Hikers behaving badly… here is our unofficial list of Hiking Tips and Trail Etiquette Rules. There’s one in every group right? Someone who just manages to inadvertently rub everyone up the wrong way by being completely clueless when out on a hike. Well, with a few of these pointers and tips, there doesn’t have to be… well, at least it doesn’t have to be you!
It pretty much comes down to the old golden rule of `do unto others’:
1) Don’t be late to the start – particularly important on coastal walks where access is determined by tide charts, or to get back in time for that hot date tonight.
2) Ready to go- arriving at the start means ready to jump out of the car and go. Trail etiquette means not eating breakfast, change your clothes or call your mum.
3) The numbers game- there are logical limits on how many people you can take in your hiking group in national parks. Too large a group, and you’ll always be waiting for someone along the wilderness trail. See American Hiking Society.
4) Rubbish- hiking tips and trail etiquette means you pack it in, pack it out. It’s that simple. This includes digging through the cold fire in the morning to remove your fishy tins.
5) Double check you have got everything– don’t need to impose on your friends and their coffee or teabag ration for the weekend.
6) Don’t overestimate your fitness or experience- be honest with the leader before the walk and during. Don’t ruin everyone else’s trip for the sake of your ego.
7) And if you are the leader and are having navigation wobbles – admit it and get others to help out
8) Leeches – sigh… you gotta love these little blood suckers don’t you! Just make sure that when you remove them, you flick them a good distance away from everyone else.
9) No one likes a cheapskate- some hikers are notoriously tight with their coin. If you’re lucky enough to carpool to a trip, ensure you give the driver a reasonable amount of money towards petrol and maintenance. Agreeing on the amount beforehand is a good idea. This is an important point in our hiking tips and trail etiquette list. Be appreciative! Just like tip number 12.
10) Not everyone appreciates their faces being shared on FaceBook- or stopping every 100m for a full tripod, long exposure shot.
11) If you’re going to get amorous in your tent… – just think of that awkward moment around the campfire the next day with the others in your group. AWKWARD!
12) Shout the leader a drink or a meal on the way home – show some gratitude for their time and experience putting on the trip.
13) If you’ve been eating beans – … and contributing to the planet’s methane levels with your intestinal air pillows, volunteer to be tail-end Charlie! Manners are important in trail etiquette – no one needs your gas emissions!
14) Smoking – I was delighted that national parks were declared no-smoking zones in past years. Yay there’s now a legal reason why you can’t smoke out on a hike!
15 ) Flickee vs flicker – thoughtful trail etiquette, remember it’s the responsibility of the flickee if they cop a face/mouth/eyeful of a branch, not the person in front (the flicker). If you get hit, you’re walking too close.
16) But on the other hand – it’s the walking poles user who needs to ensure they don’t skewer their fellow walkers with their poles.
17) Everyone walks for different reasons – Some like the silence of wild places, so don’t forget to draw breath and let there be stillness, rather than filling every second with your scintillating insights.
18) Mobile phones – if you need to keep it on for important reasons, perhaps choose a subtle ring-tone and vibrate to not disturb others. This huge point in our hiking tips and trail etiquette list. Using your phone can completely get others offside in the group.
19) Music / iPods – I really don’t care if someone listens to music or podcasts through earbuds as long as it doesn’t disturb anyone else, but having speakers playing music in the wilderness is just not cool.
20) Heads up – so everyone is ready to go at the same time, the leader should establish the length of the break at the beginning and offer a five-minute warning before the end.
21) Light the way, just don’t shine it in my eyes – Around the campsite at night, it’s easy to forget that by looking at someone you’re making them feel like they’re at the optometrist. Tilt head-torches down or turn them off when around the campfire.
22) Change for the better – if you’re carpooling, it’s polite to bring a change of clothes for the trip home (or visit to the pub). It means you don’t leave stinky, sweaty marks on someone’s car seats.
23) Keep to the left – or right, just pick one and allow faster people to pass you on a hill; walk at the pace of the slowest member in other areas and don’t race off ahead of the leader.
24) Many hands make light work – Hiking tips and trail etiquette means everyone pitches in for gathering firewood and water, lighting the fire or sharing cooking and clean-up tasks if you’re sharing food.
25) Toileting – that’s a whole other story that’s more about minimal impact hiking, so apart from the normal rules, ensure you go far enough away from the rest of your party so we can’t see or hear you.
26) Your “hiking clothes” may not be appreciated by everyone – so if you choose to swim naked, move away from the rest of the group.
27) In remote areas – you’d be lucky to find other hikers awake after 9 pm, so if you’re in a more popular area, keep noise down after 9pm.
Hiking Tips and Trail Etiquette Rules To Enhance Everyone’s Experience on Trail
As you know some national park trails can become busy and everyone wants to enjoy their time out in the wilderness. The takeaway notion here is that all hikers should keep in mind they should not damage, litter, or ruin the natural environment, nor spoil the experience of other hikers in the park. On day or longer hikes, you’ll meet many other hikers, bikers or horse riders on the trail, and it gives you an opportunity to meet new like minded friends or sometimes you can deepen your friendship with fellow hikers.
Before you plan on going on hiking trip, run a non biased self check that your mental, physical and technical capabilities are up to par. So, plan your trip accordingly, keep in mind our hiking tips and trail etiquette and this way problems or injuries can be easily avoided for everyone’s enjoyment!
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