Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Cool way to carpool by swapping car keys and then each using the others car when you are done your trip.


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Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Cool way to carpool by swapping car keys and then each using the others car when you are done your trip. on 07/26/2012 14:17:11 MDT Print View

I had a cool idea to allow two people to share cars and make backpacking WAY easier and not require complex hitchhiking or having to travel all the way back to your car.

Basically ... two people give each a copy of their car keys.

Then they each travel to different trail heads.

Alice goes to trail head A and Bob got to trail head B.

Alice exits through trail head B and uses Bob's car to drive back to a meeting point.

Bob exits through trail head A and uses Alice's car to drive back to the meeting point.

They then swap cars.

Is there a name for this?

This should allow me to go up into Yosemite and then have another backpacker go into King's Canyon and then we could do a long 40 mile thru hike without having to take 2-3 hours to go back to my car via hitch hiking.

Also, you could meet 1/2 way and exchange details about the trail. The water situation, places to camp, etc.

Leigh Baker
(leighb) - F

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
re; "Cool way to carpool by swapping car keys and then each using the others car when you are done your trip." on 07/26/2012 14:22:46 MDT Print View

Yep, I haven't done it but some friends I know have.

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
name on 07/26/2012 14:27:07 MDT Print View

Is there a name for it?

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: key swap on 07/26/2012 14:37:14 MDT Print View

We do the Lost Coast like this. Two groups hike in from each direction. We meet in the middle and do the key exchange. Then we drive each others cars back to Garberville for the post hike meal and swap back. Works great. We just call it a key swap.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: key swap on 07/26/2012 14:43:18 MDT Print View

Some people at portlandhikers.org did that from two ends of the Columbia Gorge

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Cool way to carpool by swapping car keys on 07/26/2012 15:59:44 MDT Print View

It's better to drive to the trailhead in the other party's car, so that after each finishes the hike they can just go home in their own vehicles, and exchange keys later on. That way, if there are delays, nobody is stuck waiting at the meeting place.

It's a great system but can backfire if something goes wrong. I tried this with a Portland-area couple in the Wind Rivers. It would have worked fine except that my dog got sick and I had to abort my trip. I camped along the trail a few miles from the trailhead to rest the dog. The couple finished early and got by me without my seeing them, so when I got back to the trailhead, their vehicle was gone and they were halfway back to Oregon! I found someone who was going out who agreed to call the couple for me from Pinedale (no cell phone reception at the trailhead) and they sent the Great Outdoors Shop shuttle to rescue me.

Edited by hikinggranny on 07/26/2012 16:04:58 MDT.

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Re: Cool way to carpool by swapping car keys on 07/26/2012 16:23:47 MDT Print View

Really good point. I wonder if there is a way to mitigate this problem.

One point here is that you could always plan B it and shuttle/hitchhike back to your car but it is sketch if someone (or some dog) in your party is sick.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Cool way to carpool by swapping car keys and then each using the others car when you are done your trip. on 07/26/2012 16:37:17 MDT Print View

It can work but you better trust the other party - and know if your insurance allows it. For a couple of years I couldn't let anyone else drive my truck due to the insurance I had - I was covered under my at-the-time boyfriend's USAA insurance and he was the only one besides me allowed to drive my vehicle. Once we got married they gave me full coverage and that restriction went away. But having said that....I have to really, really trust someone to let them drive my vehicles and the same back - if you wreck the car god forbid it could be painful.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Cool way to carpool by swapping car keys and then each using the others car when you are done your trip. on 07/26/2012 16:53:17 MDT Print View

We call them key exchange hikes, but Sierra Club national supposedly does not allow them anymore or at least Dallas Sierra Club stopped allowing it.