a stop for an hour or so for lunch. This is where the backpacking tarp and ground cloth are the best hiking accessories for every outdoor enthusiast. But, that is not all it is good for.

The Stop for Lunch Is What Deserves Your Attention

Chances are there are no tables or chairs to sit on for eating lunch. You are at the mercy of the elements when you stop – dirt, tree sap, wet grass, decomposing logs, and the like. Yet, standing up to eat and rest just isn’t an option.

Over the years I’ve tried several solutions to this dilemma. Carrying a towel to sit on solves most of the problems. But doesn’t address a wet or muddy surface. In addition, a towel takes up a lot of room in your day pack.

Another option was making a groundsheet of Tyvek, the moisture barrier builders wrap houses with before putting on the siding. I used Tyvek for a number of years but was always disappointed with the crinkle noise it made when sitting on it and I didn’t like the way it folded up.

a man and woman sitting on the best hiking accessory on a mountain overlooking a lake.


Best Ultralight Backpacking Tarp And Ground Cloth

Now I use a backpacking tarp ground cloth from DAKOUT Gear™ that is sold on Amazon. This is one of those products you don’t know you need until you use it! Because of their size, I looked at the various groundsheets, or as some call them pocket blankets on Amazon and read all the reviews.

The personal-sized backpacking tarp from DAKOUT Gear™ solved my problem.

Because day hikers and backpackers alike want to keep their backpacks light, this groundsheet fits into the ultralight category weighing less than 2.5 ounces, plus maybe a quarter ounce for the stuff sack and carabiner that is included.

In addition, everything else on the market, called mini pocket blankets, has to be folded just right in order to get them back in their carrying sack. But, not so with this handy little groundsheet.

Well, you certainly can fold the DAKOUT Gear backpacking tarp if you have the time and energy. But you don’t have to fold it if you don’t want to. Granted, it takes up a little more room in the slightly oversized stuff sack if it isn’t folded, but who cares? Just stuff it in and go!

man laying down on a personal sized backpacking tarp while hiking.

100% Waterproof To Keep You Dry When You Sit

In addition to being ultralight, this backpacking tarp and ground cloth is 100% waterproof. Many other products are only water-resistant, not waterproof. I don’t know about you, but I hate getting my butt wet from sitting on a log or on the grass before the sun has had a chance to dry everything out.

This groundsheet is made out of the same material as backpacking tent floors and is 100% waterproof! The ground cloth will help keep the dirt out of your sleeping bag and tent. In addition, it helps to protect your gear from dirt and ground moisture.

This Small Ground Cloth is Made for Sitting Outdoors

Most often when you hear the term ground cloth or groundsheet you think of a tarp or footprint that goes under your tent. This small tarp has all the attributes you would want in a larger ground cloth.

Although it was specifically designed to be small, light, and compact it’s big enough to share. Yes, old geezers still like to share. Because it is 4 feet long and 27.5 inches wide, two people can sit side by side on it without getting wet or dirty. This small tarp is made for a unique purpose and does the job!

But, most importantly, it was because I was so tired of getting pitch on my pants and my butt wet when I stopped for lunch on the trail that I actually worked with DAKOUT Gear and helped with the design and specs for the tarp. Designed by a backpacker for hikers!

Now you know why I don’t hesitate to recommend it as the best hiking accessory!

the best hiking accessory a waterproof backpacking ground tarp


This Hiking Accessory Is Not Just For Sitting On

But I haven’t even touched on my favorite uses. For instance, I throw it on the ground, lie down on it, and kick my feet up on a nearby log or rock to rest.

It’s not the same as my recliner at home. But it sure feels good on my back after several miles on the trail. Finally, no pine pitch on my clothes when I’m hiking in the forest. I hate that!

DAKOUT ultralight ground cloth in front of a tent in the mountains


In addition, getting out of my tent in the morning to put on my socks and boots with all of the pine needles and crap that sticks to my wool socks is a pet peeve of mine. And, although I know it was designed to be able to stake it down to keep it neat and pretty, this old geezer is too lazy for that.

Therefore, I just throw my backpacking tarp down in front of my tent in the vestibule area. Not only does it keep my feet clean when getting out of my tent. But it keeps me from tracking dirt and crap into my tent. Additionally, it gives me a place to set stuff outside the tent at night without it getting dirty or wet.

Additional Uses

Perfect Best Hiking Accessory For Snowshoeing

Another great use for this best hiking accessory backpacking tarp is when you go snowshoeing. Finding a place to sit and relax that isn’t covered in snow is hard to do.

With the backpacking tarp, you can sit on a snow-covered log when stopping for lunch without getting wet. Of course, it takes a good half hour to unthaw my butt afterward, but at least it isn’t wet.

Want to know more about winter hiking and snowshoeing? Check out my winter hiking post here.

man putting tire chains on a car while laying on a waterproof ground tarp in the snow


A Ground Cloth That Is A Great Auto Accessory Too

Speaking of getting wet, have you ever had to put on tire chains in the winter? Then you know what it’s like getting that back chain hook connected to the underside of the car.

Finally, getting down on a wet snowy road without getting my clothes wet is almost too good to be true. My hands still get dirty and frozen, but maybe I’ll find a hack for that before they take my driver’s license away.

Great for Use in the Car For The Kids

This doesn’t begin to cover all the uses for your groundsheet. For instance, setting it on the back seat when coming back from the beach with the grandkids keeps the sand and saltwater off the seat. Who would have guessed this backpacking tarp could be so handy?

Back in the day with my own kids, I didn’t mind a wet seat. But now, hauling around my kids and all of their friends to every school and sporting event under the sun is a thing of the past. Now, after all those crazy years I get the fun part of occasionally transporting the grandkids!

My wife is a bit of a germaphobe and keeps one of these in her car for lying in the back of the SUV. Above all, it works perfectly when she has to do an emergency changing of our grandson’s diapers.

Especially if it is one of those loaded diapers! Most importantly, she likes the fact that it can be washed on a gentle cycle with mild detergent when it gets dirty.

She even uses the backpacking tarp when she is out and about with the grandkids on the diaper changing tables in the store’s restrooms. Does anybody know how often they are cleaned?

A hand holding DAKOUT adventure is calling backpacking tarp.

The Best Hiking Accessory & Gift

I get really excited when I’m able to find a product that is new and has different uses for the outdoors.

Now, you can see why I don’t hesitate to recommend the best hiking accessory around – the DAKOUT backpacking tarp and hiking ground cloth. It also makes a great gift for your favorite hiker! And the price point is great.

Check out the best hiking accessory here on Amazon. This personal-sized tarp is an excellent addition to your hiking and backpacking gear for those times that you didn’t know you needed it!


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