Most people can be considered normal hikers—kind, courteous, just looking to enjoy the outdoors. Others… well, they become part of our campfire stories.
These 10 types of hikers are very different, but sometimes they all trek together in the same group. You’re likely a mix of two or more of them. I’ll be the first to admit I’m the Leader of the Pack, Slow and Steady and Selfie Star, while my boyfriend is a Pack Mule and Instagram Partner (by choice, he assures me).
Read the types below and tell us—which type of hiker are you?
The Leader of the Pack
This type of hiker is most definitely Type A. Did you plan the entire adventure, research the best time of day to go, find where to park and sign up for the day pass permit? Did you get frustrated when no one else packed snacks or enough water, but you already had extras on hand? Then you’re the Leader of the Pack. Every hiking group needs one, or we’d never actually make it to the trail.
The Racing Record Setter
These hikers time their treks and actually keep a record of the results. They get outside for exercise and bragging rights. They’ll blow past you on the trail while slurping an energy gel and blasting music through their headphones. They aren’t outside to sightsee—nature is a blur at their speed. If your hiking buddies can never keep up and you’re always pushing yourself to beat your personal best, you’re the Racing Record Setter.
The Slow and Steady
Do you like to stop and smell the roses (literally)? Pause and chat with heavy-breathing hikers along an uphill climb? Take photographs of every small detail no matter how much time it adds onto your hike? If you annoy your hiking buddies by taking five hours on a two-hour trek, then you’re probably the Slow and Steady hiker. Hey, there’s no rush—just be ready to put on your headlamp in case you don’t make it back down before sunset.
This type of hiker has top-notch, specifically chosen gear they can (and will) talk about for the entire hike. With a single glance, they can tell if your backpack fits properly, which brand it is and which season it’s from. If your gear is high-performance, theirs is higher performance—always. They boast brand-name, ultra-lightweight gear that still looks brand-new because it’s probably barely used.
Everything but the Kitchen Sink Hiker
It might only be a day hike, but this hiker is prepared. Need a pop-up hammock? A hot meal? An extra pair of shoes? A picnic spread with wine, cheese and crackers? As chronic overpackers, these hikers carry the 10 essentials… plus 25 more items you don’t really need. Most of what they carry will make you question if they are going for a day hike or planning to live in the forest for the next two weeks.
This is the type of hiker you always want around in case disaster strikes. They can make a shelter or fire with next to no materials and discern which berries are safe to eat so you don’t starve. They know the difference between grizzly bear scat and black bear poop. They always have a handy DIY tip or hiking hack. Though they are often spouting facts no one asked for, listen up—you might learn something interesting (or life-saving).
The antithesis of the Survivalist, the Fashionista is dressed to impress in the wilderness. Red bikinis, flowy dresses and floppy sun hats are some of the impractical outfits they love to show off (typically after changing at the summit). They always look put together when everyone else is dishevelled and dirty. Their hair bounces voluminously down the trail; they don’t sweat, they glow. (One look in their pocket mirror confirms it.)
The Selfie Star
The Selfie Star is always ready for their close-up with a preplanned laugh. They announce their adventure into their phone’s selfie camera as if they’re talking to a friend on FaceTime (spoiler alert: it's just their followers). They set up a tripod to take a candid video of themselves prancing along the trail and pose, back to the camera, overlooking a glacial lake they might dip into (pics or it didn’t happen). They will definitely be posting about it on TikTok and Instagram later.
The Pack Mule
The Pack Mule takes the weight of the hiking group onto their back—literally. They let everyone slip their water bottles, phones, keys, cameras, sunglasses, sunscreen, extra layers and a few heavy rocks into their backpack—and they never complain. Even if they didn’t bring a backpack, they end up carrying everyone else’s stuff and whatever small dog came along.
The Instagram Partner
The Instagram Partner trudges up difficult trails and crawls onto rocky outcroppings to get the best angles for their partner’s impromptu nature photoshoot. They are almost always behind the camera; when it looks like someone travels solo but has a personal photographer, there might be an Instagram Partner involved. They stand for hundreds of snaps and “just one more,” happy to be an unpaid social media manager as long as they are adequately fed and watered.
Did we miss a type? Let us know!