Hiking with a Partner: How to Maintain your Relationship
You’ve decided to have a partner for your long-distance hike. What a fun adventure for the two of you! Maybe you just met last week or are long-time best friends or even married for 25 years… won’t you guys have a wonderful time?! The answer might surprise you, but chances are you’ve never done anything like this before and it will really test your relationship. Here are a few pointers to not only enjoy your hike together, but to help keep your relationship intact!
Give each other space, physically and emotionally.
Just because you’re hiking with a partner doesn’t mean you have to be within mere feet of each other all the time. Most of the time NoKey and I are always hiking together, but every once in a while we both needed that physical and mental space to enjoy our day (read – we were bugging the crap out of each other and it was time for a break!) No matter how much time we took apart, we were usually no more than 1/4 mile away from each other except for a few rare occasions and we ALWAYS waited for each other near road crossings or at the summit of whatever mountain it was we were climbing. These were important to us for safety reasons, to make sure that neither of us were hurt or lost. Setting up boundaries before your hike together can help you both maintain that space you need to maintain your sanity!
Support each other, physically and emotionally.
I feel like supporting each other is the most important aspect of hiking with a partner. Having that other person around as a cheerleader was really a welcome change from the times I used to hike alone, if only for the reason that it’s hard to cheer yourself up sometimes. Without fail, if I’m having a bad day he is having a good day and vice versa. Hiking with a partner is also nice to split up the weight of gear. We can each get away with carrying half the tent and half the cooking gear. It’s always nice when someone else can fetch the water at the end of a day when even taking off your shoes is a struggle.
Remember why you’re doing the hike together in the first place.
In the end, NoKey and I are hiking together in 2015 because we both feel the calling to get out and we both work incredibly hard (60 hours a week) to make the money so we can get out and live the life we love. Getting to spend every day together is usually something we enjoy, especially since we spend so much time apart right now due to work schedules. Strangely enough, after spending so much time together in 2012, working together at a highly stressful job in 2013, and even working at the same place after we left Maine, we actually really have figured out how to be around each other and enjoy each other’s company. Even though we drive each other crazy sometimes, we know that this lifestyle is what we want, and having each other is the icing on our cake (and you know how much thru hikers like cake!)
When you’re hiking with another person, you’re not just hiking one hike – you’re hiking three: Yours, Mine, and Ours. For NoKey and myself, finding the in-between to make the “Ours” hike was a tough learning curve. Toward the beginning there was tension and even a few tears shed sometimes, but once we learned how to work together, as well as apart, things really came together. The decision to hike with a partner definitely isn’t for everyone, but for some there is absolutely no doubt in their mind to hike with someone else for up to 6 months.
Are you hiking with a partner for your upcoming adventures? Have you done a long-distance hike with another person? I’d love to talk with you more about what you’re planning and what works for you! Leave me a comment below or get in touch with me on Facebook to get the conversation started!
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