Honestly, who better to spend five days in the wilderness with than your significant other? No one knows you better, understands your moods more, or can give you the kind of support that he/she can. When problems arise, however, (you get lost or it rains the whole time) tempers can flare and you might suddenly find yourself thinking that you’d like to be anywhere but in the woods with your SO.  So, the next time that happens, think about these 5 benefits of backpacking with your special someone.

12 backpacking trips together and we still like each other!

12 backpacking trips together and we still like each other!

1. You get to problem solve as a team.

Making decisions as a team is our rule in the wilderness. If you’ve come to a literal fork in the road you use your map, of course, but ultimately must agree on which route to take.  If you decide to strike out cross-country, this is even more important.  When you problem solve or make a decision together then you both own it.  Right or wrong, that decision belongs to both of you.  There can be no blame game later on.

2. You learn to share responsibilities.

Maybe one of you is better at finding the perfect campsite.  Maybe one of you is quicker at arranging sleeping gear.  Sharing responsibilities is key to backpacking and helps each of you recognize the other’s strengths. Sometimes it also means working a bit more when the other can’t.  On one particularly rainy trip to Avalanche Lake, I awoke ready for the day.  My SO hadn’t slept well and was still unhappy about the night’s weather, so I let him sleep, filtered water, and found a great kitchen spot with a beautiful lake view.  These little bits of help and shared responsibility improved both our moods and outlook on the upcoming day.

3. You talk more/share more/communicate more.

There are no secrets in the wilderness.  If you’re hungry, need water, are in pain, or just want to talk, now is the time to speak up.  No phone is going to interrupt your conversations here!  We’ve told more stories from our pasts, shared more concerns, and just communicated more during backpacking trips than we do on a daily basis at home. It’s easy to talk in the wilderness because there isn’t anything to stop you. No one is going anywhere and the TV isn’t going to cause any distractions here.

4. You experience amazing “firsts” together. 

We started backpacking together. Neither of us had done it before the other, so every “first” has been a first for both of us.  Seeing a moose while backpacking, hiking the CDT, camping at the base of more than one 14er, all of these were firsts for us, and we share those moments.  We can look back at so many pictures and think, “remember when we…”  These firsts are great bonding moments for us.

Finding this basin of wildflowers was a "wow" moment for us.

Finding this basin of wildflowers was a “wow” moment for us.

5. You achieve goals together.

Whether your goal is to survive a horrific swarm of mosquitos, or to make it five nights in the wilderness, you can achieve these goals together.  At the end you get to say, “We did it,” instead of “I did it.” That team mentality carries over into the rest of your life and relationship moments.  You start to think of always achieving goals together and as a team. What better way to strengthen a relationship than by achieving a major goal, like a 10-day backpacking trip together?

Backpacking can be a stressful experience.  When things don’t go as planned or the weather affects your day, it can be easy to blame others or just get angry. If you’ve got someone with you, however, who supports you and can listen and sympathize, you’ll spend much less time agonizing over what went wrong and more time remembering all that went right.

# Comments

  • James Tracy

    Great article. The follow up should be “how to work your spouse up to camping”

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