We know you secretly want your Scouts to suffer through that 20-mile hike. That is the goal of it after all, right? So, we thought we’d help you out. Here are some tips to ensure that you and your Scouts have the most miserable time of your lives while hiking: 

1-Wear really heavy cotton clothes if it’s summer. Dress in a t-shirt and shorts if it’s winter.  They’ll be super sweaty or freezing. Either way, it’s not going to be comfortable! Make sure to avoid layers and covering skin. 

2-Don’t take any breaks. At all costs, leave the slowpokes behind. 


3-Only tell your two-year-old child where you’re going. We’re confident she’ll forget that you are supposed to return at 6 PM. Then, not only will it be miserable for the troop, but you’ll be sure to create a horrible experience for all the concerned parents as well! 

4-Do not use insect repellent or sunscreen. Also, don’t use deodorant. Not only will you be stinky and burnt, but natural human fumes (like sweat) attract the bugs. 

5-Pack lots of chocolate and milk. Better yet, don’t pack any food or water! Because everyone loves melted chocolate in their trail mix. 

6-Go on a stormy or rainy day.  Don’t let anyone bring ponchos or extra layers or it might be slightly less awful. 

7-Stray from the trail. This leads to all kinds of terrific problems. 

8-Make sure to mess with the wild animals. The more dangerous the animal, the better. Feeding animals is also a great idea. Hiking

9-Avoid hiking boots. Flip-flops are better. Flip-flops make it really tricky when you’re trying to climb over rocks and such. 

10-Find a really busy hiking location, so you can hit all the crowds. 

If you want to be miserable while hiking, these are the best tips to follow. Your boys will probably never want to go on a hike again. Mission accomplished!

All joking aside, these things really happen while hiking (I’ve experienced a few of them), and avoiding these issues encourages safety and fun. 

Do you have any great suggestions on how to make a fun experience awful? 

Michelle Carpenter
is a reporter for the Voice of Scouting and a marketing associate for The Utah National Parks Council. Her father, husband, and brother are all Eagle Scouts, so she firmly believes some of the best men did Scouting.


  1. Tyler North
    Tyler North ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Oh yeah and don’t forget to go alone! It’s more fun that way, so your mountain lion friends can sneak up on you, right?

  2. Avatar
    Mike Conkey says:

    The article brought back not-so-fond memories of one leg of a backpack trip I took as a 13 year-old Scout. This was in the days before GPS, and the trip was going to be a week-long, 50-miler, starting and ending at Maroon Bells (near Aspen, CO). There were several mis-calculations and the final mileage was closer to 75 miles. On the second day, what was purported to be 10 miles, ended up being closer to 15 with three pass ascents and descents. I remember being exhausted when we finally trudged into our destination at about 7 PM. We were scattered along at least two miles of trail, and the gazelles got there at least an hour before the laggards. We didn’t even start our stove, we just had the following day’s lunch, set up the tent, and went to bed. Forty years later, my Scout friends and I still talk about that as a lesson learned when you leave the adults in charge of route scheduling! While I was miserable at the time, that experience was part of what built me into what I am today.

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