HIKE MY HIKE,
by Paul “Mags” Magnanti
A very opinionated guide to the one, true, correct and
absolute way to backpack on long distance hiking trails.
Hike Your Own Hike.
If you spend any amount of time in the long distance hiking community, you have heard this phrase.
What does HYOH mean?
Loosely defined, it means enjoy your journey and let others enjoy theirs. As long as your journey does
not impose upon anyone else, it does not matter how fast or slow you go, or what gear you take or even
what route you decide upon. HYOH means to best enjoy the journey based upon your own personal
safety, comfort and fun levels.
However, if you spend any amount of time in the hiking community (often on-line, sometimes on
trails) you know that HYOH is patently false.
There are discussions about what is the one, true, correct and absolute way to hike. Obviously, people
don't mean HYOH, they really mean HIKE MY HIKE – DAMN IT!
What does HMHDI entail? If you have to ask, you are obviously a pack sniffer and have no clue.
And that's the point of this tract. I'll show the one, true, correct and absolute way to hike. My way.
HIKE MY HIKE – DAMN IT! After reading this little tract, you will know the one, true, correct and
absolute way to hike.
Paul “Mags” Magnanti
Paul “Mags” Magnanti has been making hiker trash look trashy since 1996. His outdoor experiences include packing in
five liter boxes of wine for trips, ascending the summit of Jerimoth Hill and walking the length of the Pearl St Mall
(Boulder, CO) in a day. (self supported, coffee in hand). Mags has also given lectures on such important topics as Medium
Rare or Rare – how best to grill a steak, Beer: Need I say more?, and Single White Male mid-30s looking for active
female late 20s to mid 30s. Anyone? When not giving advice on topics he knows little about, he lives just outside of
Boulder, CO with his dust bunnies (Huey, Dewey and Louie).
Based upon hours of research, I have determined that what gear you bring is the most important part of
Why do I say that? Because there have been threads upon threads upon which is the correct knife to
bring (the bigger, the better), many scintillating conversations at Appalachian Trail shelters on titanium
widgets and the many hours spent of people detailing the gear they have used on the hike (and what
you should take), but never on what they saw on the hike. And many debates to go with all the gear.
Obviously gear must be the most important part of the hike.
First, let's discuss lightweight hiking versus traditional hiking.
There is a simple metric to use. Simply put, your base pack weight must be 20 lbs. No more. No less.
If your pack weights more than 20 lbs, you are obviously not hiking efficiently and are a pack sniffer.
You need to lighten your load! Preferably with many of the items for sale at the Very Expensive
Outdoor Store and are advertised in Way Cool EXTREME Outdoors Magazine. It does not matter if
you prefer camping to hiking and like some creature comforts. Unless you lighten your load, you are
forever destined to be a pack sniffer and obviously know nothing about backpacking. Go fast! Go light!
Go buy expensive lightweight gear!
If your pack weight is less than 20 lbs, you are obviously a gram counting weenie (even if we are using
the British Imperial and not the metric system!). You obviously care too much about going lightweight
and simply making hiking easier. You need to also buy some items for sale at the Very Expensive
Outdoor Store and are advertised in Way Cool EXTREME Outdoors Magazine.
You can not be extreme if you pack is not heavy enough. Go slow! Go camp! Buy a titanium espresso
Remember, to HMHDI, you need to pack 20 lbs, no more..no less.
Again, based on the hours of research I have concluded that it is VERY important to pack in the correct
type of knife. When backpacking on the long trails (when you have a sleeping bag, tent, food, stove and
other equipment), you never know when it may be important to fight a bear, do a low crawl and
apprehend very suspicious looking people or even build an emergency shelter. This is esp. important
when you are on the Appalachian Trail and can be as much as five miles from a road crossing!
Suspicious looking character you may have to
Shelter you can build with the correct knife take on with the proper knife.
He probably has the wrong knife based on the
What is the proper knife? A knife merely large enough to open up packaging and slice an occasional
slice of cheese or summer sausage is obviously not large enough to properly take on a bear.
If a hiker is HMHDI, the hiker will obviously take the appropriate knife to slay wild boars, build a
shelter and apprehend suspicious looking characters.
What pack sniffers who never hike take. Have you
tried spear fishing with this less than a one ounce
Correct knife for HMHDI. It will open Liptons. knife ??!?!
Apparently, what stove you bring is almost as important as what knife you bring. On the trail, you must
boil water. If you don't bring the correct stove, you will not boil water the correct way! If you do not
bring the correct stove, you will obviously not enjoy the wonders of nature, the vistas and the
camaraderie of your fellow hikers.
If you take the right stove, you will see a scene
just like this one! Remember, HMHDI to really
You will lose paradise if you take the wrong enjoy the trails.
Most hikers take the wrong assumption that hiking poles are a personal preference. That one hiking
pole, two or even none depends upon the hiker, the terrain or just simply personal preference in a given
Real hikers know better. They HMHDI. I have vague, unproven and very anecdotal evidence that my
view on hiking poles is correct and that others views are wrong. Be a real hiker. Do what I say when it
comes to poles. HIKE MY HIKE – DAMN IT!
I could spend hours upon hours of the correct gear to take for the HMHDI truth. Luckily, there are
many fine places to get the proper gear to properly HMHDI. If you don't want to look like a pack
sniffer, simply go to the Very Expensive Outdoor Store and only get items advertised in Way Cool
EXTREME Outdoors Magazine. Or just ask any hiker on-line. They'll tell you the right gear!
Obvious pack sniffer who did not get the correct
clothing and gear. Don't let this happen to you!
Correct clothing for HMHDI!
Hiking Pace and Miles Per Day Hiked
Due to my usual thorough research, I have determined that a person subscribing to HMHDI hikes no
more than 15 miles a day.
If you hike more than that distance, you are obviously not stopping to smell the roses. A hiker truly
HMHDI is also in camp no later than five PM. If you are in dark, mouse infested, three sided lean-to
with no view by this time, then you are truly stopping to smell the roses. A hiker HMHDI should also
be on the trail no earlier than 9am. Why? Because if you are on the trail early and enjoying the
morning light, you are obviously trying to make miles and not truly enjoying the trail experience.
What? You enjoy walking all day? That' silly talk! You are not supposed to be hiking on long distance
hiking trails. A real hiker who is HMHDI recognizes this truism and will camp more than hike.
Conversely, if the hiker does not hike at the fifteen miles per day, then they are obviously not an
efficient hiker and is merely a pack sniffer. Can a hiker really enjoy hiking by sitting at overlooks,
swimming in lakes and taking naps?
Don't be a pack sniffer. HIKE MY HIKE – DAMN IT!
On a related note is the controversy over speed hiking and setting records. Sorry. Van supported speed
“hikes” of any trail do not count. Speed hikes in general do not count. Supported or not. (Please see
my chapter below on OTHER ACTIVITIES). Why? For several reasons. How can a person truly enjoy
HMHDI if they are not carrying 20 lbs, no more and no less? How can the overlooks be enjoyed if
they are not camped out every night? If the person is hiking more than 15 miles a day and attempting to
set a record, then the hike is obviously not HMHDI ...they are HYOH and that (as discussed earlier) is
just plain wrong. Remember, the hiker who HMHDI recognizes that there is only one, true, correct
and absolute way to hike. Any other way of hiking is just not enjoyable and is therefore wrong.
Remember, different from my way is bad. Different from my way is incorrect. Different from my way
is not enjoyable. HIKE MY HIKE – DAMN IT!
Finally, all HMHDI hiker know, to the decimal place, how many miles they've hiked. Hiking is not
about time spent outdoors. Or memories made. No. It is keeping an accurate count of how many miles
you've hiked. John Muir, Ed Abbey, Henry David Thoreau and Colin Fletcher never listed their
mileage. They are pack sniffers. HMHDI and keep track of your mileage!
When I first started backpacking, I naively assumed that a hiker looked at a map, figured out a route
and went from A to B via foot.
How silly I was!
Since I've done my many hours of research, I've discovered that walking from A to B on foot is not
enough. It is best to take a lesson from the organized races and follow a narrowly defined path only;
otherwise the outdoors experience is not true.
On trails such as the Appalachian Trail, you can have many hours of fun conversation debating if you
should walk in and out of the campsite the same way to say you have truly done the trail. A person
HMHDI knows that this discussion is not trivial. That it really does matter if you want to get your
patch for the “I love me wall”. Don't share your stories, dreams or favorite memories. Let your friends
and loved ones know if you really hiked into and out of the campsite the correct way!
For many years, this discussion was avoided on Western trails. Luckily, hikers based primarily on the
Internet are finally seeing the light and recognizing the value of HMHDI! It is not enough to merely
walk the length of the Sierra, the Cascades or even the Rockies on your own two feet. Your hike is not
really valid unless you follow the officially designated path that may be buried under snow, hard to
locate or even not completed. If you do not follow this path, you will be set up for ridicule by people
who are on the Internet. Everyone knows how important the Internet is to real life. Remember, don't be
a pack sniffer! HIKE MY HIKE – DAMN IT !
MAKING MONEY OFF OUTDOOR PURSUITS
Real hikers do not write books, make gear, sell photographs, give talks or benefit in any way, shape or
form from their passion.
All real hikers with any talent for the above do it for free. It is not as if the United States has a free
If you are a real hiker with any kind of talent that may relate to the outdoors, consider finding a
meaningless cubicle job that does not make use of your passion.
If someone is fortunate enough to make a living out of their passion, they are not a real hiker. Make fun
of them anonymously on the Internet!
Remember..don't HYOH (or earn your own living)...HMHDI!
Other Outdoor Activities
Many people who subscribe to the false philosophy of HYOH believe people who don't long distance
hike or (shudder) do more than just hike as outdoor activities can know something about or even enjoy
the outdoors. That reasoning is simply not true.
To be a a real hiker and to HMHDI you must only backpack on long trails. Weekend backpacks and
day hikes are only acceptable for training purposes. If you go on a day hike or weekend backpack
merely for enjoyment and/or being with friends, you are a pack sniffer and not HMHDI!
Trail runners are of course the antithesis of all real hikers. Loping along the trails, taking in the fresh
air, getting an endorphin rush and feeling a sheer bliss for life while in nature can not be had while trail
running. I know this because many of the hikers I met have told me so. They must be correct. HMHDI!
Climbers, skiers, and (dare I say it?) mountain bikers obviously know nothing about enjoying the
outdoors and have no knowledge to share. The sunsets they see are are not as beautiful and fulfilling as
the one real hikers see. A thru-hiker who is in a shelter by 5pm and has never picked up a compass
obviously knows more about about, and how to enjoy, the outdoors than the bow hunter who never
takes a trail. Remember, to really enjoy the outdoors, and to prove you KNOW the outdoors, HMHDI!
HIKE MY HIKE – DAMN IT!
The HMHDI philosophy will lead you to the one, true, correct and absolute way to enjoy the outdoors.
Enjoying the outdoors is not just a matter of being in Nature. It is not a matter of enjoying the outdoors
that satisfied your own personal levels of safety, comfort and fun. It is not that silly phrase of HIKE
YOUR OWN HIKE.
No, enjoying the outdoors is about what other people (most specifically – ME) tell you is correct way
to enjoy the outdoors.
Can the outdoors really be enjoyed if you find your path to fulfillment? Real hikers (and only hikers
are real outdoors people...and only long distance hikers are real hikers. And only hikers who follow the
HMHDI philosophy are real hikers) recognize that there can only be one, true, correct and absolute
way to enjoy the outdoors.
Enjoying the outdoors is not about fun, experiencing nature, the physical challenge, camaraderie or the
It is about being outdoors the correct way.
And being outdoors the correct way is about doing it my way.
Don't be a pack sniffer. HIKE MY HIKE – DAMN IT!
Remember …. the hiker who HMHDI recognizes that there is only one, true, correct and absolute way
to hike. Any other way of hiking is just not enjoyable and is therefore wrong. Remember, different from
my way is bad. Different from my way is incorrect. Different from my way is not enjoyable. HIKE MY
HIKE – DAMN IT!