You Might Be Hiker Trash If…

Trash collected along a hiking trail.

Yes, but…this isn’t the hiker trash we’re talking about today.

Now, wait! Before you have a hissy fit over the possibility of being called “Hiker Trash,” you first have to understand, it’s really a term of endearment. In a way…sort of.

I guess it depends on how it’s used and who’s saying it to you.

It’s kind of like “biatch,” or “homey.”  Your friends can call you a name like this – “What’s up, biatch? Love the dress.” But, your enemies better not.

Hikers can – and often do – affectionately refer to each other as hiker trash – “What’s up, hiker trash? Love the kilt.”

But, it’s not cool when townspeople call them hiker trash.

“Why, dagnabit, you hiker trash better git outta town. You smell like you ain’t bathed in days.” True as it may be, this is an insult and not how the term “hiker trash” ought to be used.

So for our purposes, consider ourselves sitting around a campfire together, trail friends and hiking buddies. Embrace your hiker trashiness. Own up to it because, like it or not, you are or have displayed the essence of hiker trash in the past.

No worries! You’re in good company. I’m hiker trash and proud of it. I know many others who are too. We have more in common than you might think.

So how do you know if you’re hiker trash?

You Might be Hiker Trash if…

You’ve spent a cold or rainy night in the restroom of a state park.

Hiker Trash avoiding rain in a pit toilet.

Hiker Trash “seeking shelter from the wind and rain in this pit toilet.” Photo courtesy of Diane Soini. Read the rest of the story at

You consider it perfectly normal to go weeks without bathing.

You’ve stopped shaving to save weight in your pack.

You’ve diced Spam or Vienna Sausages into your Kraft Mac & Cheese.

You’ve repackaged the food you just bought into zip-loc baggies in front of the store.

You’ve ever searched a trail town looking for packs of condiments.

You’ve cut the excess handle off your toothbrush to save weight.

You’ve begged food from strangers in State Parks.

You know exactly how much everything in your pack weighs down to the ounce.

You’ve spent the last day before a trail town talking about nothing else but food.

You have, or have had, duct tape somewhere on your body.

You woke up at Trail Days in Damascus and you can’t remember how you got there.

Your friends use your trail name – even when you’re not hiking.

You have the initials of some long trail tattooed on your body.

Hikers washing in a river.

Photo credit: Steven “Cheese Wiz” Nolfi at

You’ve stitched something together with dental floss.

You’ve suspended the 5 second rule when you’ve dropped food on the ground.

You consider swimming and bathing to be equivalent.

You have duplicate pieces of backpacking gear.

You consider a Snickers Bar a “square meal.”

There ya’ go! If you answered yes to at least one of these, chances are….

If not, then that doesn’t mean you aren’t hiker trash. It simply means my list is incomplete.

Have an example of hiker trash of your own? Let us all know in the comments section.

See ya’ on the trail,


Here are some additional and fun comments sent to me by email, Twitter and Google+. Thanks for the great “hiker trash” suggestions everyone.

Diane from will be happy to clean up any candy you drop on the trail….

“Ha ha the 5 second rule. It’s the free candy rule to me. I was hiking
with my boyfriend, who was visiting me for a weekend while I was hiking
the PCT, him in front. We stopped by a lake to rest. I asked if he had
seen an M&M in the trail earlier. He said he had. Then he looked at me
and said, You ate it, didn’t you? Yep. I ate all the candy I found in
the trail. Once I found sweet-tarts in the trail. Score! Once I found a
Snickers bar on a bus. Big score!

Oh and initials tattooed are for the timid.”

From Twitter we have:

via Northeast Hikes@nehikes (also at You might be hiker trash if “Purell is a soap & deodorant.”

via Unicoi Zoom @ncuriel (also at You might be hiker trash if “Drinking a quart of hot chocolate for breakfast seems like a good idea.”

And from the Google+ Thru-hiking Community we have this inspired gem from Melissa of Chasqui Mom

You might be hiker trash if you exfoliate with rocky sand while washing in the river.

13 thoughts on “You Might Be Hiker Trash If…

    • Thanks, Tim! I know all about that “generous 10-second rule” too – the one where you count really slow or sometimes not at all and say it was 10-seconds. LOL! Sounds like you’ve got it bad for Gold Gummy Bears. Thanks for dropping by!

  1. Well, I have 6 of the original items plus my ultimate hiker trash “stamp” of rubbing rocky sand on my legs. Hey, people in San Francisco pay hundreds of dollars to get exfoliated with “Organic Yosemite River Bed Sand” on their legs!

    • Seriously, Melissa?! “Organic Yosemite River Bed Sand!” We’re in the wrong business. Hahaha.

      And, six items on the list (seven including the addition)…you’ve got a bad case of hiker trash. You and your family fit in well with the rest of us.

    • Hahaha! So true, Chris! But as you know – having had the need for a condiment fix yourself – it’s all about the intensity of the search. Those packets are saviors and end up being trail currency to some hikers (I’ll give you two mayo and a ketchup packet for that fresh apple. Sold to the highest bidder!) Thanks for visiting!

      • Fresh fruit – especially free fruit someone else carried – is always going to fetch a good price.

        There have been times I would have done unspeakable thing for a fresh orange in the backcountry. It’s just so hard to justify carrying them.

        • Unspeakable? No need to talk about them. I’m sure I’ve entertained similar unspeakable things for fresh fruit. LOL!

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