I have finally convinced my brother and our good friend to go hiking with me. I love hiking and being outside as much as possible, but they seem to hate it. How can I make our hiking trip fun and more enjoyable for them?

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    I don't think you can. It'd be like trying to get me to enjoy spending Sunday afternoon watching sports on TV. – jamesqf Jun 4 '15 at 18:53
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    I would ask them to see what they anticipate to be least fun about the hiking trip and see if I can mitigate that. For instance, maybe their experience with "hiking" is trudging uphill while carrying a heavy backpack in the sweltering heat and having bugs attempt to assault every inch of them. – DoubleDouble Jun 5 '15 at 15:29
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    With todays generation: Take lots of H-core action shots of them on the trail making their various gang signs at the top of a lookout or on a sketchy log bridge for them to post on social media. The virtual attention they get will make them want to go out for more. – ShemSeger Jun 5 '15 at 17:14
  • @ShemSeger I know what you mean but I hope nobody will actually support this behaviour... – Wills Jun 5 '15 at 18:27

I had the privilege on introducing the outdoors to quite a few people in my life, lately focusing on my wife and child; and from my experience there are a few simple things that increase the chance they might enjoy it:

  1. Keep them comfortable - make sure they have as little physical discomfort as possible as that makes an immediate excuse for not enjoying. Make sure they have the right clothes for the weather, that you carry enough food, water and treats and that your breaks are in a comfortable setting to sit and enjoy.
  2. Make the walk short but with a very clear goal: climb a peak, reach a waterfall, etc. Another part of it is to try and find a circular trail so they don't feel they are "going back".
  3. Pack a handful of things they don't expect: maybe a few cold beers for when you reach your mid walk goal, an excellent coffee kit for some really nice coffee with fresh pastries and so on.
  4. If possible on the trail, find a perceived dangerous point that will give them something to talk about later on and will become their "type 2 fun" to think back on. This can be walking on a small exposed ledge, crossing a river etc. Just make sure you can keep all of you safe there.

The trick is to think about all the things that you are happy to grind your teeth and ignore in the outdoors as part of the bigger picture while hiking and eliminate them as potential problems.

Good luck in getting them to join. If you do succeed the feeling is great!

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    cold bears really would be a surprise :-) – Rory Alsop Jun 5 '15 at 7:13
  • Indeed, and uncomfortable! Beers are much better - fixed. – Gilad Nachmani Jun 5 '15 at 10:49
  • Short hikes with a clear goal - great idea, we do this often with friends who aren't used to hiking... Usually the goal is a nice pub! – Aravona Jun 5 '15 at 10:59
  • Point 4 has the risk of backfiring. Someone unused to hiking may be discouraged from joining again if they really don't like the dangerous point. – gerrit Aug 27 '17 at 1:00

How can I make our hiking trip fun and more enjoyable for them?

A lot of people have fairly irrational reasons they don't like the outdoors.

Bugs, animals, uncomfortable sleeping (camping), food choices, fear of heights, being out of shape, etc.

All these have ways you can address them.

If you are getting resistance try to understand why they don't want to go with. You may even be able to do this now, asking something like "what are you looking forward to and apprehensive about?" and try to understand this. This will help you understand why people do not want to go or do not enjoy things.

At the end of the day some folks will just not want to and have no reason other than "because." You can't really do anything there.

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  • Being out of shape seems like a completely rational reason for not liking hiking, to me... – David Richerby Jun 6 '15 at 10:57
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    I think this answer is key; you need to properly understand the problem first. But, the reasons themselves may be perfectly rational (e.g. mosquitoes), it's more likely their risk assessment is off or they don't know a good solution. – requiem Jun 8 '15 at 18:12
  • Uncomfortable sleeping is also not irrational. Some people enjoy a lot the comforts of a real bed, from where they can walk in privacy, naked, to a real bathroom with a hot shower, and find any lesser comforts they perceive when camping (or even sleeping in a dormitory-style mountain hut) a major price to pay. And fear of heights is not a "reason"; it's a phobia that cannot be reasoned away. – gerrit Aug 27 '17 at 1:04

You can't really force anybody to like anything. When you try so you will most likely discourage them even more. What you can try to do is convice them to give it a shot (what you did) and prepare the trip so you have a nice time. Would be a big put off if it starts raining and you aren't well equipped. Just to mention some part.

There are lots of helpful topics (I think you plan to hike and stay overnight in a camp), e.g.

If you read the answers in those and other topics you have a good idea what's important for new hikers/campers. Try to be really well prepared and enjoy your time. Then you can only hope your friends will do the same and stick to it :)

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Heh this question is similar to: How can I convince my friend to become vegetarian. You can't simple as that. But you can show them another dimension of life while hiking or for example eating vegi food, and if they are in the state of changes they would love some life changing decisions to be made.

When I was young my father always asked me to go with him on some hiking, but I always say no, because I was not in to it. But now that I'm little bit older and wiser, I see living and spending time in the nature as another dimension of life that I want to live. So in the case of your friends your best shot is that you showed them another dimension of life or happynes.

For me the best reasons to spend more time in the nature are:

  • To softening my heart.
  • See that the most beautiful elements of the universe are not man made.
  • Feel that nature don't need human and its perfect as the way it is.
  • Finding that lost mother bond with mother nature and aware my self that I'm her lost child.
  • And to become more like a tree, if somebody throw at you a rook you should still give him a shadow when it's hot, and your fruts when he wish one.
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