The weather is getting warmer, and that means more people are getting out to enjoy the great outdoors. And what goes better with exploring nature than some marijuana? There’s something about puffing a J while hiking through trails that just makes you feel more tuned and honed in to what’s around you. Plus, I always smoke before I exercise: it makes me feel loose and relaxed but focused, which really amplifies the whole hiking experience. But before you just jump into hike-smoking all willy-nilly, make sure you’re prepared and know how to be safe and considerate with your cannabis.
What to Pack
With any hiking or camping trip, lifted or not, it’s important to be prepared. Packing your essentials, – like water, snacks, and a first aid kid – is a good place to start.
Throw marijuana into the mix and you have to double prepare.
Cottonmouth is real, and this feeling can be exacerbated when you’re panting up a steep hill or especially difficult trail. I’d suggest packing some extra water to compensate for the additional dehydration cannabis can cause. If you’re hiking for longer than a day, you should hopefully have a water filtration system; you can get all the fresh water you need, especially in emergency.
Bring extra snacks and energy bars with you as well. You’re working hard and burning a lot of calories when you’re hiking, and with the munchies – if you’re anything like me – your stomach is grumbling about halfway through. From a safety standpoint, be conscious of your food supplies, even if you’re just day hiking. You never know what might happen and it’s a good idea to always have an extra bar or snack in your pack.
Everyone has their preference when it comes to smoking equipment, and this rings just as true for those smoking on the move. Personally, I like our trusty one-hitter when we hike; it’s light, easy to pack, and there isn’t any trash or butt to deal with when you’re done smoking. Not everyone likes this method though. Joints are always a great option, especially if you’re in a group. Joints allow you to quickly light up and puff away without having to stop and relight or repack.
Vaporizers and oil pens are also a good choice if you’re not looking to leave any waste or don’t want to use any fire. Fill them with your favorite flower or wax and you’re good to go. Just make sure you’re fully charged before leave, or you might find yourself cannabis-less for your hike.
You can also try edibles while hiking, but do not continue to eat your treats while you hike! If you’re not already familiar with eating or drinking cannabis-infused products, check out our guide to consuming edibles safely and responsibly.
Safety and Etiquette Tips
If you’re new to the idea of getting out and going on a hike, and you want to smoke while you do it, please follow this advice to make sure you enjoy your time out and you respect the natural environment you’re in.
Don’t get too high
It’s easy to fall into the habit of puffing tuff at home and getting super silly and/or passing out on the couch. You can imagine how these things wouldn’t be the best idea out on a hike.
You need to be mindful of your surroundings, especially while high. I know myself; I can get a little spacy when I get too high. Don’t overdo it. Smoking in nature can be an amazingly connecting experience, so don’t ruin it for yourself by getting too high and exhausted, or worse – finding yourself in a dangerous situation because you weren’t paying attention.
Be mindful of fire
I can’t stress this point enough. This is particularly true in dryer areas with lots of dead wood, pine needles, and scrubby bush. Be mindful to completely put out your roaches and hemp wicks, and make sure your butane lighters are secure. Don’t let Smokey the Bear down; you really can prevent forest fires if you stay alert.
Try getting yourself an Elementium Lighter: they are super eco-friendly, flameless, and don’t use any butane, which means there’s less chance of setting the woods on fire. They’re also waterproof and wind resistant, which can be very useful in the great outdoors – and for more than just lighting up your pipe.
Respect other hikers
Like cigarette smoke, not everyone enjoys the scent of marijuana smoke. Everyone you meet on the trail is simply out to enjoy nature in their own way. While marijuana might enhance the experience for you, it could be a hindrance to someone else, and their children.
If you got up early enough and the trail is quiet, have fun and puff tuff! If you know there are other people on the trail and you get the urge to smoke, pull off to the side or find a good break spot away from the trail to have your sesh. If you’re already in the middle of smoking while walking and you notice others on the trail, wait until they’ve passed before you continue toking, just to be respectful.
Leave nothing behind
I remember when camping in Girl Scouts, our den mother would always say “leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but memories.” This has always stuck with me.
This is the golden rule for anyone going out into nature, regardless of whether or not there’s cannabis involved.
It might seem like no big deal to toss your completely extinguished roach because “the paper is 100% biodegradable hemp” and it doesn’t matter. But, like many hikers, my biggest pet peeve is seeing gross cigarette butts on the trail – and the same goes for roaches. You should get into the habit of picking up all trash, no matter how small.
Know where you’re going
Don’t get high and get lost in the woods. Please. That would be so bad.
A lot of trails you’ll find are pretty distinct and well signposted, but people do get lost from time to time and you increase that risk by getting high while hiking. Being high while trying to navigate is already not a very easy task. Throw in dense woods or extreme climates and you’re in danger town. Study where you’re hiking and save pictures of maps and trail markers on your phone for reference so you don’t find yourself in a sticky situation.
Know the law
Policies and tolerances differ from place to place when it comes to marijuana smoking in nature. Of course public consumption is illegal, but you see hikers and campers cracking a beer at a mountain peak – so of course cannabis smokers would be expected to do the same. There are a few things you should know though.
Smoking on federal land – like national parks – can result in a citation for public consumption of marijuana. My source is from a personal story: some friends of mine decided it would be a good idea to light a joint at Lookout Mountain, which is pretty much a parking lot, and got caught. The off-duty cop actually told them to be more cautious if they are going to smoke at a national park, not only for their safety but also to avoid getting caught. Penalty fees vary from state to state, so be sure to research relevant laws before you head out. Honestly though, if you’re safe and discreet about your smoking and you’re actually on a trail really hiking, not at a highly-populated touristy place, you’ll be fine.
Smoking weed while hiking is possibly the best way to experience nature in my opinion. Greens are greener, the air is fresher… and you’re high! Hike-smoking allows me to connect with nature and really appreciate my surroundings, while letting me relax while I’m doing some pretty serious physical exertion. If you’d like to amp up your hiking experience with cannabis, keep these tips in mind to have a safe and heady hiking trip!