It’s an incredibly romantic thought: just you and your beloved, deep in the woods, without a care in the world. And sure, backpacking with your significant other can be a wonderful bonding experience—but it can also be very challenging.
Even if you’re used to hanging out together 24/7, you’re bound to see a whole new side of your partner while out on the trail. Here are some ways to prepare.
If it’s your first backpacking adventure together, it’s important to sit down well ahead of the trip and establish realistic expectations. Talk about your respective backpacking styles—are you a total minimalist while he likes to pack everything but the kitchen sink? Do you like to power hike to get from point A to point B while she prefers to stop and take plenty of photos along the way? Knowing what you’re getting into well help prevent surprises down the road. As is usually the case in relationships, communication is key.
Plan Like a Pro
It’s easy to get along when you’re happy, well-fed, and well-rested—it’s not until the unexpected arises that the walls begin to crumble. You can’t control some things (like the weather), but there is a lot that you can manage with proper planning (like having a waterproof tent and wearing waterproof hiking boots). Make a list and check it twice, pack plenty of food, and bring supplies that will help you in an emergency, like a first aid kit and repair tools.
Indulge in Some Luxuries
A backpacking trip is typically pretty bare bones, but you can keep the romance alive after a particularly grueling day by surprising your other half with a few small luxuries. Go ahead and pack that freeze-dried chocolate cake, the flask filled with your loved one’s favorite whiskey, or an extra pair of dry socks to boost his or her morale when times get tough.
Divide and Conquer
Tensions can arise when one partner feels like the other isn’t pulling their weight. If both people play to their strengths, it can make backpacking life a lot more pleasant. Determine who will take care of what around camp: maybe you head to gather firewood and start a fire while your partner takes care of setting up the tent and sleeping bags. The work will get done twice as fast, giving you more time to enjoy your time together.
Savor Solo Time
On a longer trip, it’s only natural that you’ll eventually start rubbing each other the long way. Often times, this has nothing to do with you or your partner—you simply have no one else to vent to, so you accidentally take your frustrations out on your loved one. If you notice this is starting to happen, try to spend a bit of time apart. Stay up late watching the stars on your own, or get up early to have some alone time before your day kicks off. A little solo time goes a long way in preserving your sanity.
It’s not as intimate or romantic, but bringing a few friends along might just be the key to surviving a backpacking trip with your partner. You’ll still get to share adventures with your other half and snuggle up together in your sleeping bags, but you’ll also get healthy doses of hanging out with other people—which means you won’t get sick of each other.