How to Be an Internet Hiker: Free Tips for Pajama Blazers

Step 1: Have some backpacking experience.

That one time, when you were 12? And went with your scout group? That oughta do it. No need to actually know what things are like now or have any familiarity with up-to-date gear or Leave No Trace principles.

Step 2: Be confident.

Sure, people in online backpacking groups may have logged more miles than you, but don’t let this get you down. You read “A Walk in the Woods.” And don’t forget that time when you were 12. Shoot. Back then backpacks were 4.5 pounds. Hikers today don’t even know.

Step 3: Know who belongs in the woods and who doesn’t.

And put the latter in their place. Especially women. Especially overweight women. The great outdoors is not for people trying to get in shape or improve their lives. Best if you shame them, and best if you do so by calling them names when they post pictures of themselves.

Step 4: Understand what “Hike Your Own Hike” really means.

There are folks out there who think you should pack out trash, take smoke breaks far from shelter openings, set your headlamp to red and avoid shining it in others’ faces, set up camp quietly when you arrive late or break down camp quietly if you set out early. Snowflakes!

Step 5: Provide your expertise, even when it’s not asked for.

Be sure to use an assertive tone when you do this. Right: How stupid that you bought a water bladder. They leak. Waste of money. Wrong: My water bladder sprang a leak, and I switched to Smartwater bottles, which worked great and are cheap.

Step 6: Cross the line once in a while. It keeps people on their toes.

Jokes about killing animals are a great example—the more graphic the death, the better. If no one gets agitated, tag anyone who expressed awe or admiration for the animal in the original post. Watch ’em squirm!

Step 7: Pay special attention to requests for advice; these are opportunities for you to shine.

If someone shows insecurity or ignorance about something that doesn’t bother you (fear of loneliness, question about wearing contacts, etc.), be sure to jump in and let everyone see how great you are. “Never gave me a problem,” “Of course not,” and “Whaaaaaat?” are good options to convey the ridiculousness of the original poster’s question—and your own superiority. You’ll get mad respect.

Step 7 part B: Give advice without explanation.

When people ask what to do in a given situation, just tell them. No need to explain why. For example, if someone wonders about carrying bear spray, simply tell them “No need.” Because you’re an Internet Hiker, they’ll trust your authority. Explaining that it’s heavy, that bears normally run away when they see people, that you have to be super close to a bear for it to be effective… just extra words.

Step 8: Stay on the couch.

It might be tempting to plan a trip yourself, get out there in the great outdoors, but the internet needs you. Besides, what if, by spending time in nature, by being alone with your thoughts, by getting soaked or lost or lonesome, you actually had to face your fears or undergo transformation? You might have to consider kindness, let people get close to you, or concede that, sometimes, you are wrong. No, thank you!

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