Handy uses for Moss when hiking

Moss is a plant you encounter a lot of in the Northern parts of the World. Its uses are many and our ancestors used Moss a lot in day to day life, and so can you while hiking.

When hiking in the Northern forests of Europe, United States or Canada. You will encounter a lot of Moss growing on the forest floor and on fallen trees. Moss can be quite handy for Hikers, when hiking you sometimes have to improvise. Lets go over the different uses Moss has and how you can use them while out hiking.

  • Toilet paper in a pinch
  • Cleaning agent
  • Bedding and comfort
  • Wound dressing
  • As an absorbent for water
  • For catching a flame

Read on for more information about Moss for hiking!

Going number 2 out in the woods

Some hikers carry wet wipes, some use an outdoor bidet and others carry around toilet paper. When out in the backcountry you have to make due with what you have. Moss is a great substitute for using Toilet paper or wet wipes.

Something I have learned while camping, hiking and canoeing out in Sweden. Look for a patch of moss that’s out over a tree stump or not directly growing in the dirt to prevent a sandy bottom. And go to town. Since Moss is antiseptic there is little to no danger. Just keep an eye out for insects or pine needles.

Cleaning your hands while hiking

Spaghnum Moss is Antiseptic and good for cleaning your hands or other body parts when out hiking. Since it holds a great deal of water in it you can use it to quickly wipe off your hands for a semi clean feeling. Sometimes this is just what you need after spending a week in the forest.

A comfy bed for hiking trips

In my old days of hiking and camping out in the woods I did not have the best sleeping mat. I always looked out for the spot with the most Moss underneath my bed or tarp to make for a comfortable bed at night. Moss is like a great pillow that covers the forest floor and can be super comfortable. Depending on whats underneath the Moss.


Remember that Moss is great at keeping water in it. So make sure you are not draining away your body heat from a damp bed. Insulate yourself from the Moss when it has been raining.

In several bushcrafting trips I have done we made a whole bed and pillow out of moss for a comfortable night out under the Pine trees.

Wound dressing when an accident happens while out hiking

When out hiking you can get hurt in a lot of ways, most simple things can get quite difficult out on the trail. Moss is a disinfectant and is great at absorbing moisture. In many cases out on a battlefield it has been used as a wound dressing. You should always have a first aid kit with you when out hiking. But needs must, fall back on the ancient practice of using Moss as a wound dressing.

If you want to learn more about the history of moss out an battlefields I suggest reading the following article from the Smithsonian. A fun read for history enthusiasts!

Holding drinking water

Like we covered earlier in the article, Moss is antiseptic and holds water. When squeezing it in your hands you can feel the water coming out. If your in a pinch while out hiking and the water source is still some ways away. You can get a drink from the very floor your walking on.

Dried Moss is flammable

Hiking is an outdoor sport, and while outdoors their are few things as nice as having a fire when camping. It cooks your food, keeps you warm and provided comfort and light. Getting a fire going is an art form that you have to learn. Tinder is a big thing to master to starting your fires. Dried Moss is flammable and catches a spark quickly. Combine that with a bit of Birch bark and you have got yourself a fire.

Wrong – Moss grows on the North side of a tree

This is a myth that has long since been debunked but I wanted to mention it anyways. Moss does not grow exclusively on the North side of a tree. Moss grows best in damp and shade and will thrive in a lot of other places. Don’t place your bets on Moss for getting your bearings. Instead use the sun or stars to get to know a direction.

So next time you need any of these things while out Hiking. Think of the Moss at your feet! Share down below what your favorite uses are for Moss and if you used it before.

Hike for purpose and happy hiking!

I'm Frank, the main guy and owner of this website. Loves hiking, gear and bushcraft. And can get quite nerdy about them. In the woods several times a week preparing for my next hike. Always searching for another hill, which is quite difficult in the Netherlands. That's why I search around several countries. More about me on the about page.

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