How To Make A Celebration Special On A Hike
By the Wild Women On Top Team
If you’ve got a birthday, anniversary or other celebration while you’re out hiking, it can be hard to know what to bring to make it feel special. At Wild Women, we’re all about celebrating, and over the past 20 years we’ve come up with lots of ways to add that touch of sparkle when you’re out on the trail.
Here’s how to do it.
Candles are critical
Candles are one of the cheapest, lightest and easiest ways to make a celebration - especially a birthday - feel special when you’re out on the trail. We recommend bringing a small zip-lock bag full of candles in your pack.
You’ve gotta have cake
At Wild Women, we love cake for all occasions - birthdays, Christmas, and weekends. But if you’re celebrating a birthday, cake is non-negotiable.
If you’re out for just a day or two, you can just load up your pack with a regular cake, either homemade or bought from a gourmet bakery. Homemade is better to carry, because you can keep the cake in the pan you baked it in, which helps keep its shape. Put a similar sized plate on top of the baking pan and secure it with elastic bands and beeswax wraps.
However, if you’re hiking for longer than two days, you might need to think more creatively. Fruit cake works well, but we’re also big fans of the “cheese” cake. Simply take a wheel of your favourite cheese, put some candles on top, fan crackers out around the edge and you’ve got yourself a cake!
Another option that works well is a pile of bliss balls or bars to form a cake shape. These travel well in tupperware and don’t require refrigeration, so you can simply assemble before you serve and stick candles on top. Then, for bonus points, sprinkle the whole thing with toasted coconut to give it the appearance of a cake.
Bring the booze
We’re not big drinkers, but a little tipple can really make a celebration feel special. But not all alcohol works well on hikes.
Steer clear of wine – it’s heavy, and usually not what people feel like drinking after (or before) a long day of hiking.
Sweet, sticky liqueurs like Baileys, Cointreau and Kahlua work best. Pack a set of reusable shot glasses and give everyone a nip around the campfire. Dessert wines also go down a treat. If you’re hiking with all your gear, make sure you decant the alcohol into a small metal drink bottle to save on weight!
Decorations make it magic
Decorations are an important part of any party, but getting the right ones on a hike are important. You want them to be lightweight and as sustainable as possible.
Cardboard party hats (which you save to reuse next time) are the most effective way to make it feel fancy, so put a pack of these in your backpack. Eco-friendly streamers (which you will, of course, collect after use!) and paper lanterns also go down a treat.
If you don’t have too far to walk, you can also bring a string or two of battery or solar-operated fairy lights to decorate the campsite with.
If it’s a birthday, we also recommend a ‘Birthday Badge’ which the birthday girl can wear. It really helps her to feel super special.
Feel the music
Some would consider this an essential on any trek, but it’s especially important when you’re celebrating. You can get super small speakers these days, so it’s easy to pop one in your pack and get dancing around the fire.
Just make sure you’re only playing music where no-one else can hear you, it’s not polite to interrupt the bush sounds for other campers or hikers.
Make the food extra good
We always put effort into our meals here at Wild Women. But when it’s a special occasion, you’ll see us putting even more love into our food.
One great idea we’ve enjoyed was a vacuum-sealed side of salmon, imported from Canada, which was served on day four of the South Coast Track in Tasmania. It was truly EPIC.
A delicious hiking dessert is liqueur-soaked dried fruit with creamy custard. The night before your celebration, take some dried fruit (peaches and apricots are great) and put them in your Nalgene bottle with water, Cointreau and sugar. Leave it for 8+ hours. When you're ready to serve, make up some custard (you can pre-mix the dried ingredients in a zip-lock bag before you leave home) and serve. It's so delicious and lightweight.
Simple things like fresh herbs or fresh veggies can also feel SUPER special when you’re hiking, so think about that!
What are some of the ways you make celebrations special when you’re hiking? Come and tell us in our Wild Women Community on Facebook.