Hiking with a group can be a very rewarding experience. You get to share something you enjoy with like minded people and will often form strong bonds due to your shared love of the outdoors and the time you spend together in it.
When hiking with a group it is recommended you all share a similar skill set, fitness and endurance. These are often the things that created the initial attraction between you. Hikes are more enjoyable when everyone travels together and appreciate the same style and difficulty of hike and that enjoyment is generally the seed that the development of your friendship. Even if you don’t all share a similar pace or endurance you will get to know each other’s skill set well enough to understand when you need to offer assistance, when you need to wait and when you need to slow down in order to keep together as a group.
When you are hiking in a group it is a much more formal affair. There should always be a nominated leader and a whip (skilled hiker at the back to help keep the group together). This should always be the case as there will be members of your group with varied abilities, experience and levels of fitness. A lot more planning and pre-hike checking needs to be undertaken if this is to be a successful hike. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for people to sign up for hikes that are not within their level of fitness and experience. People will turn up with the inappropriate gear for a particular type of hike and will not be carrying adequate water for the temperature, distance and difficulty of the hike.
There are many benefits to hiking in a group. Some of these include:
- Hiking with a group allows you to discover new places you may not have had the confidence to navigate yourself
- Learning from more experienced hikers or passing on your knowledge to others sharing your hike
- Hiking with a group provides safety in the event that an injury occurs. There are many considerations when taking to the trails, in particular, is injuries, weather, wildlife, and security
- Allows you to build your confidence, abilities and self-efficacy
- Hiking with others allows you to distribute loads across the group, particularly on day and multi-day hikes
- Social benefits. Share your passion of the great outdoors with like-minded people.
It is recommended you hike in a group where possible. It is a good idea to always have at least one other person with you if you are going on low-traffic trails. This may not always be possible for a number of reasons so if hiking solo, be prepared with navigation tools, medical supplies, shelter etc.
If you are considering hiking in a group, learn how to keep your group together.