A Scientific Explanation of Hiker Trash (in 25 Images)

New studies have taken aim at uncovering one of America’s most unknown and exotic subcultures, commonly referred to as “Hiker Trash”. With the wave of long distance hiking themed Hollywood blockbusters, teams of sociologists and scientists have banned together to collect data on this rare breed. Few studies have been conducted on the habits and rituals of Hiker Trash, but we have been keeping a watchful eye.

In this post, we have compiled several images which depict the many key attributes of this bizarre collection of creatures known as Hiker Trash.


Beware: Some content is inexplicable.

One activity common amongst Hiker Trash is the act of indiscriminately lying around, otherwise known as competitive loitering. Scientists have yet to find the preferred location in which this aggressive inactivity takes place, but one can only assume that the occasional slothfulness is a result of the extreme physical demands of their daily lives.

bench sleeping and dollar bills

Note the startling short shorts, abandoned dollar bills and partially smoked cigarette. It has yet to be determined what the significance of these items mean.

hitching techniques

Here you see a piece of Hiker Trash lazily attempting to get a ride from a passing motorist by lying in the road.

laying around

An inconspicuous spot has been chosen by this piece of Hiker Trash  for a quiet lie down.

laid up

Here is a some what forlorn image of a piece of Hiker Trash lying around as a result of injury. Note the carefully selected comfort items inside the cheap hotel setting, often used as a temporary dwelling place of Hiker Trash while they are in town.

It is not beyond the recognition of scientists and social psychologists that the feelings from the general public towards Hiker Trash often shifts as their numbers grow. It is inconclusive as to whether this is a result of a ‘mob mentality’ taking over the Hiker Trash and causing them to commit more brazen acts or if merely the increase in their numbers causes more concern from misunderstanding outsiders.


This gaggle of Hiker Trash has proudly found a ride in a box truck back to the trail where they live. Sociologists have concluded that it is a common practice of Hiker Trash to accept what may come their way and make the most of it, often times finding greater joy in the irrationality of happenstance.


Here is shown a gaggle of Hiker Trash who has taken up residence in a laundry mat, another in-town establishment frequented by this humanoid breed, simply to watch television. An obvious disregard for social convention is displayed in their public drinking habits.

trail chair magic

A Hiker Trash couple gratefully lounges on a couch of unknown origin and consumes carbonated beverages procured from the adjacent dumpster, unquestioningly resting their legs and quenching their thirst.

One unfailing act of Hiker Trash is an innate ability to find a way to meet their needs. It has been documented that they have very few needs in relation to regular humans and are also more flexible in how those needs are met. Frugal tendencies and a devil-may-care attitude fuel this aspect of Hiker Trash culture.


Resourceful Hiker Trash depicted lighting a hand rolled Bugler cigarette with a burning log.

wholly shirt

Above is a demonstration of a general belief among Hiker Trash that items declared as over used, broken or otherwise unacceptable by normal people are seen as still worth while in this sub culture.

laundry day

Here the gut wrenching reality of Hiker Trash frugality hits home in this depiction of what scientist discovered was referred to as a “laundry day”.

Many habits of Hiker Trash are failed to be explained by science despite ample effort. The most reasonable assumption is that changes occur in the brain over time as a result of separation from mainstream society.

hike nake day

Here is documentation of an astonishing scenario in which a piece of Hiker Trash triumphantly risks his life in the nude on the precipice of a mountain peak.

naked on kday

Here is documentation that the act of triumphantly risking ones life in the nude on the precipice of a mountain peak is indeed a premeditated and acceptable practice among Hiker Trash.

It is well known that Hiker Trash carry their worldly possessions on their backs. Scientists have conducted countless experiments attempting to recreate the point in time at which a normal human decides that it’s a good idea to give up their fast moving car and weather proof, climate controlled house for only the contents inside a backpack. No conclusive results have been found.


Rare view of the disorderly possessions of a piece of Hiker Trash.


Scientists are currently working to find the missing link between what Hiker Trash carry in their packs and how they fit it all inside.

There are two things that scientists and sociologists have definitive proof of as being corner stones of the Hiker Trash lifestyle. The first, and most important, would be food. Hiker Trash will go to undefinable lengths to acquire food, of which even the smallest of their kind require an extraordinary amount of.

out of food

Here is a display of a form of ‘guilt tripping’, a technique used by Hiker Trash to obtain a ride into town and, therefore, to the source of food.


This sneaky piece of Hiker Trash stealthily acquires obscene amounts of mayonnaise from a public dispensary in a cafe.

pizza deliver

While Hiker Trash is consistently fretting over the weight of their pack, sociologists were baffled to discover that this does not apply to carrying food items, no matter how non-packable.

health food wrap

The diet of Hiker Trash has been found to be one of America’s leading causes of jealousy. Here is shown a lunch time wrap made of several sweet and salty condiment spreads and multiple types of candy bars.

red dgos

Because of their voracious hunger, Hiker Trash often buy dubious foods and boldly do so in bulk.


Hiker Trash are the number one consumers of SPAM products in North America. A culinary inclined piece of Hiker Trash creates Spamwiches in the image above.

The second most important factor of Hiker Trash culture is their feet. The feet are harrowed as a holy thing among Hiker Trash. Scientists have observed Hiker Trash looking after their feet with delicate attention despite their near-constant heinous condition.

toeless shoes

Resourceful piece of Hiker Trash finds a solution to needing better ventilation for his feet.

insole sandals

Frugal piece of Hiker Trash builds a lightweight pair of shoes for use in town from common house holds.

toe blister

The furthermost extremity of the foot on a piece of Hiker Trash struggles to provide the necessary balance it is designed for. Overlapping blisters have compromised its functionality.

zombie foot

Depicted above is a causality of the grueling physical labor willingly executed by Hiker Trash on a daily basis. Investigation shows that this foot was restrained in a soaked through trail runner and drowned before it reached the shelter. It was later confirmed by doctors that this foot is, indeed, dead.

Scientists and social psychologists still have much research to do in order to understand the habits of Hiker Trash. Much has been assumed and much has been built up over time by stories circulating the world of academia, but little to no confirmed facts are known for sure. They continue to work towards understanding this elusive, migratory subculture, but in the mean time they hold fast to one hopeful hypothesis. As Forrest Gump’s mother once famously said, “Hiker Trash is as Hiker Trash does.”

If you haven’t caught on yet, all of this is silly, nonsensical bullshit celebrating our favorite people in the world, Hiker Trash!! THANK YOU SO MUCH to all the wonderful Hiker Trash out there who contributed images for this post. I wish I could give a shout out to each and every one of you but there are so many! It was awesome going through all the images and a ton of fun to write. Thank you, again!! Long Live Hiker Trash!

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Comments 18

  • MadisonDragna : Jan 28th

    Haha Carlie this is too good. And I freakin’ LOVE that I see familiar faces in these pics!

  • Unicoi Zoom : Jan 28th


  • Molls : Jan 29th

    Loved the Mountain Peeks.

  • Yvonne L : Jan 29th

    I’ve never thru-hiked, but feel a fondness to this hiker trash that makes me know that I’ll be one in the future -being currently the only girl on the camping trips that enjoys a long weekend without the bother of showering.

  • TreeTopper : Jan 30th

    I miss every second of the trail, well some I could have done without. Great pics, I love remembering all the good times!

  • kerry smithwick : Jan 31st

    Love this – thanks for the spoof! Hike on! Scribbles

  • InsGadget : Mar 13th

    Good article. Does a hiking website really need all these goddawful ads and BS toolbars? C’mon now.

  • Acorn the Elder : Mar 22nd

    ‘Gaggle’ is not quite right. I go to ‘A ‘hunger’ of hikers to describe a collection. or family gathering of us folks. Acorn the Elder

  • Miss America : Mar 30th

    LOVE IT!!!!

  • Ian lawson : Dec 24th

    Hiker trash, biker trash, trailer trash, bogan trash, hippy trash, thrashers, bashers, crashers and stashers…..the list goes on…what s wrong with you guys?….if you have the answer to the worlds woes, then spit it out, I’m listening….what I do not get is all of this subterfuge surrounding the denigration of your fellow man….does it fuel your engine to get one over the lesser amongst us? Why not get a plan together to encourage the unfortunates who just don’t get the benefits of a supportive network, instead of flogging a dead horse supposedly back to life, why not try to save its life by education not denigration…,I never saw a human being in my 56 years of living actually respond favourably to insult or rash appreciation….what I have witnessed is great advances in appreciation by way of interpretation. Sure we all get frustrated by sloth and other deadly sins ( supposedly) but there’s an old and very applicable saying here….and its.. If you live in a glass house don’t throw stones!….instead we should maybe reinforce the glass to withstand the inevitable. Let’s start with truth….it needs all the help it can get right now….then follow up with accountability…..these two things alone count for so much more than any amount of misinformation, agenda, be it political or otherwise. Derogation is a transgression against the chance to educate the needy…..

    • March Hare : May 8th

      I think you’re missing the tongue in cheek approach taken in this article!

      Hiker Trash isn’t a put down or denigration, it’s a title that those who hike long distances happily claim!

      It goes right along with your Trail Name as part of your identity. My trail name is March Hare and yes, I claim the title of Hiker Trash.
      Some of the best people you can hope to meet, you will meet on the trail, they will help you out in any way they can and really care about you.

      I hope you get a chance to get some dirt under your boots and meet some of the really awesome Hiker Trash out there!

      Happy Trails

      Ron (March Hare)

    • Robert Foor : Aug 26th

      I couldn’t have said it better Ian! The hiking community is like a brotherhood that should help those that may be struggling along the trail. Because we are a rag tag bunch of free spirited people that unless you are a hiker most others just don’t get it. Due to two neurological disorders I contracted 4 yrs ago I hate to have say this but my hiking days ended in just one day back in 8/16/13 at the age of 52. So I just follow different hiking groups & joined the 4,000 Footer Club-Climbing and Hiking in New Hampshire because that was my favorite state to hike in. Later & Peace Out Everyone & please love one another & help someone when you can.

  • Ian lawson : Dec 24th

    I live in magnificent part of the world ( far North Queensland Australia) and yes we get millions of visitors every year from all walks of life….some just do not get the concept of plastic waste or think about the purchases that they make to supposedly ward off this sometimes harsh environment of blood sucking flies, mosquitoes, poisonous snakes, soil borne bacteria, wild boar and crocodiles that are just waiting for the chance to savour a visitor in what can only be described by us as an unfortunate occurrence ….some of us are coded to such an extent that we do not see the big picture…..do not expect the danger because we are informed by the relevant authorities that it’s safe based of course on pressure applied by the accomodation houses and the local business people, you name it…..in the end the crocodile or the shark is the bad guy….not the greedy business proprietor or the government representative who has been elected to serve the wider community….shock horror, if we get bogans and hiker trash ( not my words ) They are simply responding to overkill and word of mouth by clearing a path through thick rainforest to get to the edge….or to dive into a pristine pool of water off the trail all plastered over with sunscreen and insect repellent..Afterall they might get attacked by a poisonous snake or a wild boar so nicely introduced from Europe hundreds of years ago….I once stood on a Cape York Peninsula beach so far away from anybody totally in my underwear after awakening from a glorious nights sleep under a sky of millions of stars….only to see a huge razorback boar every bit as big as me at 140 kgs or tipping three hundred pounds with all of its huge tusks gleaming in the early morning sunshine, and looking straight at me..I thought very quickly to myself that this can go one or possibly two ways….now at this stage it is relevant to note that I was in my underwear (mmmm, somewhat emasculated by this human expose) with a rather large tomatoe in my right hand ( yes it was to be my intended breakfast) when I said to this massive beast that I will have absolutely no hesitation in upping you with this tomatoe if you take another step forward!!!… Amazingly he backed away and I swear that he looked at me over his hairy great shoulders one last time as he casually walked away into the cape York bush, and shook his head in disbelief at the whole tomatoe thing!…. Some say I was very fortunate to get him on a good day….but my experience tells me some other things. I have spent my adult life to date getting up close and personal with some of natures most remarkable things, be they plant, animal or terrestrial. I have come away and survived it by applying respect for its position and I have always considered myself a visitor to its environment…..its home, it’s place…..

    • Robert Foor : Aug 26th

      I loved reading your story Ian. You were very lucky with that Boar those things can rip you apart. I live here in Pa & we don’t have any here that I have heard about. But I use to live outside of Houston,Tx in the early 1980 S & a friend I keep in touch with hunts them & he said he has had some close encounters because for as big as some are he said they move pretty fast & damn mean.

  • Caleb Bonner : Jan 26th

    Awesome article!

    • Dragonass : Feb 18th

      So true…AT hikers are a whole different wonderful breed of people!


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