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9 Signs You're an Old School Backpacker

Fads come and go, but you've been a backpacker through it all. Here are a few signs you're a diehard dirtbag.


Pacific Crest Trail

Masses have been flocking to the PCT, AT, and CDT in recent years. Lucky for you, you completed your thru-hike in the days of yore. [Photo: John Roig / Flickr.]

External Frame Pack

You probably picked this baby up at a gear swap or yard sale while you were in college, and it’s been one of your most trusty companions ever since. You don’t need fancy internal suspension and ultra-light whatchamacallits—you just need the dependability that this pack has afforded you over the decades.

You’ve been hiking in those clunky, heavy boots for so long, they’re finally cool again since hipsters love anything from a time period that’s not…

You’ve been hiking in those clunky, heavy boots for so long, they’re finally cool again since hipsters love anything from a time period that’s not their own. But they fit so well, there’s no way you’re trading them in for a new pair any time soon. [Photo: Raymond Bryson / Flickr. ]

sleeping bag

It might be a little musty, but it forms perfectly to your body. Plus, the when you finally retire it, you can think about selling it to a museum. Win-win! [Photo: Wikimedia]

glamping

Sleeping in a heated beachside canopy with an electrical hookup is so alien to you that you will not acknowledge the suggestion, much less respond to it. [Photo: Wicker Paradise / Flickr.]

canteen

Along with your canteen, you most likely carry a military-grade poncho rather than a fancy brand name rain jacket. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, you always say. [Photo: Jayal Aherem / Flickr]

In 1938, Lloyd and Mary Anderson formed what is now known as REI in order to share quality outdoor gear with their buds (the name changed in 1956).…

In 1938, Lloyd and Mary Anderson formed what is now known as REI in order to share quality outdoor gear with their buds (the name changed in 1956). For hikers of a certain age, REI will always be REC in their hearts . [Photo: Chris Phan / Flickr]

smartphone

Kids these days and their new-fangled technology. The woods were the original smartphone, where you can use the sky as your compass, the clouds as your weather app, and the sun as your clock. Think about it. [Photo: Karlis Dambrans / Flickr.]

walking stick

Kids make fun of you for looking like Gandalf with your wooden walking stick, but you know better. You know that it’s (potentially) cheaper, sturdier, recyclable, and who knows, maybe it even has magical powers, too. [Photo: Wikimedia]