Should you bring beer on a hike?
By Jacey Gibb, Distribution Manager
Great Inclinations is your go-to source for diving into the world of casual hiking in and around the Lower Mainland. Because hiking’s not just for assholes anymore.
Hiking and drinking good beer are two of my favourite hobbies—and they aren’t mutually exclusive from each other. There’s an immense satisfaction that comes with cracking open a cold one after a grueling ascent, but it’s a polarizing topic between hikers. Here are a few things to consider before going hiking with your closest frothy friend.
Just a friendly reminder: Consuming alcohol in public isn’t permitted anywhere in British Columbia, including on its awesome hiking trails, and you can even receive a whopping $240 fine for doing so. For this article’s sake though, let’s just pretend that people don’t always follow the rules 100 percent of the time.
First off, I admit it’s a fun novelty—popping a squat at the top of a mountain and sipping on some delicious suds. For whatever reason, casually drinking a beer in situations that aren’t typically synonymous with drinking has a certain je ne sais quoi. Not everyone would agree with me though, so be considerate of other hikers on the trail, and if you’re bringing beer then avoid being an obnoxious party-bro about it.
You should also consider how long of a hike you’re embarking on and in what shape the beer will be once you reach the summit. Will the beer be lukewarm and shaken up from the ascent, erupting in a foam geyser as soon as you pop the tab? Consider that every step you take is another gentle rattle to the beer. As for the temperature, I’ve covered cooler bags in previous “Great Inclinations” articles, but it’s worth reiterating that they’re an easy way to keep your items—in this case, beer—chilled until it’s time for consumption. To make your cooler bag even colder, leave it in the freezer overnight before your hike.
There’s also the inevitability of that tasty beer becoming an empty bottle or can after you’ve relieved it of its precious contents. Most hikes have a “pack out what you pack in” policy and garbage cans are deliberately scarce, so be prepared to carry your empties down with you—and inevitably get some little spills in the process. I always recommend bringing an extra plastic bag for food scraps, and it can help with empties as well.
If you’re old enough to purchase beer, then you’re old enough to make the decision for yourself whether you’re going to bring it hiking or not. I’ve given a few suggestions for if you go that route, but I’m also generally opposed to the idea. Casual drinking is already ingrained into so many other activities, so I’m fine leaving hiking as a sober hobby.
My advice: Leave the brews for as a post-hike activity and enjoy some other beverage while you’re on the trail. Like water. You’re already about 60 percent water, so just go with that for now.