5 ways to be a good hiking buddy:
1. Put others (or the group’s interest) first before self – By far in my opinion, the most important aspect of being a good hiking buddy. Each person must know their own and the needs of the others within the group. There will be differences in needs among people and the key here is to be willing to compromise.
For example, some hikers are early riser and wants to start hiking at dawn but others may prefer to sleep in a little more. Or for another example, one may prefer to hike at a slower pace enjoying the scenery and taking photos whereby some others may love the accomplishment of hiking to point A to B at the shortest quickest time.
Therefore, being willing to compromise and consider the interest of others to be as equally important as your own will make you a good hiking buddy in no time.
2. Carry your fair share of the weight – Often while hiking we do not carry every single piece of equipment we intend to use. It is common that shared equipments like tents, gas stove, cooking equipments etc. are split among the group. This reduces duplications and the burden of carry so many items.
It is hence important to allocate sufficient space in your back pack for these shared equipment. Coming with a full bag with no more space to carry these shared items is totally unfair to the rest of the group.
A stronger hiker may consider volunteering to carry more items to ease the load for the weaker ones.
3. Being around and providing support for others in difficulties – Unless agreed upon, never venture too far away from your buddy or group. Your buddy behind could have fallen and got hurt, and being so far away, you are not aware of their situation to render assistance.
Of course you do not have to be within arms reach from your buddy at all times, everyone needs their own space. A good gauge is to keep within visual distance or within earshot (or whistle distance) from your buddy or the other members of your group.
For whatever reason that you may need to go ahead or lack behind your buddy or the group, always inform and discuss with them on your intentions before “disappearing”.
4. Be aware of your personal problems – Addressing your issue at hand and seek for your buddy or group understanding on the matter will relief future misunderstanding. It will be even better if you can attempt to provide some form of solution to your problem.
For example, if you have body odour or heavy snoring, wear some deodorant or provide ear plugs for your buddies may provide relief to the situation. Although it may not solve the problem entirely, your buddies will appreciate the effort you put in and be more understanding on your issues you are dealing with.
5. Do not criticise others for a different way of doing things – This is a good reminder for experienced hikers. It is one thing to share ideas and your experiences, but another to belittle the efforts of others.
A good rule of thumb to follow is to educate without being condescending. By doing so, you will go far with the relationship with your hiking buddies and group.
Check out the next post in this series, 5 ways to be a Good Camper here.