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Topic: Backpacking Etiquette, Should there be a rule for that?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 12:25 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hey folks,

Assistant editor Maren Kasselik here.  

What are the most baffling trail quandaries that should require a clear-cut rule?  Reply with a quandary or answer another user's question -- no rules, anything goes.

A few on my mind:
- Is it ok to give yourself a trail name?
- If I'm skinny-dipping, am I obliged to inform approaching hikers of my nudity?  Do the rules change the deeper you get into the wilderness?
- If I'm yo-yo'ing on the trail with another group, do I have to say hello on the second pass?

What else do you wish there was an official rule for?
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 12:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

QUOTE
- If I'm skinny-dipping, am I obliged to inform approaching hikers of my nudity?  Do the rules change the deeper you get into the wilderness?


I would. Usually, my skinny-dipping is in high mountain lakes that are so cold that I'm in and out so fast that there's almost zero chance of being seen. But, yeah, I'd call out to approaching hikers.

QUOTE
- If I'm yo-yo'ing on the trail with another group, do I have to say hello on the second pass?


Once is enough, IMHO.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 12:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

While I'm not a trail name type, I don't see any issue with it other than people insisting I have a trail name.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 1:06 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Trail name ... I resist that but I do not insist.  I was given a trail name, The Pope, and I have my own trail name, RumiDude.  Whenever I introduce myself to others on the trail, I almost always use the name given to me by my parents.  *bigdonot calmelatefordinnergrins*

Rumi


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 1:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I fully support and sympathize with official rules intended to further protecting the environment and preserving visitor's experience (so maybe the skinny-dipping thing) but social etiquette? Nope.

But then again were I amenable to such lockstep groupthink I'd probably not hike solo so much eh?
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 1:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have noticed that many people who smoke marijuana in the backcountry do not bother to hide it.  It doesn't bother me but ... well some people are sensitive to such displays.  And most of those who would be bothered by that would propbably not be bothers if someone pulled out a flask of adult beverage and had a snort or two. The same applies to people smoking pipes, cigars, and cigarettes, as long as they don't liter.

One caveat, even though marijuana is alloed in Colorado and my home state of Washington, it is still against the law on federal land.  The LE rangers still give out citations for such activity.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 1:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If you call out and tell me you are skinny dipping, will you be offended if I take out my binoculars and camera?

I see no reason for any rules, and that big Uphill hikers have the Right of Way thing is nice, but when I am going uphill I like the brief rest while catching my breath.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 1:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

True trail names must always be bestowed by another (hiker) and usually include some absurd type of verifiable story of how acquired.

At least that was how this was explained at the PCT Kickoff a few years back.
BTW, Trail name = Ansel


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 2:44 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If you are in a group, headlights should be aimed down, as a rule.
If you are going to fart, do it outside the tent.
If there is booze present, it should be offered if it is going to be brought out.
If you are going to go to the bathroom, you should travel far enough away so that not only do I not have to see you, I don't want to hear you...
Don't walk through a person's campsite without permission. There should be a boundary of about ten feet minimum that you should walk around.
If a woman is planning on taking off her clothing, she should at least warn me so I can go get my camera...
Trail names should be given as a rule.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 2:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

No eating chili with hardboiled eggs the night before going on a group hike.

If you are going to fart, go to the end of the line and/or downwind.

Don't pee directly on the narrow icy trail being used by hundreds of hikers. Especially when blaring Glass Tiger or similar Canadian glam-rock through your headphones at a level that others can hear.

If you send a rock flying down a cliff face or trail, yell "ROCK!" so others can move out of the way.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 3:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yes, I can give myself a trail name (if I really feel the need to even have one).

Yes, please warn me of you skinny dipping. And I'll do the same so that the ladies can get a head start running and screaming into the woods from horror.

Repeatedly saying hello is going to make me wonder if you got hit by a rock on the head.

If I'm solo camping, I probably am not interested in having a discussion with you.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 3:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We give ourselves avatars and nicknames for the forums we join so of course you can give yourself a trail name.  However, my rule is that your trail etiquette will play a huge roll in determining what I call you.

It seems a little twisted to announce your nudity to everyone that comes along.  "Hey, I'm naked over here."  I mean, you're in the water, and if not then cover up.  Unless you are in an area where you shouldn't be skinny dipping, I think most backpackers would not care, and probably even assume you're nude.    

Saying hello every time you leapfrog the same group seems a bit boring.  A simple wave as you pass or an announcement of your presence if necessary would suffice, unless you have something specific to say or ask.  Nothing wrong with sharing a joke or establishing some camaraderie if your going to keep meeting.  I like to say something about a person's gear or whatever seems appropriate at the time to feel out the attitude of those I'm going to be seeing often.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 3:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Nude Sunbathing!

Let me be more specific; nude sunbathing on a busy trail (in this case, the Appalachian Trail).  My daughter, then 13 years old, and I walked up on a couple lying 25 feet from the trail on an open bald in Virginia.  Now, if they were 10 miles into the back country (maybe off trail) I wouldn't have a problem with it, but this was a holiday weekend at a very busy and popular area of the AT.

Now, before you go judging me, I think nudity is a great thing, but there is a time a place for everything.

Etiquette that should be used everywhere:  "common sense"


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 4:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(MarenBP @ Nov. 27 2013, 12:25 pm)
QUOTE
- Is it ok to give yourself a trail name?
- If I'm skinny-dipping, am I obliged to inform approaching hikers of my nudity?  Do the rules change the deeper you get into the wilderness?
- If I'm yo-yo'ing on the trail with another group, do I have to say hello on the second pass?

I don't get the trail name thing. My wife & I are planning the AT for 2015, and I have to say that's one of the more baffling things I've heard about. Hello, my name is Pete - just Pete.

If I have no way of hiding myself, I'll probably shout out - but I'm pretty darn fast with my bone-chilling cold dunks. More than a day in from the nearest road? Then it's up to the person walking to avoid their eyes I think.

I usually say something funny on the second pass if there is very little trail traffic overall, but this doesn't come up hardly ever around the parts we hike.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 4:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

When I yo-yo on the trail I always maintain at least two string lengths between myself and the other hiker.  They still flinch when you start your 'Over the Waterfall' maneuver directly towards them.  If you are closer than two sting lenghts is kind of pisses them off.

Welcome to the forum Maren.
How do you feel about brussels sprouts ?

Oh, that skinny dipping thing reminds me, I need a new camera.
Thanks


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 5:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi Maren,

Trail name? No one I've hiked with uses them.  More of a thru hiker issue.

Your skinny dipping question infers a person doing so along a trail.  That would be an issue in itself in popular areas.  A person who arrogantly exposes their nakedness to the public in places such is not expected, regardless of their opinions on the subject, is being inconsiderate to others.  In remote areas where few or no others can be expected over a period of hours, not much an issue even along a trail.

In passing others on trails one will find some that always say hello with a smile while good numbers of others will only glance at one's face with a smile and some others will look at the ground or elsewhere not making eye contact once nearing 50 feet or so.   Same thing walking down a city street. The closer to trailheads, the more likely people will just walk by.  But if one is out 2 or more hiking days from trailheads, many of us enjoy not only saying hello on passing but also might start a short conversation.   There are all types of people and many simply have poor skills at small talk so avoid encouraging others they pass from trying to start conversations.  What is comes down to is having good non-verbal communication awareness knowing when to engage others and when not too.


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trail? I don't need no stinkin trail!
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 5:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(MarenBP @ Nov. 27 2013, 10:25 am)
QUOTE
- If I'm skinny-dipping, am I obliged to inform approaching hikers of my nudity?

Please do.  Otherwise, I might walk right on by and not notice you.  :O
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 7:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

1. Don't really care either way about trail names

2. Depends on location, if you are off-trail and in the backcountry it's now up to them to avoid you, should they be so prudish. Close to a trail? Keep your clothes close.

3. You could say something besides hello, but I don't care either way


+1 to not walking through someones camp uninvited. In fact I would add, don't go near anyones camp univited. 10 feet is not enough unless they are by the trail.


Don't camp near anyone if you are going to be obnoxious.

Pay attention to your pets and kids.

At least attempt to practice some form of leave no trace.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 7:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You guys don't get laid much, do you?
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 7:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Wow, lots of rules here  :D

All I can say is, be respectful of other hikers. Like Cloudwalker said - common sense.


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(wycanislatrans @ Nov. 27 2013, 4:10 pm)
QUOTE
+1 to not walking through someones camp uninvited. In fact I would add, don't go near anyones camp univited. 10 feet is not enough unless they are by the trail.

To me this is like the rule about not snowshoeing over ski tracks in open country.  Often there is only one practical path and I am going to take that path. If you have camped in that path then ... well "hello, my trail name is ..."

Rumi~the practical~Dude


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(BCPete1 @ Nov. 27 2013, 4:07 pm)
QUOTE
I don't get the trail name thing. My wife & I are planning the AT for 2015, and I have to say that's one of the more baffling things I've heard about.

Indeed, thru hikers operate by a strange set of rules not followed by most rational hikers. Things which make no sense here now, somehow seemed logical after 100+ trail days @ 24 miles a day.

You mention "planning the AT, 2015".
Ask again afterwards if you are still baffled.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 9:55 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

An important issue though one we don't need a black and white official rule for due to the wide range of situations but rather common sense is not camping too close to other groups.  Giving others reasonable space.  It is certainly a common issue that regularly annoys backpackers.   Of course there is a vague recommendation of 100 feet from trails and 100 feet from other camps.  

An example of a reasonable exception would be at timberline areas where high winds are often an issue, there may be limited campspots.   But otherwise where more remote sites are simply a matter of making a minor effort searching, it is a prime reason we rarely camp along trails at popular destinations.  

Usual is the situation where groups have hiked several miles up a mountain from a trailhead only to plunk down at the first open campspot at some popular timberline lake.  Thus one may find several campsites taken all one to two hundred feet apart along the lake edge while other areas around a lake away from the trail are virtually empty.   In that situation if one chose one of the community campspots, one ought not complain.  However if a group decides to ramble off trail around a lake to some more remote site, I am not likely to be amused even if a group sites their campspot a couple hundred feet from where we have especially if they site between our spot and the lake edge that would mean having to walk through their camp area. Thus the issue takes common sense being aware and considerate of how other groups might feel.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 27 2013, 10:15 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

No rules.  I hate rules.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2013, 1:05 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The 2nd time, I say "Hello again," and laugh.  After that, I just nod.

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(RumiDude @ Nov. 27 2013, 5:48 pm)
QUOTE

(wycanislatrans @ Nov. 27 2013, 4:10 pm)
QUOTE
+1 to not walking through someones camp uninvited. In fact I would add, don't go near anyones camp univited. 10 feet is not enough unless they are by the trail.

To me this is like the rule about not snowshoeing over ski tracks in open country.  Often there is only one practical path and I am going to take that path. If you have camped in that path then ... well "hello, my trail name is ..."

Rumi~the practical~Dude

To be specific, I am refering to instances where one is not camped besided the trail. If you can beside the trail, for whatever reason, then your camp is fair game.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2013, 9:40 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Tigger @ Nov. 27 2013, 2:44 pm)
QUOTE
If you are in a group, headlights should be aimed down, as a rule.
If you are going to fart, do it outside the tent.
If there is booze present, it should be offered if it is going to be brought out.
If you are going to go to the bathroom, you should travel far enough away so that not only do I not have to see you, I don't want to hear you...
Don't walk through a person's campsite without permission. There should be a boundary of about ten feet minimum that you should walk around.
If a woman is planning on taking off her clothing, she should at least warn me so I can go get my camera...
Trail names should be given as a rule.

I agree with all of this!

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2013, 12:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There's a magazine?
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2013, 12:59 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Seriously, what is a "rule"?

Legislatures make laws. Administrative departments and land managers make rules and regulations. The LNT organization issues guidelines, which some land managers give the force of a forest or wilderness rule.

Various wildlife agencies and independent organizations issue other guidelines, which are often good ideas and sometimes based on good research. But those guidelines are also something that needs to be weighed against other guidelines. That needs to be done by reasoning people, hopefully with some experience.

Clubs and trail associations may also make "rules." But those "rules" are only binding (if at all) on the membership. Without land-manager agreement, those so-called "rules" do not apply to just anyone who hikes a public trail or backcountry. Backpacking magazines and backpacking forums do not make rules. If they pretend to make actual rules, they might as well go out hiking with the expectation of being regarded as silly and ineffectual. We don't need presumptuous vigilantes in the backcounty trying to enforce their own standards on other backpackers.

Principles of etiquette are also guidelines without the force of law. They are meant for thinking, considerate people. Without real consideration for others in the backcountry, a strict adherence to etiquette is next to meaningless. The foundation of etiquette and good manners is consideration for others. It is not the memorizing of a rule book.

We have new backpackers start threads here with some deep misunderstanding. And to some extent, we are to blame. When we speak of guidelines for thinking, considerate people as if those were rules, we are a source of confusion. Those new backpackers may take guidelines such as "hike in groups" and somehow suppose they might get a ticket for solo hiking. That is not the purpose of guidelines.

There is much to learn to be safe backpackers. It is up to us to not make that more difficult with our own notions of silly rules. We have had several threads in this forum where people mourn the "decline of backpacking." You want to introduce more people to our recreation? You want to welcome young folks to our past time? You want to increase your circulation as a well-respected outdoor magazine? Then don't confuse novices with nonsense about rules that are not rules. They have enough to learn already.

Putting everything in a balanced perspective is one of the biggest challenges novices face. They gain that with experience, with understanding of the real risks, with valuing protection of the backcountry, and with consideration for other backpackers. They do not gain it by slavish obedience to some authoritarian pretense of rule by egotistical backpackers without the necessary authority.

Backpacking is all about independence, not slavery to presumptuous hikers with control problems and who think they wear a crown.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 28 2013, 1:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Wow! Did I just read that?

Slavish obedience to authoritarian pretense of rule by egotistical backpackers without the necessary authority?

Or....you could just loosen up a bit and realize we're not presumptuous, or have control problems, or think we wear a crown. We're just having a bit of creative fun...

There is a reason why some people need to solo hike.


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