7 Simple Tips for Hiking Etiquette

Etiquette is how you should act or behave. It’s a set of unspoken rules that society deems polite, or the correct way of doing things. There’s etiquette for everything from eating a meal at a table to meeting new people to walking a stretch of trail. Whether or not you follow these rules is up to you, but you should at least be aware of proper protocol. Here are seven things to keep in mind for hiking etiquette.

Reward the hard-working hikers

Uphill hikers have right of way, so step to the side and let them pass.

Of course, uphill hikers sometimes enjoy the excuse to take a break and let you continue downhill. Offering the trail is proper hiking etiquette, however.

It’s OK to pass

Don’t awkwardly step on the heels of a hiker in front of you, forcing them off to the wayside. Silently becoming a hiking party’s caboose is bad hiking etiquette. Just let them know that you are passing, or ask if they mind if you pass.

Similarly, if you notice that a hiker with a faster pace is closing the distance behind you, you can stand to the side and offer them the trail.

Keep trails clear

Make sure that you don’t stop for lunch right in the middle of the trail. Nothing invites awkward tension like accidentally kicking over someones cook pot while tiptoeing through the contents of a hiking backpack strewn across the trail.

Look for a good place to rest off the trail.

Greet your fellow hikers

You don’t have to swap life stories, although you can if you want to. Simply saying hello to other hikers is good hiking etiquette.

Talking to other hikers also lets you learn about trail conditions ahead, and telling others where you’re headed increases your chances of being rescued if something goes wrong along the way.

Take only pictures, leave only footsteps

Hiking etiquette isn’t just about your interactions with other hikers. It’s about your interactions with the environment, too. Do your part to keep nature natural by practicing the Leave No Trace Principles.

Should you make noise while hiking?

This is one of those gray areas of hiking etiquette. Some people say that you shouldn’t be too loud while hiking. You should keep your voice at a normal volume, and refrain from screaming, hollering, bellowing, or otherwise being super noisy.

The idea is that people want to enjoy the sounds of nature rather than the sound of your friends screaming and guffawing at your hilarious jokes.

Of course, you don’t want to creep through bear country, and people say that you should be loud while hiking if there’s the chance you could encounter a bear.

When nature calls

You should travel 200 feet from the trail and be 200 feet from a water source before relieving yourself. Be sure to bury solid waste.

Stop by and see us

Being in the wild doesn’t mean you have to act wild. Of course, minding your Ps and Qs on the trail may not be your highest priority, either. You’re on the trail to have fun and get away from society for a bit.

Just remember that you’re not the only one out there.

Stop by Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters for any hiking equipment, backpacking gear, camping supplies, or any other outdoor gear you need before your next outing!

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