by Diane Spicer
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 how hikers differ?
Focus on the time and energy invested in a hike or hiking trip.
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 the types of hikers:
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, just a fact of the hiking life.
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, geographic relocation, physical limitations and more.
Which constraints are you under?
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:
If hiking is addictive, it also heaps benefits on you!
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!
If you're a beginner hiker, here are some tips for you:
Getting the itch to do a weekend or an overnight backpacking trip? (told you so!)
Read this advice to make your first trip easier:
Once you're hooked on the combination of hiking and camping called backpacking, get yourself organized with these tips:
As your skill level increases, use these intermediate level backpacking tips.
If you're yearning to use a backpacking trip to become a seasoned backcountry explorer, check these out:
Lighten your load and reap the rewards:
If you're fortunate enough to have the time, money and energy all dialed in, go for it!
Here's an additional spin on things: whether you hike alone, or with other hikers.
Can't find a trail buddy?
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?
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.
This is a topic not discussed much in the hiking blogosphere, but it's an interesting way to categorize hikers:
Read about Hiking For Her's 6 types of hikers and how to greet them (or not) so you're prepared for anyone on the trail.
Types Of Hikers
About the author
Diane is the founder of Hiking For Her.
She's been on a hiking trail somewhere in the world for 5+ decades & loves to share her best hiking tips right here.
All rights reserved.
Photo credits: All photos on this website were taken by David Midkiff or Diane Spicer except where noted.
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