10 Reasons to Shave Your Head for Your Hike

Today is my one-year anniversary of shaving my head in preparation for through-hiking the Appalachian Trail, so I thought I’d celebrate by encouraging other long distance hikers (especially women, but also men) to go bald!

1. If you’re a woman, chopping off your hair is both political and deeply personal.

If you’re female-bodied, cutting your hair off changes not only how others perceive you, but also alters your own perception of how you’re supposed show up in the world. Shaving your head makes a statement (to both yourself and to others) that you expect more from yourself than what society expects you to want: approval from the male gaze.

That’s why…

2. If you’re a woman, you will experience fewer unwanted advances from dudes.

In my experience, hiking with a shaved head lets men know that you mean business. It conveys that you’re on the trail to push yourself, not to flirt with or latch onto them. 

3. You won’t have to worry about checking for ticks in your hair…

…on your head, at least! (Your crotch is a whole ‘nother story.)

4. You won’t have to deal with nasty, greasy hair…

…or dreads forming after days on end without a shower and a proper brushing. 

5. You won’t have to carry hair care products…

…such as a comb, hair ties, bobby pins and/or little bottles of crappy shampoo stolen from trail town motels. 

6. It feels amazing.

You know that tingly rush you get when you first dive into water? That’s what it feels like when the wind blows over your bald head.

And when you’re hair starts to come in after a couple of weeks, you will want to run your hand over it a hundred times a day because it’s so soft and fuzzy.

7. You will dry off instantly.

When hiking with a bald head, it takes you mere minutes to dry off after taking a swim break, so no need to carry a camping towel.

8. You’ll be more aerodynamic…so you’ll hike faster.


9. Gender bending is just plain fun and interesting.

The trail is a safe place to experiment outside the confines of polite society. Men can grow out their hair and beards as much as they please. Women can chop theirs off and grow out their body hair. This is because no one gives a shit what you look like on the trail.

Yet, even though no one gives a shit what you look like…

10. You will look like a badass ninja. 

Hence why I got the trail name Ninja Hoops!

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Comments 6

  • onlyhadtwobeers : May 2nd

    I shaved my head on a lark a couple of years ago. I found it interesting and totally different than a Pixie or other short haircut.

    I recommend every female do it sometime in their lives, just to have the experience.

    For hiking, it surely works well.

    BTW, how did you get the swirly effect in your pic?

    • Janel : May 6th

      Hehe, I used a photoshop filter. 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

  • Penny : May 3rd

    My daughter and I were just talking about you last week while we were hiking the AT in NJ. We enjoyed following your hike on You Tube and wondered what you’ve been up to since your thru. Happy to hear you are getting back out there to do the PCT. I will be shaving me head when I eventually get around to doing a thru.

    • Janel : May 6th

      Thanks for reaching out! I’m honored to know that you followed my journey. Definitely shave your head for your thru! It’s the way! Take care. 🙂

  • Steven Newland : Jun 29th

    Enjoyed your video and thoughts on hiking the AT. Take Care and have a wonderful day.


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