All sorts of people go on hiking trips, right? Actually, no. Only seven types of people go on hiking trips, and we’ve seen them all. Are you on there? Find out below in this conveniently digestible list.
We’re aware that this might sound like a bold claim, but hear us out on this one. Of course, hikers come in all shapes and sizes, from all sorts of different backgrounds and cultures and with all sorts of different personalities, interests and hiking boots, but for some reason, when you stick someone up on a mountain, three days into a week-long hike or something similar, their behaviour normally fits neatly into one of the seven categories below.
If you’re reading this, then there’s a good chance you’re probably one of them. And if not… well, then let us know what we’ve missed out! Here’s the list:
1) The “All the Kit” Person
The super-high-tech hiker has all the latest kit, from the rain jacket that weighs approximately 19 grams and packs down into a bitesize package to the Gore-Tex boots that look like they cost more than a small car and carbon hiking poles custom-fitted in a small factory in Italy.
There is a good chance that this person looked at an online list of hiking essentials and accessories before this trip, and then took it to the nearest outdoor shop and pretty much bought all of it. Look at them. They are so shiny. How are they so shiny? They have hiked for days in the mud of the forest, and somehow, they are still so shiny. It makes no sense.
The “All the Kit” person is great to hike next to because if anything goes wrong, they’ve got whatever you need to fix the problem in their giant rucksack. Need to super glue your shoe back on? No problem. Need a plaster in the shape of a dinosaur? For one reason or another, they’ve got it. Need water? They brought eight bottles. For this, we love them dearly.
2) The Minimalist
On the complete other end of the spectrum is the minimalist hiker, who brings next to nothing with them on the trip.
The first time you’ll notice this is when you see that the only luggage they’ve brought is the size of a regulation backpack – however sturdy – and then days later, all of your suspicions will be confirmed as you notice, with quiet intrigue and a note of admiration, that they’ve been wearing the same clothes for four days and only changing their underwear and socks each morning.
There are two kinds of the minimalist, though.
One is a super in-the-know hiker who has seen it all before, been on many-a-hike and likes to keep their weight down. They’re a survivalist, and they know what they’re doing. They can get by with very little. The other type of minimalist is a naive, somewhat cocky newbie who thinks they’re a survivalist, and in actuality will end up eating all your snacks all day and whining about how their t-shirt stinks and they’re being eaten alive by mosquitos. They’ll make fun of your hiking poles at first, then end up using makeshift hiking poles made from branches of the forest floor. Don’t be that guy. Nobody wants that guy.
3) The Photographer
The photographer comes in many different forms and with many different habits, but the one uniting feature of all of them is that the way they travel is defined and moulded to their hunt for the perfect image.
Whether they’re a selfie king or queen, hiking for the view spots or to enact bizarre comedy routines for their snapchat friends, or more serious about the endeavour, and carrying their Nikon round their neck with them everywhere they go, the photographer tends to be quite an elusive presence on a hiking trip, because they’ve normally either stormed ahead to take photos, gone off trail to find that special shot, or are half an hour behind the rest of the pack because they’re in the middle of a photo shoot.
Even if that is the case, though, it’s hard to complain. You’re probably going to end up using one of their photographs as your Facebook profile pic and desktop background for the new twelve months.
4) The Navigator
The navigator and the guide are not always the same person, though they normally do tend to travel together, because the amateur navigator, for one reason or another, is intrinsically built to lead groups, and is endlessly intrigued by the proposition of how one manages to find their way through a forest/jungle/mountain [delete as appropriate] and back out again.
The navigator will always have a compass and a map – either old school or digital – on them and takes great pride in knowing, OS Map symbols and where the route ahead is going to take them without needing the help of the guide. They also have a lot of niche facts about the local area that even the guides didn’t know and, for some reason, know an awful lot about moss.
The navigator is upbeat, eager to please, and pines for the Age of Exploration when the world map was still incomplete.
5) The Scarily Fit Newbie (S.F.N)
The Scarily Fit Newbie claims that they have never been on a hike before, but they visibly are in very, very good shape. They also claim they don’t go the gym, though do admit to being a disciple of yoga, pilates and mindfulness, and have the diet of a saint.
They have studied the breathing techniques of Wim Hof and have a huge bank of knowledge about physical exercises and spiritual endeavours and outputs you had no idea were real, and as such, they also apparently seem to be the world’s best hiker. Which is totally unfair.
Unaffected by baking heat, freezing cold, pouring rain or gale-force winds, unbitten by the local mosquitos and perfectly capable of getting a full nights sleep in a dodgy hammock, you will become increasingly convinced that the S.F.N is a robot. They don’t even seem to sweat.
You won’t get to ask them though, as they’ll be too far in front of the hiking group, and by the time you get to camp, they’ve already eaten their dinner and gone off to meditate.
6) The Bucket Lister
The bucket lister is on your hike in order to tick off one of the many wondrous items they stuck on a list when they were 15 years old, and decided was legit enough to see through.
Unflappable in terms of morale, the Bucket Lister can be anyone from a gap year student to a shop assistant at Sainsbury’s, putting in the night shifts in order to fund their dream travels.
They aren’t always the fittest or the best hikers, but their glass-half-full hearts dream big and they follow through on their word. They’ll have visited every continent by the time they’re 50, and are far from impartial to sharing a motivational quote on their social media channels.
The Bucket Lister can easily be spotted as someone who throws up on the hike while smiling and saying something along the lines of “this is what it’s all about”. They mean it, too.
Typically, the Bucket Lister will team up with The Photographer for much of the hike.
7) The Mother/ Father Figure
The Mother or Father figure has seen it all before.
They can’t keep up with you young kids anymore, they joke, but really they’re just in no rush, so they’re happy to watch the hiking pack disappear into the distance on the trail. They stroll mindfully on their own time and in their own world and are happy to regale frankly astounding stories from their youth about the time they went kayaking down a waterfall with Frank Zappa or something ridiculous like that. They also have exactly the right amount of kit – though they pack a bit heavier than they need so they can share some stuff with The Minimalist when they inevitably come calling.
The Mother or Father figure is a consistent hiker. They’re not speedy, but they stroll steadily with whoever fancies taking their pace that day. They impart wisdom, and when the Bucket Lister is throwing up, they’re the ones holding their hair back or offering them water.
Where would we be without them?
The Mother or Father figure can appear to be a loner at times, wandering along by themselves, but this is only because they’ve don’t feel they need to make small chat. They’re always welcoming, and most importantly, are always there when you need them most.
Are you in there? If you don’t know, now’s the time to find out! Explore our collection of hiking and trekking holidays, with only the best local guides and hosts. Hand-picked by us, loved by you.