KEEN Quiz: Which Type of Hiker Are You?
Enjoying a short scenic loop trail or going all in and quitting your job to backpack across the country—there is a hike for everybody.
According to Outdoor Industry Association data, the number of Americans hitting the trails continues to climb year after year. Why? Well, here at KEEN, we think it probably has a lot to do with the fact that hiking truly is an activity for all. Solo hiking in your ‘60s, hiking with a baby on your back, exploring ADA-accessible trails, or backpacking with your buds through Patagonia—the magic of hiking does wonders for body and mind.
1. Choose the hiking scenario that sounds best to you:
a. A beautiful day. A beautiful hike. Stopping for dinner at a small-town diner on the way back home.
b. Guiding yourself to an expansive viewpoint and realizing that what you’re seeing hasn’t been touched by humans (or might not even have a name on a map!).
c. A weekend in the woods with everything you need on your own back.
d. A beautiful trail with ample time to stop and take some photos, whip out your bird book, or find that plentiful chanterelle patch.
e. Ready, set, hike. You are all about technical terrain and beating your previous trail times. But of course, you enjoy the scenery along the way too.
2. What’s your most treasured piece of hiking gear?
a. I wouldn’t trade my day pack for anything in the world. When you find a perfectly fitting backpack, you never give it up.
b. A compass, of course!
c. My trusty water purifier. How else am I going to stay hydrated mile after mile, day after day?
d. Sure, hiking gear is important, but my most important gear is the stuff I pack to do my hobbies along the way.
e. I don’t leave home without my trekking poles. After all, they help take the strain off my joints when I am speeding downhill and help with stability on difficult uphills.
3. Fill in the blank: For me, hiking is all about ______.
a. Spending a day connecting with nature and seeing new sights.
b. Freedom, solitude, and finding my own way.
c. Experiencing the outdoors and getting myself to remote parts of the wilderness thanks to the power and determination of my own body.
d. What you see and do along the way. Snapping photos, sketching, or catching fish for dinner? I’m in it for the experiences.
e. Moving fast, exploring the unexpected, and feeling invigorated.
4. How do you pick a hiking trail?
a. Hiking apps or word of mouth! I am usually looking for a trail with great scenery that I can hike in one day.
b. Trail? I don’t need a trail!
c. I love to read hiking forums and blogs. That’s how I get the inside scoop on water sources and the best camp spots.
d. The trails I choose always have to do with the outdoor hobbies I’m interested in.
e. I pick a trail where I can hike ultralight and ultra-fast. Day hike or thru-hike—I like them all.
5. When it comes to trail food, what's your go-to?
a. Tasty trail snacks that the whole family loves! Like these ones.
b. Food that’s easy to carry and cook anywhere (and I mean anywhere).
c. You’d be surprised how tasty a freeze-dried Thai curry can be after a long day on the trail!
d. If I’m lucky, I’ll be snacking on wild berries and eating fresh fish and wild mushrooms cooked over a fire.
e. I go for trail food that is lightweight and nutrient-dense.
6. What’s your biggest hiking challenge?
a. Choosing the trail! There are so many good options and such little time.
b. Getting to the start of the hike. Since they’re oftentimes not marked on a map and you can’t just drive up, you might need the assistance of a bush plane, helicopter, or horse.
c. Packing everything into one backpack.
d. Choosing which hobby to pursue! Should I bring my camera equipment? My traveling easel? My birding gear?
e. Being prepared for whatever comes up. Since I have to pack light, I’ve got to make sure I have the right equipment for the hike at hand.
If you answered mostly “a,” you’re definitely a Trail-Loving Day Hiker. For you, the perfect day is hitting the trail early and covering ground. Getting your heart rate up, enjoying some good views, and snacking on some tasty hiking food (you probably have a signature energy bar recipe right?)—that’s totally your jam. A good KEEN hiking boot match? Our tried-and-true Targhee hiking boots for men and women (and kids!) are a favorite of day hikers all over the world. For those shorter day hikes, we recommend checking out our men’s and women’s KEEN Explore boots and shoes. Part hiking boot, part sneaker, they’re a perfect lightweight hiker that can easily go from trail to town.
If you answered mostly “b,” you could be a Wandering Free Hiker. No trails. No rules. You are the backcountry skier of the hiking world. After years of day hiking and backpacking, you’ve become a GPS master who loves the challenge of picking your own route through the unexplored corners of the wilderness. From the gear needed to survive in the backcountry, to knowing which unrestricted public lands are open to off-trail hiking, you know your stuff and live to explore new territory. A good KEEN hiking boot match? Check out the KEEN Wild Sky for men and women. When you’re deep in the wilderness charting your own course, you need comfortable and supportive boots you can rely on.
If you answered mostly “c,” you’re probably a Badass Backpacking Hiker. Whether it’s one night or two weeks, you’re the type of hiker that likes loading up and heading out. Solo trip, family adventure, or weekend with your BFFs, you can’t think of a better activity than spending a few days in the woods. You know you’re a backpacker when things like stringing up your bear bag at night or sipping cowboy coffee in the early morning fog are your kind of adventure. A good KEEN hiking boot match? One of our favorite styles for backpacking is our KEEN Durand boots for women and men. Made for stability and comfort mile after mile, these waterproof, environmentally preferred leather boots have a contoured heel lock for a super secure fit.
If you answered mostly “d,” you’re what some call an On-a-Mission Hiker. Sure, you love the smell of that fresh mountain air and the distinct taste of a slightly crushed energy bar, but you’re really in it for the views, the fish, or the thrill of the hunt. You originally got into hiking because of another outdoor hobby—photography, hunting or fishing, birdwatching, or mushroom foraging. Your pack is full of gear that an average hiker might not recognize, but for you, it’s worth the weight. Need a pair of KEEN boots for your next mission? Our women’s and men’s KEEN Steens shoes and boots are built with a stability shank and a grippy rubber outsole, so you’ll feel supported and comfortable no matter where your hobbies steer you next. (We even make an insulated version for that upcoming ice fishing trip.)
If you answered mostly “e,” you are likely a Fast-Paced Speed Hiker. You like going far and going fast. Your idea of a good day is hiking while the sunrises, tackling tough terrain, and seeing how quickly you can bang out the miles. People oftentimes mistake you as just a trail runner, but you know you’re a hiker at heart. A good KEEN hiking boot to match your speed? Our favorite KEEN styles for fast hikes are the men’s Venture boots and shoes, and the women’s Terradora boots and shoes. With the feel of a trail runner and the comfort of a long-distance hiker, these lightweight boots are made to keep up with your trail goals.