Dying to get out into the wilderness, but can’t find any pals willing to hike and camp when there’s snow on the ground? Unless you’re lucky enough to have a backpacking-lover like Max Gorin in your close circle of friends, you’ll have to get crafty when appealing to their adventurous side. Follow these tips for encouraging your friends (or acquaintances) to hit the dirt – err, ice – road with you before the spring rolls around. Don’t dismay – you’re bound to find at least one person who’s willing to give it a whirl.
1. Explain that winter camping is very different alone vs. with someone. When you’re by yourself, the short days and long spans of darkness can make you feel really lonely. Together, though, that just means having more time in the evening to trade hilarious stories. They may be picturing the horror of a solo venture, but remind them that you’ll be there!
2. Ask your wildest, craziest friend to join you. Even if they hate hiking – and winter – the appeal of doing something nuts may be enough to get them on board. When that fails, taunt them a bit – they’re not scared, are they?! If you know someone who’s always down for adventure, even better – they probably won’t blink at the suggestion of camping during the coldest season of the year.
3. Appeal to your friend who’s really into fitness. If they’ve never done more than a gym session during the winter, tell them that trying something new will probably work out new muscles. Plus, there’s no complete body workout quite like hiking in snowshoes, not to mention that they can eat more than usual because they’ll burn way more calories than they could on the treadmill.
4. If you think that your quiet pal isn’t a good match for a long hiking trip, think again – if he doesn’t talk much regularly, he probably won’t complain that much while on the trail. Plus, you may get closer friendship-wise since you’ll be in a setting that encourages conversation.
5. You may know someone’s who’s turned off to the idea of hiking because they had a bad springtime or summer experience. Let them know that during the winter, those overcrowded, littered trails are pristine. You’ll be lucky if you see a trace of a person, let alone run into someone else. Plus, a lot of campsites that are overrun in the warm months are available during the winter.
6. Play up the drawbacks. Melting snow for water is a skill most people will never pick up. Digging a barrier to keep wind away from your tent is so much like playing in the snow as a kid. After setting up camp for the night, there’ll be plenty of time to have a snowball fight.
7. If you know someone who’s looking to kick their workout regime and eating habits in the rear, talk to them about how much of a calorie-scorcher wintertime hiking is. Bonus: You can eat practically whatever you want because you’ll be burning the calories off anyway.
Your hiking companions will thank you afterward – winter backpacking is seriously rewarding. Or, at the very least, they’ll have a crazy story to tell their kids some day!