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Types Of Hikers:
Which One(s) Are You?

Hiking trails vary, and so do the types of hikers you'll find on them.

Your approach to a hike will be very different from mine, yet we might find ourselves within the same category of hiking.

A useful way of thinking about types of hikers focuses on time and energy.

Use these Hiking For Her tips to figure out which type of hiker you are, and how to interact with all the other types of hikers you'll meet on the trail. #hiking #backpacking #hikingtips #besthiking

Types of hikers:
time & energy investments

All of us have finite supplies of time and energy.

[And money, but that's a depressing thought so let's press onward.]

Here are the typical designations most hiking websites use to describe hikers:

  • day hiker (also spelled dayhiker)
  • overnight hiker, or overnighter
  • weekend hikers (weekenders)
  • multi day distance backpacker
  • backcountry hikers
  • lightweight or ultralight (UL) hiker
  • thruhikers on a long trail

As you work your way down the list, the amount of time and energy you invest will increase in order to achieve your hiking goals.

There's no judgment implied in that statement (what, day hikers are lazy??), just a fact of hiking life.

True life story

There are plenty of variables involved in the frequency and duration of any one hiker hitting the trail, including job schedules, school and family responsibilities, access to trail heads, lack of hiking buddies, economic realities, seasonal weather patterns, physical limitations and more.

Which constraints are you under?

For example:

  • A middle aged day hiker might be unable to backpack or explore the backcountry at this stage of life as career obligations increase.
  • A twenty something thruhiker might have only one shot at a long trail, and must revert back to dayhiking.
  • Older hikers begin to explore ultralight hiking or give up backpacking altogether, yet continue to enjoy vigorous day hikes.

And the point is?

What I know to be true about types of hikers is this:

Once you get a little taste of the glories of day hiking, you're going to want to try an overnight backpacking trip at some point.

In other words, don't expect to stay a day hiker forever.

Then you will notice a longing for a week of backpacking (and all the cool gear that comes with it).

From there, it's a long slippery slide into what some non-hikers might call the addiction of scheduling multiple backpacking trips each year.

And then there's thru hiking:

  • wanting needing to cast aside "normal life" to answer the call of the trail for months on end.

Consider yourself warned if you keep reading!

So where are you on the
continuum of hiking types?

Let's put those labels to good use and make some hiking sub-groups.

Use the Hiking For Her hiking tips to locate yourself, or to explore all of them!

Newbie day hikers

If you're a beginner hiker, here are some tips for you:


Getting the itch to do an overnight backpacking trip? (told you so!)

Read this advice to make your first trip easier:

here I come!

Once you're hooked on the combination of hiking and camping called backpacking, get yourself organized with these tips:

If you're yearning to use a backpacking trip to become a backcountry explorer, check this out:

Go lighter to go
faster and farther

Lighten your load and reap the rewards:

Long trail hiking

If you're fortunate enough to have the time, money and energy all dialed in, go for it!

Solo or not?

Here's an additional spin on things: whether you hike alone, or with other hikers.

Can't find a trail buddy?

Types of hikers:

That list we just worked through above?

It also indicates how much time and energy a hiker invests in preparing for her safety and comfort on any hike or hiking trip.

A short day hike requires a modest level of forethought around carrying enough food and water to fit the destination.

A ten day backpacking trip?

  • You're carrying your nutrients, shelter, emergency preparedness, hygiene supplies, camp kitchen and hopefully a few comfort items to keep your motivation level high.

So your best approach is a thoughtful, measured approach to safety and successful hiking, like this one:


Use the blue box with the word TOP in it (over there on the right hand side) to zoom up to the search box on this website.

Pop in the topic or gear you're searching for and discover detailed information to plan your hiking adventures.

A more lighthearted approach
to hiker categories

This is a topic not discussed much in the hiking blogosphere, but it's an interesting way to categorize hikers:

  • according to how much interaction they tolerate on a hiking trail.

Read about 6 types of hikers and how to greet them (or not) so you're prepared for anything on the trail.

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Types Of Hikers

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