How did you meet most of your backpacking companions?

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Aug 13, 2019
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How did you meet most of your backpacking companions?

Do you have a handful or a few?

I only have a few backpacking friends....and that's OK until it isn't...

When the amount of backpacking friends you have can be counted on one hand it's great until you REALLY want to go and they can't go. Especially when it comes time for the big vacation type trip...then you're just flat out ****ed if they can't go, you won't go solo, and you'd be really resentful to pay a guide a lot of money to go with a group when you have a good idea what you are doing out there and are fully equipped....and that's IF they have a spot open on a trip that wouldn't be half as good as one you can think up.

Now let's talk about the local NYC area clubs where I'm at....people meeting up to drive 10 hours for a 2 day weekend in the Adirondacks...to do 15 mile days...or an overnight in Harriman Park, within eyesight of NYC and Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. NOT interested....the only thing I'd be interested in is maybe meeting one or two people I actually was compatible with...after doing a whole bunch of pretty MEH trips like that...for the purpose of friendship and doing MMUUCCHH better trips in the future.

But something has to give. In 2 weeks I have 2 weeks off and can go pretty much anywhere, but I have nobody to go with and so I'm in pissed off panic mode. I'll also be turning 54 so it's starting to feel REALLY urgent if I'm going to salvage my life in this department.

This should have been solved 20 years ago when I first started having this problem, but I wasn't up for the weekend trips that would feel like one-third driving or the milquetoast local trips when my mind was imagining things much more grand.

But that's probably what I had to do...maybe what I still have to do...

I'm open for advice...tear into me if you must...just don't suggest I go solo because it ain't happening.
 
Last edited:

Mike K

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Jul 6, 2012
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Tough situation! I only have one or two regular backpacking buddies. But I've backpacked with a wide variety of people of the years.

I've met my backpacking companions (guys and girls) in a variety of ways. High school buddies, college roommates, post-college roommates/friends, through church, friends of friends, coworkers, mountain biking acquaintances, river trip acquaintances, right here on backcountrypost, and lastly my spouse. I live in Utah where there are plenty of people who like to backpack and the backpacking opportunities in the region abound. So I feel lucky in that sense. I was also single/unmarried for many years which allowed me to live footloose and fancy free.

More recently my small group of regular backpackers has been banged up and/or really out of shape. So, I might find myself in your situation very soon. Yikes. I wouldn't be opposed to hitting people up here on bcp. Lots of great people on here. Some may not like a stranger joining there group but it might be worth asking around here. (I couldn't tell from your post if you're willing to travel across the country for backpacking opportunities or not).

How come no solo trips? (Not my first choice either, FYI - I rarely do it). Safety? Health? Companionship? I don't mean to open up a can of worms and maybe I'm prodding too much - but I'm curious. :) For me, I think it's just lonesome being solo. I get kind of scared/nervous too (not very manly to say, but kind of true). I'm getting up there in age (mid 40s) so safety, injury, health, etc. also play a factor).

Good luck finding something to do in two weeks!!
 

wsp_scott

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May 16, 2016
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907
I have one backpacking friend who lives about 6 hours from me. We try to meet up once a year, but the last couple years it has not happened. I have no idea how to meet people with similar interests, so I go solo.

I'm getting on a plane to Vegas tomorrow morning and spending 8 nights in the High Sierra by myself. I'll be a little lonely by day 5 and I'll definitely miss my family, but I need to do these things and my kids are too young and my wife won't. So, I'm solo. I'm 48 and have crappy knees and ankles, but I'm going to be careful and try not to kill myself :)

I think you should try a couple easy solo trips in the Adirondacks to get your confidence up and then book a flight or drive somewhere cool. For a first "cool" trip, I'd aim for something like the JMT where you are never alone if you don't want to be. Or don't do the cool things you obviously want to do and regret it in 20 more years. Your choice.
 

Udink

Disappointed, passed over.
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Jan 17, 2012
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I've only been backpacking with two different people--@pixie1339 who I met here on BCP, and @Chris Mosbacker who is a long-time friend. Strangely, I've only tried two solo backpacking trips and failed on both, never even ended up spending the night. But don't let that deter you (oh, wait, you don't even wanna be talked into solo trips). You may want to consider your demeanor when looking for partners, 'cause you kind of come across as a complainy-pants. And maybe it's different in the east. Here in Utah I feel like it's pretty easy to hook up with like-minded partners. I really enjoy when I see people from this forum get together, it seems to happen pretty frequently but mostly only in the western U.S.
 

Rockskipper

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Jun 11, 2017
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And I’ll add that your refusal to even try going solo and yet coming here to ask how to instantly find backpacking friends reminds me of some Greek fellow I read about in school. What was his name? Let’s see, I think it might be something like Sisyphus.
 

Wanderlust073

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Met a few at the gym years ago. Others online. Certainly go solo more often than with others.

The rest of your rant - you already posted all that before and got lots of ideas in response. If you want to ‘fix’ your situation then just fix it. Griping for twenty more years will change nothing.
 
Joined
Aug 13, 2019
Messages
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How come no solo trips? (Not my first choice either, FYI - I rarely do it). Safety? Health? Companionship? I don't mean to open up a can of worms and maybe I'm prodding too much - but I'm curious. :) For me, I think it's just lonesome being solo. I get kind of scared/nervous too (not very manly to say, but kind of true). I'm getting up there in age (mid 40s) so safety, injury, health, etc. also play a factor).

Definitely lonesome.
The fear of freaking out from it.
The fear of the likelihood I might get afraid out there.
Safety and comfort of being with at least one other person.
Everything you mentioned, doesn't make you less manly at all.
 
Joined
Aug 13, 2019
Messages
116
I think you should try a couple easy solo trips in the Adirondacks to get your confidence up and then book a flight or drive somewhere cool. For a first "cool" trip, I'd aim for something like the JMT where you are never alone if you don't want to be. Or don't do the cool things you obviously want to do and regret it in 20 more years. Your choice.

I don't think it's a confidence thing...I don't imagine myself adjusting to it. It would feel eerie and lonely being alone out there.
And I'm asking for suggestions for alternatives to that because I have already missed out on many trips because of not having anyone to go with and I want that to end ASAP.
 
Joined
Aug 13, 2019
Messages
116
Some may not like a stranger joining there group but it might be worth asking around here. (I couldn't tell from your post if you're willing to travel across the country for backpacking opportunities or not).

That's one of the problems, few people wanting to take a chance on a total stranger.

And yes, it's actually my preference to fly somewhere out west for my vacation backpacking trips.
 
Joined
Aug 13, 2019
Messages
116
I met both of my backpacking buddies at the local animal shelter. They’re always ready to go. The only problem is I have to do all the work, but I actually don’t mind. Their enthusiasm makes it all worthwhile.

I have enough extra gear to outfit 2 other male backpackers.
I bought my wife everything she would need, good gear, and I feel like she is backing out on me...definitely now for this trip but I feel like it might be her way of trying to get out of it now...for good.
 
Joined
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I've only been backpacking with two different people--@pixie1339 who I met here on BCP, and @Chris Mosbacker who is a long-time friend. Strangely, I've only tried two solo backpacking trips and failed on both, never even ended up spending the night. But don't let that deter you (oh, wait, you don't even wanna be talked into solo trips). You may want to consider your demeanor when looking for partners, 'cause you kind of come across as a complainy-pants. And maybe it's different in the east. Here in Utah I feel like it's pretty easy to hook up with like-minded partners. I really enjoy when I see people from this forum get together, it seems to happen pretty frequently but mostly only in the western U.S.

You'd complain too if you had a shed full of ****ing gear, enough in savings to make this happen...making sacrifices to get to be able to do that, plenty of vacation time and everyone you would normally turn to to go with says "No" or "I can't"...for seemingly the bazillionth time.

I don't have a demeanor problem. I woke up early this morning because I'm aggravated with repeated disappointment. Your head may have never been there....but I knew the suggestion of going solo would be coming and I just figured I'd tell people I'm not open to that suggestion ahead of time because I'm not. Don't mean to be rude, it's just not a solution to this for me.
 
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Messages
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Please let us know if you do get out for your two week journey. Sometimes I think you just come here for the attention or to daydream or for whatever, beats me what you’re after since you keep asking the same questions and having the same dilemma over and over.

Maybe I'm looking for a nice guy or a few nice guys to take a chance on me and invite me on one of their backpacking trips. Do you really not believe that I have an interest in wilderness and backpacking?

I come here because I'm very interested in this, but I'm isolated for some reason...I have only a few backpacking friends and when they can't go I get screwed. And I guess the problem of only having a few backpacking friends and not going solo....when they can go you kind of stop your mad search for others....and when they can't you wish you had more backpacking friends to turn to.

You know, you can criticize me however you like...seems like you like to...but please don't question my sincerity and love for the outdoors...that's a little ridiculous.
 
Joined
Aug 13, 2019
Messages
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Met a few at the gym years ago. Others online. Certainly go solo more often than with others.

The rest of your rant - you already posted all that before and got lots of ideas in response. If you want to ‘fix’ your situation then just fix it. Griping for twenty more years will change nothing.

How?

How do I fix it? I live in the NYC suburbs.
 

Jackson

I like to go outside.
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May 31, 2015
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Definitely lonesome.
The fear of freaking out from it.
The fear of the likelihood I might get afraid out there.
Safety and comfort of being with at least one other person.
Everything you mentioned, doesn't make you less manly at all.
Before I did my first solo outing, I had all of those worries, plus I just generally get homesick quickly. I went in spite of it and I'm glad I did. I don't go solo a ton still, but I know that I can if I ever need to get out. The hardest part for me just ends up being that I have a lot of free time that I'm not great at filling, even after covering 10-15 miles in a day.

The way I see it, you can either stay at home and lament not being able to get out, or you can face those fears (and I know it's hard to do) and give it a shot. If you end up having a good time, you've saved yourself from throwing away lots of great backpacking opportunities that will come in the future. If you end up disliking the experience, then at least you know you tried it and your fears were legitimate.

Either outcome is fine, but it would kill me to go my entire life denying myself opportunities to get into the wilderness because I was worried about going and then being afraid and in danger by myself. You're worrying that you're going to worry in the future. I think it's telling that nearly everyone on this site is encouraging you at least to try a solo trip. A lot of us probably (or definitely) felt the same way about it as you before our first solo trip, and most of us are telling you now that it ended up being worth it.

A good measure to make the experience slightly less solitary would be to rent a satellite phone or an InReach. That way you can communicate with your wife and have some security that if you somehow injure yourself, you've got a way to be in touch with the outside world.

It's your decision, and it's not a one-size-fits-all approach. But it seems to me that you should at least give it a shot before you write it off.

And I found my backpacking friends through college and my college job, through friends and coworkers of my wife, and through the internet. In all cases, I was not actively searching for someone to backpack with, but things just worked out. It's probably a little different when you live back east, so I don't have a ton of advice.
 

swmalone

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Apr 27, 2016
Messages
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I have been thinking about if I should comment on this because I get frustrated seeing your repeated posts that are primarily complaints about your current friends and wife.

Keep putting yourself out there. Plan trips with great detail and advance notice and see if you can find interested parties on here or other sites like meetup. Be open to people of different ages and different levels.

You seem to be limiting yourself by thinking some of these areas near you are beneath you or not worth your time. If you spent time with those individuals on the "meh" trips you might find someone that would be willing to join you on the trip of a lifetime for them to one of these pristine areas that you mention in other posts. I would suggest ensuring that if you do participate in those "meh" trips that you maybe keep your thoughts of how crappy you see those trips to yourself. I doubt you will gain backpacking buddies by crapping all over the trips that they do.

I have not been on a backpacking trip in several years. Some of that due to some injuries, but most due to changes in life situations, etc. I have adjusted because I still want to spend time enjoying the outdoors. We have done more day hikes, sometimes driving several hours to do a couple mile hike. We have started doing more car camping and doing longer day hikes in areas that we want to explore.

I understand venting but it seems like you either need to make some changes to how you are doing things and what you are open to trying or your primary outdoor activity is going to become bitching about the outdoor activities you don't participate in.
 

Jon Carbaugh

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Jul 8, 2015
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211
Just wondering if you have thought about trying, (or maybe you already have) to do some of the AT in New York or around there? A lot of hikes out here do not feel like you are alone at all. You sometimes have to really get out to find some solitude. I presume the AT would be similar, lot's of people on the trail to talk to, and with the shelters and designated campsites, you would probably have other people around all the time. You might find some backpacking buddies doing something like that.
If all else fails, and you don't want to "waste" your vacation, I would suggest flying out west somewhere and plan on driving around the many awesome mountain ranges, camp at campgrounds and doing some day hikes. And, if you so choose, you could pretty much pick any trail around any mountains out west, hike in to the nearest lake and be around a lot of other people the entire time, especially on the weekends.
 
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