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9 Tips for Being Everyone’s Favorite Hiking Buddy

Posted by Rachel Wendling at Jun 27, 2022 04:16 PM |
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The next time you head out with a new hiking companion, whether it’s a brand-new friend or someone you’ve known for decades, we have some tips for how to have a great time — and ensure you’re always on the invite list for future hikes.

Hiking is a wonderful way to spend time with friends and family. It’s an opportunity to step away from the stress of daily life and enjoy fresh air and beautiful views with great company. That is, as long as the group dynamics all work out.

The next time you head out with a new hiking companion, whether it’s a brand-new friend or someone you’ve known for decades, we have some tips for how to have a great time — and ensure you’re always on the invite list for future hikes.

A group of three hikers sit on backpack chairs on the edge of a lake.
Friends enjoying a view of the lake. Photo by Trudy Lac.

    • Suggest a carpool. If you’re the passenger, have the driving directions pulled up (before you lose cell service!) and a playlist queued for the ride. It’s always nice to pitch in for the cost of gas or the trailhead parking pass, too. 
    • Pick out a nearby Plan B (and C and D) hike. If the trailhead is full by the time you arrive, you’ll be the hero if you can save the day with a solid backup plan. No one wants a stressful, last-minute scramble to find another option.
    • Make friends with the map before you head out. If anyone is curious about the names of nearby peaks, you’ll look very clever. And you’ll be able to easily keep the group on track when approaching an intersection. 
    • Keep it clean. Pack along a container to carry out your and your hiking buddies’ trash. (While you’re at it, pack out any litter you come across, too.)
    • Pack a treat. Throw a few fun extras like a candy bar, bag of gummy worms or salty treat into your bag. Surprise your buddies with a treat at the summit or whenever anyone needs a pick-me-up.
    • Check in with your group along the way to make sure everyone is having a good time. Keep it low pressure and be OK with turning back early if needed.
    • Remember the post-hike meal. Suggest a few local lunch spots or breweries to stop at on the way home.
    • Speaking of post-hike, share your hike photos with the group chat before anyone even has to ask.
    • And, last but not least, you can even be the favorite of people you’ve never hiked with. Write a trip report afterward to help inform other hikers of current trail conditions.
This article originally appeared in the Summer 2022 issue of Washington Trails Magazine. Support trails as a member of WTA to get your one-year subscription to the magazine.

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