STUDY: Hiking with a Friend is EASIER
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Nate Meinzer
(Rezniem) - F

Locale: San Francisco
STUDY: Hiking with a Friend is EASIER on 04/23/2009 13:05:06 MDT Print View

Wow. Just ran across this study on the web:

"Last year, researchers studied 34 students at the University of Virginia, taking them to the base of a steep hill and fitting them with a weighted backpack. They were then asked to estimate the steepness of the hill. Some participants stood next to friends during the exercise, while others were alone. The students who stood with friends gave lower estimates of the steepness of the hill. And the longer the friends had known each other, the less steep the hill appeared."

James Dubendorf
(dubendorf)

Locale: CO, UT, MA, ME, NH, VT
Re: STUDY: Hiking with a Friend is EASIER on 04/23/2009 13:29:05 MDT Print View

I remember a hike from my days of heavy packs and clunky boots when I had horrible, painful blisters. For some reason, it was psychologically much harder to lead the way- I asked my girlfriend to hike in front for the rest of the trip, and it seemed to help. Something about looking down an empty trail that made the pain worse?

Hiking lightweight makes everything easier, of course, whether or not you are alone. I guess that's the bottom line! I do think that when you are hiking alone, you face challenges and uncertain situations differently.

James

Devin Montgomery
(dsmontgomery) - MLife

Locale: one snowball away from big trouble
Re: STUDY: Hiking with a Friend is EASIER on 04/23/2009 13:31:44 MDT Print View

That's clever, thanks for sharing! Another benefit to group hiking, above and beyond load sharing with common equipment.

I do wonder how steep the hill felt after a week in the woods spending every waking moment and bodily function with those "friends." :)

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
re: STUDY: Hiking with a Friend is EASIER on 04/23/2009 13:36:34 MDT Print View

I guess the comfort of a friend distracts you from your misery? When you're alone you have nothing to think about but what a pain in the @$$ this frickin' hill is. :)

In addition, gear sharing is a great way to go. It's much lighter to spread out the weight of gear that will be used by all such as:
-Water treatment gear
-In camp water carrier
-Stove
-Fuel
-Cooking items (utensils, cutting boards, and whatnot)
-Bear canister (the ultralighter's bane)
-1/3 of a 3 man tent/tarp is usually lighter than a solo
-Ground cloth

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: STUDY: Hiking with a Friend is EASIER on 04/23/2009 13:39:50 MDT Print View

James, having your girlfriend hike in front of you is like tying a carrot on a stick and putting it in front of a horse.
At that age you probably could have added 20 more pound to your pack and still enjoyed the view, mean while what ever pain you might be suffering would have been totally in proportion to the possibility and kind of reward at the end of the hike. But YMMV.

James Dubendorf
(dubendorf)

Locale: CO, UT, MA, ME, NH, VT
Re: Re: Re: STUDY: Hiking with a Friend is EASIER on 04/23/2009 13:54:36 MDT Print View

Once I re-read my post, I thought I might have left myself open to that line of commentary! All I can say is that motivation is a mysterious thing, and there were indeed many lovely views during the trip.

James