In the last episode I did promise not to make this entire podcast just about solo hiking and I mean that! I know solo hiking isn’t for everyone and it’s also not for every trip.
I do think it’s best to try hiking solo, see if you like it but honestly if hiking or camping solo is going to leave you in a constant state of panic or anxiety the entire time – don’t do it. Why go out there if it’s not fun and rejuvenating?
Plus hiking and backpacking can be a great opportunity to reconnect with friends and loved ones or even make new friends out on the trail.
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So, how do you find a hiking partner that you won’t end up wanting to strangle by the end of your trip? Let’s dive in.
Recognize your own hiking style first – are you fast or slow, take lots of breaks or power through with no breaks, take a million photos or like to go tech-free, like to chat or enjoy the quiet?
Now that doesn’t mean that you can’t ever hike with someone who might be opposite of you on any of those points – but just be aware of them, communicate with your potential hiking partner ahead of time, and set some expectations about your goals on the hike – are you going just to get out of the house, are you going for a tough physical challenge, are you going to have a picnic and journal/photo time at a beautiful scenic spot. It’s never a bad idea to throw that out there.
How to actually find a hiking partner:
The first, obvious option is to invite someone you already know like a friend or family member.
Or if you really don’t want to hike with someone you know – search around in Facebook groups, look for hiking or outdoor facebook groups in your state or city, google search for hiking clubs in your area, if you’re able and willing – sign up with a local trail maintenance crew that can be a great way to meet other hiking buddies, you can look on Meetup for hiking groups or events.
Just always use common sense there when meeting strangers off the internet. You should always be doing this, but especially here, let someone know where you’re going and who you’re meeting or how you met them. Maybe try to choose a well-trafficked trail so you know there will be other people around if something goes wonky.
And of course, never be embarrassed to keep a knife, whistle, and mace handy – I always carry those things anyway for wild animals – but they work on wild humans too.
For the complete list of everything I pack on a day hike, download the Ultimate Day Hiking Gear Checklist – and I promise you while it may look like a lot of gear at a glance when you look at the list, it’s all very light and will fit in a small day pack but it’s gonna enable you to have everything you need to care of yourself out there on the trail.
Alright, that’s all for now, stay safe out there, and until next time, happy hiking!