Hiking With A Sibling: 4,000km with my Sister

Bean Dip
Australian, Amateur, Adventurer

Hiking with a sibling is great!

No, it isn't.

Yes, it is!

No, it isn't.

Yes, it is!

No, it isn't.

Repeat for 166 days.


I’ve hiked alone, in groups, even five months with my mum, and last year I did the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) with my sister (trail name Moonshine). It was terrible but it was pretty great too.  

We didn’t kill each other although hiking with someone you’ve known your whole life poses some unique challenges.  They know just how to motivate you or get under your skin. There is a level of rivalry that goes deeper than competitiveness. 

We met lots of others hiking with their siblings and it always seemed like such an amazing experience. We met sisters, brother and sister duos, and brothers all hiking together. 

Moonshine and I would usually only hike together for a few hours a day and then spend some time hiking alone, listening to music and podcasts and then we’d meet up for meals and camp together. Out of the 166 days we were out on the PCT I think we spent three nights away from each other.


The Good

Hiking with a partner who you know so well means that you are really free to be yourself and discussions can be had almost entirely without words. It was really clear when one of us was uncomfortable around another hiker or someone giving us a lift. Having someone to share your day with and exchange photos and stories about their day was really special.  We listened to the same podcasts during the day so that we could discuss them later. And if there was a sketchy river crossing we would wait for one another so we could cross safely and ensure there was photo evidence if one of us was going to fall spectacularly.

The Bad

We shared everything! We shared meals (both in town and on trail), a phone (to make calls home to our family), hotels, music playlists, shared in the dislike of other hikers, shared favorite hikers,  etc. etc. etc. We even made the mistake of sharing a tent for the first 100 days out on the trail. This all put too much pressure on us as a team. Our hiking styles are different; I prefer to get up earlier and get hiking straight away while Moonshine prefers to have breakfast before starting. Our hiking speeds were different too. Waiting for someone is frustrating and having someone wait for you is also frustrating. Having that person be a sibling who can somehow relate this to the time they had to wait for you to tie your shoes 15 years ago - muy frustrating! 

The Beautiful

The bums. There are always bums out when I go hiking. On the Appalachian Trail (AT) it was mostly reserved for the “Nude Hampshire” challenge several hikers and I devised or for very specific milestones. Hiking with my sister, however, meant that bums came out whenever the sun was out, or the view was pretty, or even when mum came to visit (we’ve got a great three bums pic that mum didn’t want us to share). I guess hiking with a sister means that you don’t have to ask a stranger to write “100 miles” on your arse. 

Would I do it again? If you asked me at the northern terminus – probably not.  Now? Without a doubt. I loved that I got to share such an amazing experience with my sister.  If you’re considering going on a long distance hike with a sibling do it. But maybe take your own separate tents! 

Bean Dip got her trail name (on the AT) from being freezing cold and unsure how to deal with it; she ended up hiking in about 7 layers. Bean Dip’s sister Moonshine was so named because she doesn’t have the same problem with layering. To watch a PCT hike from these sisters’ perspective or to see their “bums”, check them out via YouTube.