How to bitch without bitching

Hiking is hard. Because of this you will be tempted to complain while hiking. However, you don’t want to be the person who complains, and that puts you in a little bit of a bind. Luckily we here at Lesser Places have your back with our very helpful guide, How to Bitch Without Bitching. 

DON’T: Ask, “How much Further?”

Asking “How much further?” will only elicit one response from your hiking partners: A thirty minute existentialist tirade about how the simple act of thinking of the hike as a task to be conquered rather than a process to be enjoyed is will only make the hike worse. This talk is invariably followed by a look of disappointment.

Unless you have recently brushed up on your knowledge of The Plauge (RIEUX WAS THE NARRATOR ALL ALONG??!! ERMYGODDDZZZZZZ) this is a conversation best avoided.

DO: Ask to see the map.

You know the way weird book people fantasize about having a Beauty and the Beast Library in there house?

Replace every single one of those books with a map and you have my dream house.

I love maps. Sometimes I look at all my maps just to think of fun places I could go. Nothing would make me happier than to show you a map. All you would have to do is pretend to pay attention until I invariably tell you how much further is left.  Mission accomplished.

So, you’ve been hiking for a while and you really need a break. Unfortunately you also don’t want to be the person who admits to needing a break. Then an idea strikes you: No one will ever complain about you drinking waterLets stop for a water break!

DON’T: Use a camelbak

DO: Carry water bottles

Sure, that camelbak is super convenient and basically better in every way. BUT, if you were smart and put your water bottles in your pack, you have a built in excuse to stop every single time you need a breather.  Otherwise its time to either feign injury or swallow your pride.

DON’T: Talk about work. 

No one, and I mean no one, wants to hear about work while you are outdoors. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the entire reason we go outside IS TO GET AWAY FROM WORK. Yet, on every single trip someone starts talking about work. This person then gets tired because they are trying to talk while they hike.   

DO: Ask about nature. 


Do you want to hear me talk for an hour? Ask me about a cactus. Any cactus. Or a bush. Or a stream. I will literally tell you everything there is to know about all of these things. Now, since I am the one talking, I will be the one who gets tired, not you. Best part? You don’t even have to listen. I don’t even care. I just want to talk about cacti and be left in peace.

DON’T: Complain about your pack weight

DO: Place heavy things in other people’s pack

In my life I have come close to murder once: when I discovered my buddy Eddie Brown had been putting rocks in my pack at every break for the entire hike out of the Grand Canyon. Once my murder-y rage passed, I had to admit that the whole thing was pretty amazing and had the added benefit of slowing me down for the slower people in the group.

DONT: Get angry 

DO: Laugh 

Consider this moment: _DSC3011

That picture is of me, drying a sock over a fire because I was an idiot and stepped in a stream during the only crossing of the day. Sure, I may look happy, but secretly I was very very unhappy. This is because my socks were wet and there are only two things worse than wet socks: 1.) Waiting in line at Walmart, and 2.) eating anything with blue cheese on it. Being angry was the wrong choice though. I should have listened to Billy the Bass instead:

Disclaimer: This post, and all posts on LesserPlaces, may contain affiliate links– links that allow me to receive a small kickback at no additional cost to you when you shop through them. This is how we keep the lights on. 


Max Wilson is a graduate student studying ecology at Arizona State University. You can follow him on twitter @maxomillions.

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4 thoughts on “How to bitch without bitching

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