Backpacking Is Sexy

Hey girl.

Or guy. I want you to know something about that hobby of yours that you partake in two to 200 days a year.

It’s sexy.

Yes, I’m talking about backpacking.

The way you suffer up a steep trail with 40 pounds of stuff in your backpack is hot, in the same sexy sports sort of way as beach volleyball or shirtless rock climbing.


It’s in those odd-shaped sweat marks temporarily staining your synthetic fabric shirt when you take your backpack off for a break to drink some water and eat some room temperature snacks so you can backpack some more. What kind of sandwich is that you’re unwrapping?

I like peanut butter and jelly too, baby. Let’s eat and keep backpacking all night long.

Oh, you would like to find a place to camp before night falls? I suppose that’s a good idea.

I just meant I like to take it slow. With you. Backpacking. Not like those people who trail run or mountain bike — no baby, I like it at three miles per hour, or even one mile an hour if your particular trail gains more than one thousand feet in a mile. Yeah.

FYI, these sturdy yet sensual legs go all the way up to the point where my zip-off pants turn into shorts.

Can I tell you something? I have a bit of a foot fetish. But only for feet bedazzled with fragments of dirt and patches of moleskin. Perhaps you would like to slowly remove the gaiters you’re wearing with those hiking shorts and show me yours?

I’m sorry, was that too forward? Maybe we could back up a little. To the part where I build you a roaring but not ostentatious campfire and read to you from my favorite USGS quadrangle map while we sip from a very small bottle of whiskey I rationalized bringing even though I spent the night before weighing all the other items in my pack with a luggage scale.

And then maybe I can get closer to you and your synthetic shirt that never quite loses that specific B.O. smell in its armpits no matter how you wash it after your last hike, and your sleeping bag that holds and beautifully blends the body smells of all your hard work on the trail, plus whatever happened in your digestive tract after we ate that freeze-dried Himalayan Lentils meal from a bag the night before.

I’m sorry. Am I getting you a little hot? As hot as the back sweat you produce while hauling a 45-pound pack up a 2,000-foot climb? Or maybe as hot as the friction between your hips and a too-tightly-cinched waistbelt on an old backpack?

I thought that might be the case. I’ll just leave this here and you can call me when you’re ready to spend a weekend grunting and sweating with a relative stranger, up a long, long trail that feels like it’s never going to end.

Just to be clear, I am still talking about backpacking.


Tony B. Trail Magic


More stories like this in my new book, Bears Don’t Care About Your Problems, out now.

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