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Backpacking with a non outdoor person

Going backpacking with someone who’s not an outdoor person .

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Re: Backpacking with a non outdoor person

@Herb_91: Great topic and good on you for taking a newcomer on their first backpacking trip! I am sure there is a lot of good advice out there but I would suggest a couple of things:

1) Know the person you are taking well enough to keep the trip well within their abilities. At the end of the day we want them to have fun, be safe, and want to go again!

2) If possible pick a trail with a cool payoff: stunning vista, alpine lake, waterfall, etc. One of my first backpacking trips was through Hole-in-the-wall in Olympic National Park and I still talk about it to this day!

3) If the person isn't really an 'outdoors person' keep that in mind as you can suggest creature comforts (pillows, lightweight backpacking chairs, a certian type of food, etc) as well as avoiding, as much as you can, any real fears the person may have (bears, bugs, etc.). 

Thanks for helping people get outside and enjoy nature!

John

At REI, we believe a life outdoors is a life well lived.
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Re: Backpacking with a non outdoor person

I was wondering about this myself but more along the lines of camping. I think I'm going to pass on the experience because this individual whines and complains constantly. Any advice?

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Re: Backpacking with a non outdoor person

I help with my son's scout troop and took a group on their first backpacking camping trip. You would not have believed the whining! When it rained - I want to go home. When it was a long hike - I want to go home. Fell in a stream - I want to go home (well maybe for that one). 

But the strange thing afterwards they all said they'd want to do it again. Why? I think they had a really good time playing Magic at night and built a fire - seeing that hey I got away and came back in one piece and while some parts were hard it was socially fun.

So maybe you think up a few key things that your friend really wants to do on the hike/camp and make those the highlights - that should outweigh the whining 😉

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Re: Backpacking with a non outdoor person


@WanderWoman wrote:

I was wondering about this myself but more along the lines of camping. I think I'm going to pass on the experience because this individual whines and complains constantly. Any advice?


1. Stop at Tractor Supply or other farm/ranch supply place.

2. Buy a cattle prod....  Smiley LOL

 

Seriously though,  my experience is that getting them involved where appropriate in the planning and resourcing can be a big help.

 

Lance

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Re: Backpacking with a non outdoor person

As someone who wasn't an outdoors person until around 4 years ago, be patient with us! Remind them of  how important it is to connect with nature and our environment 🙂 And ditto the note about having some creature comforts... Change won't happen overnight, but hopefully you'll gradually turn your buddy into an outdoors person! Good luck! 

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Re: Backpacking with a non outdoor person

I'll second the "Know your buddy" comment.  I have had a few friends that really wanted a challenge so we did Eagle Rock Loop (reportedly the hardest trail in Arkansas).  Not only did they barely survive it, but we talk about and reminice about it to this day... other times I have taken people on a 2 mile out and back into the Witchita Wildlife Refuge on an easy access trail to a valley surrounded with Elk infested mountains.  

I usually err on the side of low milage, easy access... and I always have a bail plan.  Showing people that bailing is an option (with a smile!) will make them more likely to join you next time.

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Re: Backpacking with a non outdoor person

I was wondering about this myself but more along the lines of camping. I think I'm going to pass on the experience because this individual whines and complains constantly. Any advice?

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Re: Backpacking with a non outdoor person

Start with day hikes, then an easy overnight. 

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Re: Backpacking with a non outdoor person

yes - day hikes come before any overnight trips.  BTW - Mono Pass (and back) via Rock Creek is a great day trip for a newbie. There is a lake at the top for fresh water. In August you could sleep up there and watch the Perseid meteor shower.  Or simply stay at Tom's Place (an alternative to the not the $$$ Rock Creek Resort).  

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