What Does Your Backpacking Booze Say About You?

By: Lauren Sloss

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It’s got to be one of the best parts of a rigorous, heart-pounding backpacking trip. No, not the moment when you reach the top and see the amazing, wild wilderness spread out below. It’s not looking up at the night sky and seeing more stars than you ever dreamed could exist. It’s when you dig through that massive pack of yours and pull out your trusty flask, open it up, and take a big, deep, hard-earned swig.

We’re kidding… kind of. That first celebratory drink doesn’t really compare to the stunning wonders of the Great Outdoors. But we’ve never found a drink that tastes better… except, perhaps, for the beer you drink after your trip is done, and you’ve dragged your sweaty, dirty self to the nearest watering hole. Still, the on-the-trail drink of choice is an important one to figure out, since carting beers (and the needed equipment to keep them cold) is pretty much a terrible idea (trust us, we’ve tried). The flask is a time-honored trail tradition for plenty of reasons — it’s light, it’s compact, and can be kept very handy at all times. What you fill yours with is an important decision that every mountain man and woman must make. We’re here to help: here’s what your trail drink of choice says about your backcountry style.

Photo: Kyle Frost


Maybe the most popular trail drink around, bourbon is a go-to for so many great reasons. If it happens to be yours, you can be counted on to get sh*t done, both on the trail and at your campsite, with a smile on your face. You’re the first to bust your flask out and pass it around the trail to friends new and old, and are probably starting the campfire (or camp stove) sing-a-long.


You approach backpacking like you approach life — with a sense of class, and a sense of the finer things. Your flask is probably an heirloom, and your first camping trip was likely a multi-generational affair. You take the outdoors and its marvels to heart, and may well have a journal along with you to record your thoughts, including the marvelous contrast of your smoky, smoky scotch to the lingering scent of the campfire.


You’re the one who’s going to be turning this journey into the wilderness into one hell of a party. You don’t just share your flask with your camping buddies — you insist that everyone take a drink. A big one. You have been known to fall asleep outside of your tent from time to time. And you can be counted on to cook up the best backcountry hangover breakfast around.


You’re notorious for being a backcountry foodie, and have been known to hike with everything from a paella pan to a brulee torch. You see no reason to skimp on flavor, and deliciousness, just because you’re ten-plus miles from civilization. Any fish you catch, you marinate before throwing it on your camp stove… and yeah, a little dash of that mezcal is certain to taste amazing.


You wish you were on a boat. Okay, you dig the mountains, too, but you lead the charge for any and all water-centric camping trips — coastal trails, swimming hole destinations, and if you can swing it, a waterfall or two. Sometimes, you like to wear a captain’s hat while you hike.


Is that a smoking jacket in your pack, tucked in next to a massive volume of leather-bound poetry? You do you, but if it’s us, we’re leaving the fine brandy at home.

Photo: Vic Garcia

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