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15 New Hiking Slang Terms Everyone Should Use

Want to really impress your hiking partners? Drop a few of these terms around the campfire.

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Like any niche activity, hiking is rife with slang—just check out an ultralight Reddit thread or shelter logbook for a dose of head-scratching hiker talk. But compared to other sports (have you ever heard rock climbers converse?), backpacking lingo is surprisingly scant. We thought we’d remedy the situation by inventing new terms for a few universal hiker experiences. Toss one out over your next campfire chat, and it’s sure to stick like marshmallow to a graham cracker. 


(adj.) Describes the anxious feeling one experiences when every campsite appears full at the end of the day, and the next one isn’t for a few miles up the trail. 

Ex. “I know you’re tired and hangry, but no need to get appretentsive; if we hurry, we can claim the last spot across the lake.” 


(n.) Candy brought on a family hike to bribe children to keep going without complaint. Can be used on adults as well.

Ex. “I never would have gotten my 5-year-old up that hill without the cajoleries I packed.” 

Déjà Views

(n.) The more boring scenery on the second half of an out-and-back hike, where you’re retreading an area you’ve just been through.

Ex: “The hike out was nice, but the déjà views kind of made me wish I had found a loop hike instead.”


(n.) A tiny rock, grain of sand, or piece of debris in your sock causing extreme discomfort or chafing. Remove any frinebbles immediately to prevent hot spots and blisters.

Ex: “You go on without me—I’ve got to stop and remove this frinebble from my left Altra Lone Peak.”


(v.) A portmanteau of force and gulp, as when one struggles to finish the last few bites of under-hydrated chili mac. (n.) A quantity of food that one must consume through the act of fulping. 

Ex: “Do you want the rest of my oatmeal? I just can’t seem to fulp it down.” 

“I really don’t want to pack out this stroganoff, but I’m too stuffed for the last few fulps.”


(n.) An ultralighter so obsessive about reducing weight that grams are too big a unit of measure. (A grain is equal to .065 gram.)

Ex: “Susan is such a grain-counter, she files her toenails before every hike.”


(n.) A lazily-dug, shallow cathole that’s not up to standard.

Ex: “His stomach was gurgling and he forgot his trowel, so he ended up just digging a kittenhole and pooping in it. Watch where you step.”

Person holding beer stein with mountains in background
A Michelob Ultralighter in the wild (Photo: Dmytro Herbeda / EyeEm via Getty)

Michelob Ultralighter

(n.) A backpacker who is normally fanatic about saving weight, except when it comes to adult beverages. Note: Applies no matter which brand of cheap beer they prefer.

Ex: “Charlie, the Michelob Ultralighter of the group, packed a tarp, a toothbrush with the handle cut off, and a sixer of Old Style.”


(n.) The giddy, euphoric feeling of topping out a peak or pass, reaching a secluded alpine lake, or spotting some unlikely wildlife on the trail. 

Ex: “That sunset last night gave me the best outdoorgasm of my life!”

Phantom Spice

(n.) The subtle yet distinct flavor carried from one meal to the next when a hiker fails to thoroughly wash out their camp dish. 

Ex: “I’m getting some phantom curry spice in my oatmeal this morning, and I can’t say I hate it.” 


(v.) To be stymied on a hike by a section of scrambling too difficult or scary to do.

Ex: “I tried to hike Pedernal but I got rockblocked by that last climbing move.”

Snack Bandit

(n.) An unprepared hiker who doesn’t bring enough food, instead choosing to mooch off their partners.

Ex: “Better pack a few extra bars if you’re hiking with Maria—she’s a real snack bandit.”


(v.) To accidentally cuddle with your tentmate in your sleep because you pitched your shelter on a slope and slid into them.

Ex: “We should have spent more time looking for a flat campsite. Instead, we pitched it in the first uneven spot we found and ended up sporking all night.”


(n.) A gear item dangling from the outside of one’s backpack, rather than stowed inside. Can also refer to a hiker who packs their gear in this manner.

Ex: “Did you see that swingaroo we passed at the junction? He had a cast iron pan and a beach umbrella!”

Trail Mermaid

(n.) Someone who doesn’t bother putting on their raingear, instead trusting their synthetic layers to dry out quickly after the storm stops.

Ex: “When the downpour started, most of us put on our shells, but Frank decided to be a trail mermaid and just hike through it.”

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