5 Reasons Why You Should Thru-hike With Your Significant Other

Let me first start by saying that I am partial to “couples hiking”. I am currently out on the AT slowly but surely making my way to Mount Katahdin with the love of my life, Miguel (“Paradise”). While it might not be the right move for all couples, here’s the five reasons I can personally testify to as to why it is the way to go.

1. You Get to Share the Load

This applies in more ways than you can imagine. The first (and maybe most beneficial) way this applies is getting to split up gear between two people. Here are a few ways we save weight by hiking as a pair:

  • We share an REI Co-op Half Dome 2 Plus tent which we split up evenly in our pack, making it about 2 lbs each.
  • As for our cook system, Miguel carries our Jetboil and I carry the fuel.
  • Miguel carries the Sawyer Squeeze and CNOC bag so I don’t have to carry any water filtration system.

2. You Have a Constant Support System

As much as I would love to experience nothing but good weather and happy times, that is not always the case on a 6-month thru-hike. There are days that I am cranky or hangry or just plain over it. The same goes for Miguel. When one of us is down, though, we make sure to pick the other up. Our system so far has been that only one of us at a time can have a bad day. That way, there is someone who can try to put a smile on your face. So far, the system has worked tremendously.

 

3. You’re Never Alone

The trail, while wonderful, can be tough when you’re alone. With Miguel, I always have someone to pass the time with, bounce ideas off of, and we always look out for one another. I give the absolute highest props to those who thru-hike alone (you all are badass), but I’d rather have a partner in crime.

4. The Trail Will Bring You Closer

Not many can say they’ve completed a thru-hike, especially with the one they love. Even though Miguel and I have a great relationship, the trail has done nothing but strengthen it. We get to share the accomplishments with each other and are making memories to last a lifetime.

5. Save Time on Chores

Divide and conquer pretty much sums up our routine once we arrive at camp after a long day of hiking. After 500 miles together on the AT, we’ve pretty much got this down to a science. When we were with our tramily, Miguel and I would almost always be done with everything before the others. First thing, we choose a nice flat tent site and between the two of us, we have the tent up in a flash. Then, one of us collects and water while the other begins setting up the inside of the tent (inflating sleeping pads/pillows, laying out sleeping bags, and organizing). Once everything is all set up, I usually cook while he builds us a fire. This would take considerably longer for a solo hiker.

What to Consider Before Hiking as a Couple:

Before you take my opinion to heart, keep in mind that thru-hiking might not be for every couple. We’ve met a few other couples since being out here and some are still hiking while others have thrown in the towel. Here are a few scenarios where hiking as a couple might not be a great idea.

You Haven’t Been Together Long

Even when hiking alone, the trail is a HUGE commitment. Taking on something like this with someone you haven’t been with long enough to really know another could be an issue. It is important to be sure you are prepared to spend 4-7 months with this person. On one end, it’s a great way to build a strong bond but on the opposite end, it could be a dealbreaker.

You Aren’t Open About Finances

If you are going to hike together as a unit, it is important to be open about money. Are you going to be working with one budget? Will your money be separate? What if one of you comes up short before the hike is up? These are important things to consider and if you aren’t ready to talk finances, thru-hiking as a couple might not be the right thing at this time.

One of You Wants it More

I have already personally seen this on trail. One person is fulfilling their life-long dream of thru-hiking while the other is coming along to be supportive. If you aren’t committed to the idea of being out here, it will quickly show. Then, if you and your partner get off trail, will the other regret their decision? The best bet is to ensure you really want to thru-hike before deciding to go along with your loved one.

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Comments 3

  • Avatar
    Alana Richardson : Apr 14th

    Thank you for the valuable information. You guys are too cute and I can’t wait to keep reading about your adventure!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Linda B : Apr 14th

    Very sound advice. Thank you for writing it.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Jim P : Apr 14th

    So glad to see that the two of you are alright and still hiking. Cheering for both of you. Take care of each other.

    Reply

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