Choosing the right hiking buddy shouldn’t be a problem. If both hikers have the will, and enjoy spending time outdoors, then you’re good to go.
But there are a few considerations you should take into account when making this decision.
Durability & Distance
One of the greatest things about hiking is its infinite variations on distance. From short casual rambles to epic multiday hauls, hikers can easily adjust distance requirements to suit their durability levels.
It’s fairly important to pair up with somebody who’s in the mood to hike the same distance as you. I’ve been on hikes where I felt like I could go on forever, but the person I was with was totally beat. I was a little bummed we had to make camp earlier than expected.
Sometimes your potential buddy will talk a good talk about how rugged he/she is, but when it comes down to it, they just don’t possess the durability it often requires to take on burly routes.
On the other hand, it will work out great if the two of you prefer low-key strolls.
Skills play into the durability and distance factor. The longer, more technical the hike, the more skills you and your buddy should possess.
You and your buddy can get away with wearing flip flops and T-shirts on those short walks through the woods.
Both of you are going to want to know how to read maps, find water, administer first aid, and much, much more if you plan on staying a few nights out there.
Outdoor skill levels vary greatly. You probably won’t enjoy being the only person on an overnighter who knows how to do everything.
An equally important consideration, gear also boils down to short casual rambles versus epic multiday hauls.
Relying on cheap gear between the two of you is acceptable if you’re cruising around the woods for the day.
Try using the same subpar gear on longer trips, and you’ll regret every minute of your life.
I’ve been on a few overnighters with hiking buddies whose gear was complete garbage. We’d have to stop often to adjust their faulty pack straps, leaky hydration tubes, and more. It can become frustrating for the one hiker with decent gear.
If your buddy doesn’t have the proper gear, but really wants to spend a few nights in the wild, suggest rentals. It will keep both of you happier in the long run.
What do you look for in a hiking buddy, if anything at all?