The Different Types & Groups of Hikers

Posted by Carmel Turner on

As you traverse the trails you come across all different types and groups of hikers doing the same thing.  However, broadly speaking hikers fall into five main categories depending on the length of time they intend to hike.  These are,

  • day hikers, who go out for anything from an hour to a full day but don’t stay out overnight,
  • overnight hikers, who are usually focused on a campsite objective and treating themselves to some s’mores
  • weekend hikers, who are the next step up from the overnight. Probably no s’mores for them as they have to plan a bit more and carry a 40litre water pack.
  • distance hikers who stay out more than 3 days. They are looking for solitude and reach places far from the trailhead that few others get to see.
  • thru hikers. The length of time involved in this pursuit varies from 4 days to 4 months and longer. A special breed of person not just of hiker, these are the nomads of the trail. A thru hike can take months of preparation and even more months of execution. However, the benefits they receive from their wanderings can reach a spiritual scale.

There are also subcategories to each category of hiker depending on individual interests. A few of the more popular are:-

  • photographers (one of the earliest was Ansell Adams pictured below)
  • bird watchers and
  • hunters

These types usually hike to a location, set up camp and then engage in each of their hobbies. One of the main things that sets them apart is the volume of gear they carry in pursuit of their hobby. It’s generally a longer harder climb for them but the results are well worth it, or so they say.

Different types and groups of hikers

Finally there are the Trail Runners who aren’t really hikers they are…..runners. Or as some say, blurs in the forest.  They pass you and you wonder how they can maneuver the huge tree roots going downhill without trekking poles and doing themselves a serious injury.  These guys can be found out most weekends on urban trails close to cities training for the next great endurance race. Just remember to stand clear when you hear them coming and let them play through, so to speak. Some are polite enough to call out as they pass to indicate how many of them are coming. “One of four passing” I’ve heard them yell.  Very thoughtful really.

The Groups of People on the Trail

How each person enjoys traveling the trail also varies.  People can hike as solos, as a couple or in larger type groups.  Each of these groups have identifiable characteristics and eight I have met personally are listed below.

1.Him and Her – He is always leading the way, climbs, or should I say runs up, every peak while she walks to the next location to make camp.

2.The Older couple. – You think they’ll never make it.  He has a paunch that throws a shadow and she is always trailing 20 metres behind. They actually do make it and head for the pub ready to do it all again the next day.  This group is more affectionately called 'The Trampers.'

Groups of hikers The older couple

3.The All-Guy Brigade – Four guys who have just made their first million on a startup and need a break before the next million.  Being nerds, they can all play bridge so are good company at night for a card game.

4.The All-girl Brigade – All are pretty fit, and chat incessantly, totally engrossed in whatever the other(s) is saying.  They all have an opinion and are always at the ready to throw out a bit of good advice if needed.

5.The Youth Group – Many young ones and three to four group leaders. All very happy and polite. You expect a rousing rendition of Kumbaya but no such luck (thank God!)

6.The Meetup Group – A large group of over 40s from both sexes, varying levels of fitness, some with dogs, some obviously wandering how they missed reading the bit about dogs being allowed.

7.The Solo Woman - She happens to be the Intrepid rep who is doing reconnaissance for the company, gathering information on the demographics of people on the hike.  Her blog post will be out in a month.

8.The Solo Man – It turns out he is the self-proclaimed custodian and guide of the hike. He picks up any litter he finds and imparts valuable information about the flora and fauna of the area.  He has also written a kids book about a wombat that inhabits the region, survived a serious illness by becoming a minimalist and lives off the grid near the trailhead.

So you can see that their are a great mixture of people to meet on the hiking trails. All with their own interests and reasons for hiking.  Let me know in the comments below what different types and groups of hikers you've encountered.

Finally for a bit of fun check out this Youtube Video for an hilarious look at the types of hikers others have met on the trails.  Happy trails!

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