Has there every been a time, perhaps early on in backpacking, that you asked one of your close friends if they would go on a long trek with you and were met with a strange look or a very excited “Yes!” but no follow up?

Trekkers are an insane few who willing thrust themselves into situations most people go to great effort to avoid: walking in the rain, carrying heavy loads, walking more than from the house to the car, or even walking from the place of one parking space farther away from Walmart than necessary. If you spend more than an overnight in the woods you likely experience swollen feet, bruised feet, blistered feet, to some extent a sore back, rumbling stomach, compete exhaustion,  knee pain, head pain, every kind of pain, restless nights, cold nights, hot nights… and backpackers love it.

It is no wonder that it can sometimes take a lot of effort to get a friend or too take that 100 mile journey with you. Even though it seems that like in your daily routine, you might rarely run into people that are actively running into the woods with a 30 pound backpack, we are not complete without hope!

Much of the backpacking community, if you have not already discovered, can be found online through forums. I have met people that backpack in my locale through making a post referencing my experiences on a certain trail. The trail brings out another side to people. When walking through the streets of major cities, most people avoid interaction with others at all costs. You can sit next to someone for 30 minutes on a bus and never say a word, but when you are on the trial you might (and are likely to) strike up a conversation with someone you just saw admiring the same overlook you have walked days to see.

If you are not already a member of forums that invoke these sorts of interactions, I encourage you to try them out. A few great resources are backpacking.net, backpackinglight.com, whiteblaze.net, and practicalbackpacking.com. Although a membership fee is required to start threads and interact with the other members, my favorite has been BackpackingLight. With an easy to use format and great online community, this can be an invaluable resource when trying to find reviews for gear, trip reports, and even finding a hiking partner in your region.

If you know of any other great outdoor recreation forums please post them in the comments section.

Happy Trail,

Jear Bear


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