Hiking Bag | Trail Etiquette Protocol

Following Unwritten Rules

If you are respectful to the land and your fellow hikers, you’ll adapt basic rules to follow for everyone’s benefit.  Outdoor recreation is guided by courtesy and regard for your fellow hikers.  Littering is against the law in many places yet you probably see it everywhere. How does the land remain beautiful if no one shows consideration?  You may be confused about rules that are not law, but hikers need to follow them regardless.

Pets And People

Hiking bag excursions are made up of humans and often dogs. At some point, Mother Nature calls each one, usually at the most inopportune time. If you relieve yourself, do so 200 feet or 40 adult paces away from the trail or any water source. Leave no trace. Dogs never fear making it to the bathroom on time however, owners should always remove their dog’s waste. Pets should be kept on a leash and under control while hiking with you.

Bury Or Carry

Bury or carry your dog’s waste to the next hiker station where it can be flushed in the toilet or a garbage can.  The same principal applies for humans.  Bury your excrement 6” deep with a trowel or double bag it to carry out. I doubt that you want wild animals following you because of the scent of the waste material. Surely you wouldn’t want to step in someone else’s poop. You should always pack out any used toilet paper

Hiking Bag | Right Of Way

Hikers on a descending a steep hill should yield to hikers going uphill.  Hikers in a group should not take up the entire width of the trail. Walking single file allows others who walk faster to pass by.  Isn’t is annoying in the grocery store when a family of 4 walks the aisle side by side and you cannot get past them ? The same principle applies here. When taking breaks, move away from the trail to allow others an unobstructed passage.

Outdoor Voice Doesn’t Apply

Hiking should be done quietly. You’re there to enjoy nature sounds, so a low voice is preferred by those around you.  Turn down cell phones and if you want recorded music, use headphones.  I don’t understand that…who doesn’t prefer listening to nature’s orchestra? Do your part in protecting the tranquility of the wild. Pack a cell phone, but keep it turned off (to conserve battery power) and buried deep in your pack.

Preservation Of The Trail

 A hiking bag trail should not be widened by going around puddles or mud rather than through them. This is damaging for trail sustainability.  Just because it looks easy to cut the corner off of a switchback doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Help preserve the trail by staying on the trail. New cairn building is discouraged on trail sites and can interfere with wildlife habitat.   If there isn’t a natural one, don’t build one for a photo op.

Downright Courtesy

Hiking bag trekkers hiking uphill that want to pass a fellow uphill hiker should make sure they make their approach obvious or call out so they don’t scare the crap out of the other hiker.  Passing lanes on the trail are similar to roadways; stay to the right and pass on the left. 

If you are on a shared trail, mountain bikers should always yield to hikers.  Hikers should safely move out of the way whenever they encounter a rider on horseback since horses can be spooked or easily lose their footing on a trail with a loose and granular surface.

Chatting With Other Hikers Could Save Your Life

If you are an introvert who likes to keep to themselves you may balk at the idea of chatting with other hikers. But when you’re on a long day hike, an overnight excursion or solo hiking, having a brief conversation could be the difference between someone knowing where you are in case of an emergency by helping direct rescuers to you.  Ask them about the trail conditions ahead and if there’s anything you need to be aware of.  You should extend the same courtesy to other hikers if something makes you question the trail’s safety.

Hike Responsibly

A hiking bag outdoor enthusiast understands the importance of etiquette towards people plus wildlife and the environment around you. If you are new to hiking, you will learn to adapt and develop this frame of mind.   Taking better care of our wild trails and hiking areas and being accountable for our actions makes for a more pleasant experience for us all.  Happy hiking!


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