9 Signs That You Are NOT a Hiker

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When I was a little kid, I used to be ALL about the outdoors. We're talking tree forts in the woods, swimming in mucky ponds, and hunting for nightcrawlers in the rain.

And then I grew up. And I'm not sure what happened.

These days, I still enjoy being outdoors. But you won't find me regularly camping under the stars (I am SO not a camper), bathing in streams, or embarking on any sort of adventure that would have me doing either of the aforementioned things. I'll take half-day bike rides and a warm shower at night, thanks.

I also am NOT a hiker. Sure, I love a good sweeping landscape. But give me a way to get to it that doesn't include carrying myself up a mountainside on my own two feet, and I'm ALL about it.

Here are some signs that you – like me – may just NOT be a hiker at heart.

Signs you might not be a hiker

1. You are kind of unfit

Let's face it: most of us are not as fit as we'd like to be. We dream about “getting in shape,” but never really get around to it. So when a friend invites us to climb a small mountain and we realize we've spent the last handful of months more or less connected to a laptop on a comfy red couch (this is totally hypothetical, of course…), we don't have the greatest of times.

2. Climbing uphill makes you want to lay down and die

Climbing uphill for more than an hour can really do a number on your calves. Even the best of calves can be afflicted, and trying to walk DOWNhill with jelly-legs never ends well. Trust me on that one.

Hiking in New Zealand
Extremely fake smile there, folks.

3. You don't like to sweat

Because it's sticky and slimy and smelly and makes you not want to take any photos proving you've completed the stupid hike because you look so gross.

4. The views/landscapes do not entice you (enough)

Sure, I like the IDEA of seeing the Incan ruins along the trail to Machu Picchu. But those ruins and sweeping views don't entice me quiiiiiite enough to ever want to hike the Inca Trail.

5. You get bored seeing the same scenery for more than 2 hours

Similar to the above item, some hikes just have the same scenery for hours on end. Sure, it might be great and novel for the first hour. But by hour six you are so bored that you start thinking about all the things you hate about hiking – boredom of course being one of them.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan
Sand dunes are awesome. At first. But after a few minutes of hiking through them, they become not quite so awesome.

6. You're not really that outdoorsy

You might like LOOKING at the outdoors (you know, out of a nice window), but actually interacting with it is a different story. The outdoors can be hot and dirty and filled with bugs and other things that might bite you. And peeing outdoors? OMG NO.

7. Hiking clothing/shoes are hideous

It's just a fact.

8. You don't like “the burn”

People always say to “feel the burn” and that “it will all be worth it in the end.” Well, will it? What if I'm perfectly fine going through life WITHOUT feeling the burn?

9. You don't appreciate encouraging pep talks when your are wheezing and sweating from your knee caps

Pep talks at the best of times can be annoying. But when you're dripping with sweat, out of breath (from being unfit, remember?), and feeling like the scenery was NOT worth the effort, the last thing you want to hear is someone trying to encourage you along. Especially if that someone is NOT sweaty or wheezy or miserable in the slightest.

Hiking in New Zealand
Not in the mood for a pep talk.

If you can relate to any of these, then you might not be a hiker either.

But that's totally okay. There are plenty of ways to appreciate the world (even the outside one) without hiking!

(In case you didn't catch the sarcasm here, I don't actually completely despise hiking. I go on hikes fairly frequently on my travels, but have yet to fully plan a trip around it.)

If you want to read some tales of hiking from a relative non-hiker, check out these posts:

So where do you fall? Are you a hiker, or do you hate it as much as I do?

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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76 Comments on “9 Signs That You Are NOT a Hiker

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  1. So I kind of relate to all of these. But I still enjoy hiking. Does that make me weird?

      Hahaha not at all! These definitely apply to me, too, but there are *some* (easy) hikes that I’ve actually really enjoyed.

    Great post!
    I read the title, thought it would be about me, kept reading and found out it was indeed about me 😀
    The only problem is that I do enjoy the views and that’s why sometimes I make an effort cursing myself on the way for ever coming up with such an idea.
    The last hike I did was in fact the one to Machu Picchu (though not the Inca Trail) and it was a strenous exercise – I promised I would get into shape… I will… one day 🙂

      Haha, glad you liked it, Monika! And good on you for doing the hikes anyway. (I’m pretty much the same… I HATE the actual hiking part, but the promise of good views usually is enough of a draw to get me to the top/the end.)

    Having just spent 3 weeks hiking to and from Everest base camp this made me laugh. And was me until I for some reason (damn you Everest and your siren call) I forced myself to become a hiker over the course of those 21 days. There were times I hated every single second but there was no other way to go but forward. Only once my lazy ass got into hiking shape after the first week did I really start to enjoy it (after 7 days of hell). Also I found I hate going downhill 20x more than I hate going uphill. And I REALLY hate going uphill.

      Yup, I suppose 21 days of an EBC trek would force you into hiking shape! I’m sure you were glad you did it though, in the end.

      And yeah… downhill is always so hard on my old-lady knees!

    Haha this was me prior to the point when I became a keen hiker, about 7 years ago. What I wil say is that the more you do it, the fitter you get and the more enjoyable it becomes. But if you aren’t interested then that’s fine, we don’t all have to have the same hobbies 🙂

      I’ve hiked in all states of fitness (though, to be fair, never longer than like half-day hikes) and never fell in love with it. I just don’t think it’s my thing! And I’m perfectly okay with that. 🙂

    7.5 out of 9. This doesn’t help with wanting to go to Nepal and Bhutan this year.

      Well that’s good! It didn’t stop me from doing some short walks in New Zealand… but I don’t think I’ll be ready for true trekking or mountain climbing anytime soon!

    “You get bored seeing the same scenery for more than 2 hours” “Hiking clothing/shoes are hideous”

    Ahahah, both of these are so true! I enjoy working out (or used to, before we started travelling), but hiking is just sooo boooring, and I only want to sweat that much when I’m near a shower—what a priss!! As a city girl I can say, nature is okay… in moderation! Camping is slightly more tolerable, but only when we’ve gone wild camping and it’s a nervous challenge to find someplace safe and secluded.

    But if you’re feeling out of shape.. make an effort to get some exercise! Your body is not only for hiking and naturey stuff, and the difference a little physical fitness makes in the rest of your life is really astounding. 🙂

      Haha, yeah, I’m the same about wanting a guaranteed shower after doing anything like this!

      And as for the getting in (better) shape part – I’m working on it!

    Great to wake up this morning to The Husband In Tow saying “see? A Dangerous Business says we should not be hikers!” Ha!

      Hahaha! Glad to know I have such influence. 😉

    So not a hiker. There’s a picture of me on my most recent (and last, ha) hike, pretending to be dead atop a tiny New England mountain. I’m not a camper either, but I enjoyed staying in the Amazon overnight so much that I’m willing to try it again – Tikal sounds like an amazing place to do so!

      Haha, I’ve done the “pretend to be dead” photos before on hikes, too! It’s not that difficult to pretend, though… 😉

    Great post! I don’t think I ever realized what a non-hiker you are! Of course I don’t relate to any of it because I am a huge hiker. 🙂 And I have to say my last pair of hiking shoes were super cute. 🙂

      I mean, I’ll GO on hikes. And every once in a while I won’t hate it (like, I did one short hike in New Zealand that I really loved). But yeah… not a huge hiker like you are!

    I think hiking clothes are really cute… and often spend more money on those then I would on something like a nice dress… I’m such a nerd! Oh well. Thats still awesome that you hiked and I tend to feel similiar but I just keep doing it anyways. You never know, you may wake up one day and just want to do it all the time… 🙂

      I would LOVE to wake up one day and be in love with hiking! But it doesn’t seem super likely in my case… haha.

    This time last year I would have said this post perfectly describes me but my boyfriend convinced me to help with his scouting troop last year. I went from enjoying the outdoors but requiring a bed and shower, to full on outdoors woman in-training. But I still agree with you on the sweating and ugly clothes.

      Good for you! I might be convinced to like hiking a bit more someday, but I don’t think I’ll ever be a true outdoorsy girl!

    Hilarious and totally accurate.

    Haha – I can DEFINITELY relate to some of this! But mainly it all boils down to the same thing: I’m so totally unfit. The puffing, the panting… I’ve got it all. Urgh. Yup, definitely need to do more exercise!

      Yup. I’m working on it, but I think tough hikes would have me puffing and hurting no matter what kind of shape I was in!

    This made me laugh. I definitely don’t understand the appeal of “feeling the burn” and hiking shoes/boots are ugly. Generally, unless it was a pretty leisurely hike and I could get there and back in an hour, I probably won’t hike it, but that’s all right with me.

      I’m pretty much the same – though I’ll agree to easy hikes up to 4 hours round-trip if awesome scenery is involved.

    I remember walking the Maryland Heights Trail in Harpers Ferry, WV on a high school AP US history class field trip. Boy, that was a trek! Not to mention my classmates and our teacher got scattered throughout the trail.
    I was exhausted by the time I reached the overlook where you can see Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.

      Sounds like a pretty cool class field trip, though!

    Haha, I’d be the “I’m all for it!” type because I love doing outdoorsy things, even while being unfit. I’m too darn stubborn, and I enjoy myself too much. As well as making fun of myself along the way. I had to laugh at your post! Always enjoy your humor, Amanda. ;D

      Haha well I’m glad this made you laugh! That was definitely the point – it’s good to be able to laugh at yourself sometimes!

    I had a right laugh reading this, so funny Amanda! I love to hike but I’ve definitely experienced a few of those things when I’ve been slogging up hills. My husband has been threatened with divorce a few times when he won’t stop with his pep talks!!

      Haha oh no! Well hopefully the threats were enough to make him stop!

    I love hiking! I’m not a “fan” of sweat, but I’ll take the sweaty photos at the top of the mountain to prove how hard I worked. I’m totally with you on the pep talk thing though. I’m also a runner but I’m slow and have asthma so I get a lot of pep talks during races and training. The best of them are annoying and the worst of them are offensive. Though the people standing on the sidelines of races are usually encouraging!

      Ugh. I might hate running more than hiking – so good for you for tackling both! I probably SHOULD take more photos of myself on hikes. But I hate looking at them afterwards so much. Lol.

    After a 3-month stint in New Zealand I realized I’m not a hiker either. I definitely recognize the boredom part. Though I still consider the Tongariro Crossing as a highlight of my trip and it was even unbelievably misty that day! Then again, the hike there is very versatile which is probably why I enjoyed it so much (I had an uncontrollable smile on my face) so I’d really recommend it.

      I haven’t done Tongariro yet (which is crazy considering how much time I’ve spent in New Zealand), but it’s one hike I definitely WILL do one day, even if I die a little bit in the process.

    This is seriously the story of my life! made me laugh and nod ‘yes yes’ so many times. Although I’ll admit I do really like camping I am sooooo unfit and hiking is my worst nightmare.
    The last one I’d add to my list is ‘you make up ever excuse why you aren’t fit’.
    -‘Oh but I’m sick this week’
    -‘I donated blood last week that’s why I’m breathing like I can’t get any air going up this massive hill’

      Hahaha! Glad this made you laugh!

    Hehe, great post! I could relate to so many of these! I have done a bit of hiking now and then (though it’s usually when I’ve been persuaded by my hubby rather than of my own accord!) I do like the views but as for the rest…. 😀

      I agree – the views are really the only good thing about hiking!

    Ha! Ha! Cool post Amanda. I don’t like walking uphill, getting dirty, camping in a tent, or cold water but I still love hiking. And because I have a 12 year old son in the Boy Scouts of America, I go camping once a month even in the freezing cold and rain. They’re boys you see and they like stuff like that. Sigh!

      Well good on you for going camping even though you don’t really like it!


    I’ll try not to hold this against you.


      Haha. I’m still a good person, I promise!

    I’ve learned that hiking alone can be much more pleasant. In SLC there’s always other people on the trail but no one to vocally judge my slow pace, panting or sweaty knees. But I am prone to altitude-induced migraines around 10,000 feet and altitude sickness around 14,000 feet, so I have to be well prepared, so sometimes a quick hike on skis to find fresh powder is the best option. And I hope you don’t encounter a toilet stall that just has a concrete slab and a hole at the back because then you’ll love peeing in the grass immediately!

      Yes, I would imagine that hiking alone without a companion to judge you WOULD be slightly better. Though definitely still not my favorite. 😉

      (And yeah… I suppose peeing in the grass definitely tops some of the squat toilets I’ve used in Asia!)

    Sometimes the hiking part are difficult. But the promise of good views gives me the power to walk till the end. Good post !

      Good for you! Usually the views can convince me, too – but only to a certain point! Haha.

    This is awesome! I love to hike….until I’m actually doing it. Then I start to curse myself and rotate thinking about all of your points above. Once I get to the end or see ‘the view’ then I love it. And start planning the next one. It’s nuts.

      Haha it’s a vicious cycle!

    I would say I am a reluctant hiker, or a dabbler maybe. Basically all of these things apply to me! I do enjoy hikes as long as they are not crazy hard, not crazy paced or more than a couple of hours.

      I’m with you! For example, I did the Hooker Valley Track at Mount Cook (which is flat and only about 3-4 hours long) and loved it. But anything going uphill? Uh uh. No thanks.

    “Incredibly unfit” is a nice oxymoron. I might even be “amazingly unfit.”

    […] don’t really like hiking. In fact, sometimes I would go so far as to say that I hate it. I don’t like climbing uphill or walking for hours on end and I’m just not very GOOD at […]

    […] and is so easy it’s considered a “walking track” — meaning perfect for a hiking pansy like me. It also comes complete with some epic mountain views. And I am never one to turn down epic […]

    Found your blog while researching my trip to NZ in May. I am SO not a hiker either, but I’m going to hike the Hooker Valley trail (the whole shebang, if weather permits) at least. Every wheeze is going to condemn me for doing this to myself! Nobody’s arm-twisting me, but I just wanted to do the fun “touristy” things while travelling NZ. Dear God, I seem to have discovered a latent masochistic streak! This post resonated so deeply with me, I had to comment!

    P.S: I have deliberately kept 2 extra days at Mt. Cook after the trek. So I can at least get up from the bed and move around before heading out to the next destination!

      Haha a fellow non-hiker! Love it!

      You’ll be happy to learn, however, that the Hooker Valley trek is not that bad! It does take about half a day (it took me about 4 hours round-trip because I stopped to take tons of photos), but it’s on an easy, mostly-flat trail. It’s also a GORGEOUS hike, so I don’t think you’ll regret it!

    I’m in decent shape but I still despise hiking. I’d rather be on a treadmill for 2 hours than hiking for even 30 minutes. It’s mostly the part about the scenery not changing fast enough — I’m just much too ADD for that, and at the gym I can listen to a podcast or watch a movie.

    I live in San Francisco, and everyone I know is constantly wanting to go on hikes. It’s the worst thing about living here.

      Haha I’m glad you can relate! Though I AM forcing myself to get more into hiking. Slowly.

    Pure admiration . I’m asthmatic and huff puff and wheeze. I sound like I lead a sedentary lifestyle yet I’ve walked half marathons. I get so embarrassed that I’m too scared to go on walks with groups because I’m so slow. Thanks for such a great article.

    Ps. Just commenting this time so I can put a tick in be notified of followup comments.

      Ah but I don’t have a good excuse for being so terrible at hiking! I think you should still get out there and do it if it’s something you love!

    I am a hiker. It’s the beer + food enjoyed at the end that pulls me through. 😉

    I am not a hiker either.
    I love a good landscape, as a child I knew the name of every wild flower and tree, and I love looking around gardens, but hiking makes me miserable. It’s tedious, uncomfortable, and I soon get bored with walking across endless fields full of cow pats and stiles.
    I am wondering if there is some kind of conspiracy out there, funded by the fitness and outdoor industry…like some kind of ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ story where you don’t dare admit you don’t like it for fear of being thought lazy or uncool.

      Haha, well I’m not afraid to admit that I don’t love it! I’ve forced myself to hike more in recent years, but it’s still not something I love.

    I am not the outdoorsy at all. Being in my backyard is as close to nature as I care to be. Especially the time I came face to face with a large hidden paper wasp’s nest while removing an ugly juniper shrub from my yard, and getting stung so badly my face looked as though I had Botox from all of the swelling. My only course in “hiking” is periodically walking up 15 narrow steps to my attic to make sure roof rats haven’t chewed any new holes in my shingle roof. It’s never a nice thing to have nature’s rain making an unwelcome call inside of your bedroom! I’ll gladly spend my time indoors and hopefully what’s outdoors doesn’t find its way into my home!

    So funny! I’m totally a hiker. Started in Jan and am totally obsessed with it. I Love to see what’s at the top, around the corner, down a new trail. I’m sooo hooked. But I’m on here looking for hiking g stories because I CANT hike right now… haven’t been on a REAL hike (8 miles or so) since June 7… yes, I know the raw act say. You and I am so completely opposite on how we see it but hey to each their own. You are one heck of a traveler! I’d love to get family on board for that! Not wanting to go it alone :(. Can’t wait to hike again once my knee is fixed. Can’t believe I’m sidelined after 6 mos!!’n ok well I’m thinking my body wasn’t ready, not strong enough, even though I had the endurance… sucks!!! On th other hand, getting stronger legs/hips/butt SO I CAN HiKE!!!!’n is the Strongest motivator to get strong that I have ever had in my life and I’ve been wanting to use 10 pounds or so for all let’s see 20 years or so? Only now I need to lose even more like 15-20… ouch!!! But… if it gets
    Me hiking again!!! yESSsSSs!!!!

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