In this post I will attempt to explain the different types of hikers. I’m not saying any one is better than the other, I’m just simply poking fun at all of them. Read and enjoy, don’t be THAT GUY and get offended if you relate a little too close to one!
The kitchen sink hiker-
These are the type that bring their entire house, including the kitchen sink with them on the trail. These are the type that are so incredibly overloaded and heavy that although being very fit cannot make it more than maybe 5 miles in a day because they’re so exhausted. Although well intentioned to be able to overcome any challenge presented to them on trail, they typically end up tired and in pain soon after starting. Usually they are spotted near the middle point of a climb, leaning on their poles or sitting on a log while sweat pours down their face and they are trying to catch their breath.
Plus side- As far as food goes, these hikers are the best to take a break or camp for the night with, as there is a chance they will have the best and most food that they are willing to share.
The gadget hiker-
The gadget hiker is similar to the kitchen sink hiker, but a little lighter and with all latest and greatest gadgets you can think of. These hikers will have bought out entire sections of REI for their 2 day hike. The gadget hiker will discuss with you (sometimes unsolicited and seemingly endlessly) how every piece of their gear works and how it is superior to your gear.
Plus side- If you need something, say a miniature screwdriver or a air mattress patch kit, they will most likely have it.
The survival hiker-
This hiker is the type that will usually be wearing some type of camo and large boots with thick wool socks during their hike. Although similar to the kitchen sink hiker, there are some differences. The survival hiker will typically be carrying a large and heavy pack, but a majority of their gear will be from military surplus stores. Usually they will have a large survival kit as well, fully stocked with everything from 550 cord to suture kits to little Altoid containers full of fishing line and hooks. The survival hiker eats MRE’s and a lot of beef jerky. Be aware- when cornered, you may be questioned (almost mockingly) as to why you are not concerned about your safety or survival while out in the wild. These hikers are convinced that mountain lions, bears, tweakers and the biggest snowstorm in history are all going to befall you at the same time and without notice.
Plus side- If you were to get attacked by a wild carnivorous beast, take rest in the fact that the survival hiker will most likely have a firearm, 2 folding knives, 1 bowie knife, tourniquets, a satellite phone, and just in case- a p38 can opener.
The ultralight hiker-
The ultralight hiker is one that is a mix between hiker trash, kitchen sink hiker, and the gadget hiker. The ultralight hiker will have everything you may want or need, but in a smaller, ultralight package. The ultralight hiker will raise their eyebrows at every piece of your gear, and whether asked or not will tell you (to the decimal) how much that gear weighs. If an ultralight hiker was to get pulled over by the police, he would spend a lot of time explaining to the officer why he is in possession of a small scale and so many Ziploc freezer quart bags. Also, there is rumors that the ultralight hiker is to blame for the wildfires along the PCT in 2016 and 2017. Apparently the friction from so much cuban fibre rubbing together along the trail built up enough heat to ignite the trail in several areas.
Plus side- When hiking with an ultralight hiker, there is never a shortage of conversation. Usually it is completely one sided, but hey- who doesn’t want to know every spec of every piece of gear manufactured since 1956?
The “hiker trash” hiker- A hiker that is easily confused with a homeless person, yet is closest to an ultralight hiker. A hiker trash hiker has found a way to minimize everything to the point where they can live off of very little gear and food. Usually you can smell these hikers before you can see them. Deodorant weighs too much, and it is said that by refusing to wear it, one becomes closer to the nature they are enjoying. This hiker can be found raiding the condiment packets of your friendly neighborhood bodega, or on the side of the road trying to hitch a ride into town for a resupply. You will also probably never know the hiker trash hiker’s real name, as they only respond to trail names. I.e.- “the ambassador”, “furball” or “star crunch”
Plus side- For tips on the best recipes out of the strangest foods that you didn’t know could be combined together, talk to these guys. Ever had tuna and pepperoni with honey mustard in a tortilla? Don’t knock it ’till you try it!