The best / ideal conditions/ criteria to backpack with a stranger / allow a stranger to backpack with you...

Aug 13, 2019
As many of you are aware of by now I had hoped to do some backpacking out west in the next 2 weeks. It's looking like it's not going to happen, primarily due to not wanting to backpack alone...and being very apprehensive about going solo. My few backpacking friends can't make it and my wife, who enjoys it when conditions are right and we don't try to do too much physically is regularly having what is believed to be vestibular migraines and she is not up for it as she is trying different things to try to get relief this summer before the school year starts (she's a teacher).

I've allowed things to get this far as canceling trips through the years for lack of having enough people to turn to to go on a trip with. It feels bad every time but it's starting to feel "compounding" I've had enough and never want this to happen to me ever again.

So I'd like to discuss what you ladies and gentlemen feel is your "criteria" when you have been willing to take a chance on backpacking with someone you only know of through the internet.

I would guess short trips are number one....nobody would want to commit to a long trip with someone they don't know.

The only bummer here is when I do vacation trips out west I wouldn't mind trying to pack for and do 7 day trips...perhaps to get into wilderness that you can't reach in less time.

But that might have to wait until more people know me and trust me (and vice versa)...which would require shorter trips to build up to that.

Knowing how strong someone is and how many miles they want to do per day is another big one...for the record I like to do 6 to 10 miles a day depending on the difficulty of the hike.

Another one might be backpacking style...some people may want to do many miles and get in to camp late...they prefer the hiking to the camping and relaxing. I like to hike moderate distances and get into camp at a good time to enjoy the place, especially if it will be an exceptional spot. I backpack primarily to camp in the wilderness, that's my main goal of backpacking. Doing moderate distances also allows you to enjoy the place a bit in the morning, not feeling like you have to get moving fast because you need the daylight to do many miles that day. The latter may be other people's style...many backpackers enjoy doing 15 to 20 mile days. This is perfectly fine obviously but it would definitely make us a mismatch....and it has kept me from going on quite a few meetups that I have seen on the internet.

I have to admit if I got my pack weight down I could probably go further but I dread replacing very good expensive gear with very good lighter expensive gear!

I guess I hope this discussion will help me and perhaps others match up with people that might be compatible...mostly for the future, so I stop NOT going on trips because of not having people to go with. I might be one of the few people whining about this but I'm probably not the only one frustrated by it.

I'm supposed to be on vacation the next 2 weeks. It's too bad I didn't think to post a thread about looking for others to do a bunch of 3 day trips over the course of 2 weeks. Many people might take a chance on a stranger for 3 days if their gut instinct is the person is OK.. The problem would be nailing down a specific geographical location.

I'd still be interested if anyone asked me to go on a 3 day trip...but ideally a few people ask me to go on a few trips in the same area over the next 2 weeks, to justify flying out west and renting a car.

Right now I have to make a decision to take this vacation time now and not do much of anything or perhaps coming in to work and taking what is available in September. I also have the week before and leading up to Labor Day off.

Well, this is exclusive to me, I live 30 miles north of NYC. Give me a shout if you live in the northeast and like to do trips in the Adirondacks.

For people out west I'd love to do trips in Washington, Yellowstone and Glacier NP....and north into Canada when things return to normal...I guess these trips will be harder unless I have a few lined up...wouldn't want to go out west to be alone 75% of the time and committing to a longer one, not knowing each other, would be understandably unlikely / risky.

Wish me luck going forward and enjoy your time out there...I'm sure I'll find a way to get an Adirondack trip in in the next 2 months...will be great but will also come with quite a bit of "been there done that".

Right now I'm kicking around the idea of heading to Maine to do some of the 100 Mile Wilderness southbound from near Katahdin to some campsites on the lakes...perhaps congratulating AT hikers as they are near finished...probably assured of having a steady flow of them through there...and perhaps hiking Katahdin from the knife edge side...never did Katahdin from that side, only the AT side...25 years ago when I was stationed in Maine while in the Navy. Can also pass through NH and spend a few days with my 83 year old Dad...

I just have to get off my *** to commit to something....but it's a lot easier when you know you have someone to enjoy it with.
It helps to have read some of their trip reports so you know what places they go, how far they go, etc. I've never been with anyone I met online without at least having seen a handful of trip reports they've done and having interacted with them a good amount online. I've been on dayhikes with or met others under other circumstances before ever going backpacking with them as well.
It helps to have read some of their trip reports so you know what places they go, how far they go, etc. I've never been with anyone I met online without at least having seen a handful of trip reports they've done and having interacted with them a good amount online. I've been on dayhikes with or met others under other circumstances before ever going backpacking with them as well.

I think doing day hikes would be ideal for getting to know people / low commitment, but I heard a statistic that most hikers don't backpack, so I think I have to find my way into clubs and meetups in which people specifically want to backpack.
Trip reports !!!!!

I originally started a blog for myself when I realized that I was taking photos on trips and never looking at them later. But I later realized that I have built a backpacking "resume". At this point, I have documented a lot of different trips so anyone would have an idea of what I am capable of doing and what kind of trips I like to do.

I have never met up with anyone from online, but the only way I would do it is if I could see some previous trips that person had done. Ideally the report would be more detailed than just a couple photos, maybe some details about what went right vs wrong or how weather was dealt with.
One of the best moves I ever did was to join a Meetup hiking group when I retired. I got lucky and found the right group for me. Their slogan was "No Cakewalks for Us". CT based, but did frequent trips, including backpacks up Mt Whitney, Banff, Sequoia, Pantagonia. The leaders were careful to qualify who could attend bigger events. Had to come on local day hikes to qualify for more challenging events like NH 48 and backpacks in the 100 mile wilderness. Those that did well there had a chance to climb Mt Washington in winter, backpack the Whites and Maine in winter, and go on the larger trips. Ability, attitude and skill factored in. Couldn't have anyone that wanted to constantly run ahead or couldn't keep up. I learned a lot from being with very experienced hikers.

Other organizations like AMC (also available on Meetup) are in your area. Might be worth looking into. Just need to find the right leader.

Obviously, BCP has a forum for people to backpack together. I'd consider any of those if timing were right and felt I'd be decent company and not a burden. Matching speed, goals and personalities etc. isn't easy.