20 Ways Thru Hiking is a lot like Christmas

Thru-Hiking is more like Christmas than you might think…

1. You are almost always surrounded by pine trees. Though the trees may not be decorated with ornaments and lights, it always smells deliciously like Christmas.

2. Every night, lights come on to light up the darkness. These lights may be attached to people’s heads         via headlamp, but they’re pretty none-the-less.

3. You know that warm, fuzzy feeling you get around the holidays? Hikers have that feeling every time they summit a mountain, receive trail magic, or snuggle up with fellow hikers inside a shelter.

4. Just like at Christmas-time, you spend a lot of time with your friends and trail family. You may only see each other once every week, every other day, or maybe even twice during your whole hike, but every time you see a fellow hiker, its like no time has passed and you catch right up where you left off.

5. You get presents! Trail magic left at a trail head is just like a present from Santa. You don’t see him leave it, but you’re sure glad he did. Popsicles and soda on the side of the road make you feel better than Christmas morning. And it just so happens Santa drives a large green van and her name is Ms. Janet.

6. Everything you carry is wrapped. It’s just that your “wrapping paper” happens to be an ultralight waterproof stuff-sack. 

7. One of the best things about the holidays is all the food. When you’re a thru hiker, you get to eat fattening, terrible-for-you food all the time! And drinking hot chocolate every night is perfectly acceptable.

8. Just like little kids (and adults if were being honest) on Christmas morning, hikers are all too excited to wake up early. Since we all go to sleep at 7:30, it’s not that bad.

9. Speaking of bed times, it turns out that every night is a “silent night” when you’re a hiker. Not a creature is stirring (ok, maybe the mice are still stirring) after 8:30.

10. You’re very likely to hear jingle bells, especially if day hikers are around. Bear bells tend to sound a lot like a sleigh being pulled by reindeer.

11. You may also spot some “reindeer” along your way. They just might be antler-less and look a lot like regular deer.

12. The weather is sometimes very frightful. And sometimes all you can do is say “let it snow, let it snow, let it snow”.

13. Much like “chestnuts roasting over an open fire“, hikers prefer Knorr pasta sides and ramen roasting over an open fire.

14. Hikers are always carrying around big sacks filled with stuff, much like Mr. Kris Kringle himself.

15. Everyone is always showing off their fancy “toys“, and talking about how much those toys weigh.

16. Hikers like to hang up stockings. We hang our wet, sweaty socks on branches and hope NOT to find something inside them the next morning.

17. Hikers like to cozy up by a nice, warm fire (minus the decorated fire place) at night.

18. We love singing carols together. But those carols might have nothing to do with Christmas, there may be a scraggly guy playing acoustic guitar/ukulele, and they may sound a lot like Wonder Wall.

19. For hikers, cuddly teddy bears happen to be large black bears that really don’t like to be cuddled.

20. “Baby it’s cold outside” tends to get very real for hiking partners if they’re sharing a tent. Like when one of you has to pee but you know if they get up, they’ll let all the cold air, in so you beg them just to stay in their sleeping bag. “I really have to pee (but baby its cold outside)… “I got to go pee” (but baby its cold outside)”…


Much Love and Merry Christmas,

The Stones


Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 1

  • Kate G : Dec 23rd

    I love it! I will definitely be like a kid before Christmas on the night before I start my thru-hike.


What Do You Think?