How to Choose the Right Travel Buddy for Backpacking

Are They Already Geared Up?

Everything you need for a backpacking trip can be purchased. But, if your friend doesn't currently own the gear, it could be a sign they're not ready to take on the challenge of a backpacking trip.

If you feel your friend is a good fit and just needs to purchase equipment, make sure they test everything with at least one outing before your "official" trip.

If they got a backpack from a friend, chances are it's not the right fit for their body. That translates into a sore back and shoulders, not to mention an irritable companion at the end of a long day of hiking. If your friend has to buy hiking boots, make sure they've put some miles on those boots—with elevation, not just a flat trail—to avoid blisters.

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How Is Their Attitude?

It's often said that couples see how well suited they are for one another when they go on vacation together. The same holds true for a travel buddy on a backpacking trip. Having the same friends or appreciating similar movies is not a good indicator of how the two of you will work together on the trail.

Ask yourself: How does your friend manage surprises or setbacks? If something bad happened—say a missed flight or a malfunctioning GPS—would they fall apart or rise to the occasion? Not everything goes right on a backpacking trip, and their attitude will dictate how enjoyable the trip is, in good times and bad, for both of you.

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Will Their Habits Hinder You?

It's one thing if your friend is perpetually late when you meet for coffee. It's another thing if that perpetual lateness cuts into the hours you have to hike that day.

Consider whether they're an early riser or slow to move in the morning. Would they rather power through 14 miles, while you want stop and take take photos? Think about what's important to you, and whether their habits would hinder that. 

No Matter What, Always Talk Things Over

Remember: Don't rule out a friend if they don't fit the perfect profile of a travel buddy on the surface. For example, if you're experienced, they might want to learn from you. You just need to decide whether you think they'll be ready in time for the trip. 

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