If you stick with this backpacking thing long enough, there will come a time when everyone in your family and all of your friends refuse to hike with you because you hike too fast or too far in a given day. When that happens you are going to have to go solo or find a new backpacking partner who's compatible with your skill and fitness level.
If you prefer to hike with someone else, here's a set of screening questions that I've devised to determine if someone is a good candidate partner.
How do you protect your food from bears?
- Wrong Answer: I sleep with a loaded hand gun and scream "Make my Day" if I hear anything moving around camp at night.
- Right Answer: I hang it from a tree, use a bear canister, or Ursack.
How much do you drink a day?
- Wrong Answer: About a fifth of vodka.
- Right Answer: Four to six liters of water per day.
How do you make your water safe to drink?
- Wrong Answer: I've never done that. Can you do that for me?
- Wrong Answer: I don't trust that stuff. I carry all of the water I'll need for the entire trip plus a little extra.
- Right Answer: Chlorine dioxide tablets, bleach, a water filer or water purifier, etc.
What would you do when you get a black toenail?
- Wrong Answer: I set up an emergency pedicure.
- Right Answer: Not a problem. Most of my other toenails are already black.
- Right Answer: I wear black toenail polish, so it doesn't even show.
What the most dangerous thing on a hiking trip?
- Wrong Answer: Snakes.
- Right Answer: Hypothermia.
- Right Answer: Getting a speeding ticket.
- Right Answer: Setting your shelter on fire with your stove.
How do you screen out the newbies and weirdos?