How to Go Hiking or Camping as a Couple Without Destroying Your Relationship
Hiking with your partner is a wonderful way to strengthen your relationship, even more so if you are camping overnight. When we go on an overnight trip, it is usually for a couple of days and includes several hours of hiking per day. Over the years, we’ve learned valuable lessons on setting up camp, understanding how to work as a team, and how to flow with time. When we hike, we have learned to be organized and disciplined, which really helps when we are tired from hiking all day.
The purpose of this article is not to tell you what to do; rather, it is intended to launch a conversation on how you can work together when camping as a couple. Here are some of the systems and lessons we’ve learned.
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Hiking With Your Partner
Aside from the adventure and exercise that hiking provides, we enjoy it, and we enjoy being together. When you go hiking with your partner, even though you are on the same path, your experiences are different. You’re different heights and have different strengths and abilities. Plus, being outside all day and night is tough and will test you. Therefore, having open communication about what you are experiencing is important, like asking your partner if they need a snack or if they want to stop hiking for a little bit so they can stretch. Being hungry, tired, and having to go to the bathroom are all part of the hike and require patience and support for one another.
We have also heard of couples who are on different time schedules because one person likes to sleep in, and the other partner likes to start hiking early. Staggered start times may work for some people, but it just isn’t a consideration for us. When we set off on a hike, it’s always together. With that said, Liza and I hike at different speeds, so there will be times when we are not physically together, but most of those times happen on the hills. If there is a technical rock scramble or questionable turn, we will wait for each other. We are physically together or within sight distance 90% of the time. It’s a good idea to discuss this beforehand so you can adjust your expectations of each other while hiking as a couple.
Determining Where to Camp
The day before we set up camp, we discuss the distance to cover the next day, available water sources, and campsites we are considering. Deciding ahead of time is important because it sets expectations for what we are trying to accomplish, and having a stated goal keeps us focused on our plan. Having a goal doesn’t necessarily mean we have to do it, but it plays into the conversation we have together. To give an example of what I mean, on a particular hiking trip, it was unclear where the next water source would be. We decided that if we came across a major stream, we would finish one liter of water to ensure that we were hydrated and refill the water bottles. That night, we had to conserve our water for the camp, but it turned out okay because we were well-hydrated from our previous planning. Having these talks periodically when camping is important so you’re both on the same page.