Beware of Through-hikers!

posted Nov 30, 2019, 5:40 PM by Paul Wagner
We've been pretty impressed with the numbers of through-hikers who have posted their blogs and shared their experiences on various backpacking message boards and forums.  Perhaps it's all because of Cheryl Strayed, but there are a lot of people hiking major trails these days.

That's good.  We're all in favor of anything that gets people out into the mountains and encourages them to protect our wilderness areas.

But as we read their stories, it becomes quite clear that most of those through-hikers have a very different goal than we do when we go backpacking.  And that affects just about every kind of advice they give.  We think their advice is great--for people who want to hike 20+ miles a day for weeks at a time.  In that case, we fully understand why you would want to pack as little as possible, make do with minimal gear, and even go without cooking food to save the weight of your stove and gas.

We simply hike with different goals in mind, and our gear shows it.  iI fact, we take more gear on a single overnight trip than we might take for a week long trip.  Because we can.  Because for a single overnight, weight isn't a concern, and maybe a bottle of wine is worth carrying its weight.  Or on a base camp trip, where we hike for one day, then spend a few days exploring that area, then hiking back out again, we'll take a book or two to read.  Why not?  We only have to carry it for two of the days we're backpacking. 

We do like reading the trail logs of through-hikers.  But when it comes to packing our gear, we also make our own decisions.  We'll never hike 2500 miles in a summer, 250 miles is closer to wha
t we do, and so we tend to pack just a bit more for comfort, and less for speed.