Hiker Talk – A guide to hiker terms used on the trail

Backpacker’s Midnight – 9pm is backpacker’s midnight. Lights out even if the sun is still up. Lol

Backcountry – A remote area that is hard to get to and not maintained.

Base Layer – This is the layer of clothing you wear next to your skin.

Bear Box – A lockable container you will find at campsites in bear country to store and protect your food and anything with a smell from bears and critters. These are permanent structures.

Bear Canister – Hard-sided containers that backpackers use to protect food and smelly stuff from bears and critters. Backpackers carry these in bear country.

Bear Pole – Some campsites will have a bear pole which will have a cable to attach to your food bag to hoist the bag up to the top of the poles to keep your food and smelly stuff safe.

Bear Bag – Storage bags that are made of Kevlar (bullet proof) material that bears and critters cannot get into.

Bivy Sack– A single person bag that offers a layer of protection from the weather for you and your sleeping bag.

Blaze – Being the first person to break trail after a snowfall.

Boardwalk – A bridge/walkway that elevates you over wetlands, bogs, and mud.

Bog – Wet spongy ground that has poor drainage.

Cache – A hidden location where water or food may be stored for a future date.

Camel Up – Start hydrating days before your trip. And when at water sources on the trail, drink as much as you can to help you stay hydrated.  

Cairn – A pile of stones used for trail markers.

Cat Hole – A hole for human waste disposal. The hole must be at least 100 feet from nearest water, campground, trail. It should be 6 inches deep.

Cowboy Camp – No shelter used. Sleeping under the stars.

Death March – An area of the trail where you put your head down and hike your ass off. Either many miles or bad weather or both.

False Summit – When you see the top of the pass and when you finally get there you realize that it is not the top.

Gaiters – Keeps debris out of your shoes. I highly recommend Dirty Girl Gaiters. Sassy!

Hiker Box – A place where hikers can unload any extra food or gear. Other hikers are welcome to take what they need.

Hiker Hunger – Several days into your thru hike you will get extremely hungry. Bring Oreo’s. Yum

Hiker Trash – Long distance backpackers may use this term describe themselves in a smelly disheveled kind of way.

HYOH – Hike Your Own Hike

LNT – Leave No Trace

MacGyver – Fixing something with nothing

Nero Day – This day you will walk nearly zero miles. Short hiking day.

NOBO – Hiking Northbound

Post Hole – When your leg sinks completely in the snow or earth.

Scat – Wild animal poop               

Scree – A hill or mountainside covered in loose rock

Section Hiker – Completing a long-distance trail by hiking it over several trips

SOBO – Hiking Southbound

Stealth Camping – Camping in an area

Thru Hiker – A long distance beginning to end backpacking trip

Trail Angel – The people that provide trail magic.

Trail Legs – Several days into your hike your legs become accustomed to the long miles.

Tramily – The peeps you meet and hike with on the trail.

Trail Magic – Something that happens on the trail to lift your spirits. Trail Angels provide trail magic!

Trowel – The small shovel to dig your cat hole.

Vitamin I – Ibuprofen

Widow Maker – A tree or branch that is dead but has not fallen. You don’t want to pitch your tent under one of these.

Zero Day – You hike zero miles. R&R day.

Now you are ready for trail talk!

Published by backpackingbeyond

Hi, I’m Monica – I want to inspire you to be your best. For me, that means backpacking. I am my best on the trail and I want to share that experience with you. I have a ton to learn but know enough to be dangerous. I can’t wait to blog from the trail. Sharing the good the bad and the ugly. All of those are sure to happen on any thru-hike. I want to connect with anyone who has an interest in learning about my trips and how to plan trips of their own. My end goal is to get as many people outside and on the trail as possible. I will be working on several beginner weekend trips this year for some guiding experience. Email me with interest. I look forward to seeing all of you on the trail! 🙂

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