Was 2016 YOUR Year? Take the “Backcountry Experience” Quiz!

Was 2016 YOUR Year? Take the “Backcountry Experience” Quiz!

Was 2016 YOUR Year? Take the “Backcountry Experience” Quiz!


This past year has been pretty interesting, to say the least. We lost a few good celebrities, elected a new president, Fidel Castro has died, and Native Americans are still fighting for their land.

Whatever your involvement or focus has been on the top headlines this year, at the end of the day, we have to look at ourselves more than anything else. As we roll into December, it’s time to start saying goodbye to 2016, and hello to the next year. Most important, it’s time to look back and reflect on our experiences outdoors the last twelve months.

Have you reached your outdoor goals of 2016? Ask yourself these questions, write down your answers, and see what you’ve done (or haven’t done) this year! It’s time for the “Backcountry Experience” quiz!

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1) Where Have You Gone?

When you look back on this past year, write down all the places you have gone. Did you visit any new national parks? Car-camp at a different campsite? Hike any new trails? What about visiting a new hiking spot abroad?

0 to 1 new places: 1 point

2-9 new places: 2 points

10 or more new places: 3 points

2) What New Outdoor Skills Have You Learned?

Have you learned anything new this year? Like, how to ski for the first time, how to rock-climb, or even how to pitch a tent? Learning new outdoor skills helps you improve on your ability to handle the backcountry overall, each and every time you head outside.

0 to 1 new outdoor skills: 1 point

2-4 new outdoor skills: 2 points

5 or more new outdoor skills: 3 points

3) Have You Seen Any Wildlife?

If you like animals, then you know very well that one of the coolest parts of being outdoors is seeing wildlife. Whether you caught it from a distance or you were so close that you had to hide from it, it all counts!

0 to 1 animals: 1 point

2-4 animals 2 points

5 or more animals: 3 points

4) How Many Mountains Have You Climbed Up?

Not all trails are flat. Some are really, really steep. Hiking mountains is not for everyone, but it’s certainly a challenge. And, once you make it to the top, it’s totally worth it. How many peaks have you reached in 2016?

0 to 1 mountains: 1 point

2-4 mountains: 2 points

5 or more mountains: 3 points

5) Have You Hiked Any Long-Distance Trails?

People have busy lives, and it’s not easy to make time to do a long-distance trail. Some long-distance trails can really take weeks to do. But, even if you managed to do a section or two of a famous one, you deserve some credit.

No long-distance trails: 0 points

1-2 long-distance trails: 2 points

3 or more long-distance trails: 4 points

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6) How Many Backpacking Trips Have You Taken?

If you managed to do a few long-distance trails this year, that’s awesome. But, what about backpacking trips or thru-hikes? Have you spent some serious time out in the backcountry this year? If you did, you’re going to rack up some serious points!

No backpacking trips: 0 points

1-2 backpacking trips: 4 points

3 or more backpacking trips: 7 points

7) Have You Read or Watched Any Outdoor-Themed Books or Films?

Those who really love the outdoors take it everywhere with them. Even when you couldn’t get out on the trail in 2016, did you try your best to still embrace being outside? Let’s see how many outdoor-themed books you’ve read or movies you’ve watched this past year.

0-1 books or movies: 1 point

2-5 books or movies: 2 points

6 or more books or movies: 3 points

8) Have You Purchased Any New Outdoor Gear?

Have you used the same old gear this year as you did the past five? Then we sure hope it’s sturdy! While buying new gear doesn’t necessarily mean you go outdoors more than others, it certainly shows what you enjoy spending your money on! It also counts if you bought gear as a gift for someone else!

No new gear: 1 point

1-5 new gear items: 2 points

6 or more gear items: 3 points

9) Have You Cooked Any New Outdoor Recipes?

Cooking is a serious skill, especially if you spend a lot of time out on the trail. But, cooking the same boring ramen or quesadillas all the time? Not so much. Let’s see if you learned any new outdoor recipes in 2016.

0-1 new recipes: 1 point

2-4 new recipes: 2 points

5 or more new recipes: 3 points

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10) Did You Make Any New Outdoor-Enthusiast Friends?

Even if you may be a pro at solo-hiking, everyone needs good friends in their lives that they can relate to. How many outdoor-enthusiast people, like yourself, have you made into friends this year?

No new outdoor-enthusiast friends: 0 points

1-2 new outdoor-enthusiast friends: 2 points

3 or more outdoor-enthusiast friends: 4 points

So, how was your year?

7-16 points: The “Once in a While” Year

You got outdoors this year, and that’s great. Even a little bit is better than nothing, that’s for sure. But, whatever it is that’s getting in the way of you reaching your outdoor goals, take another look at your life and see if you can make more time for backpacking in the future. Maybe next year you can make time to get out more!

17-25 points: The “Occasional” Year

You love getting outdoors, and you really took it upon yourself in 2016 to get outside whenever you could. Maybe you hiked a few new trails, or you got to see a bison up close and personal. Whatever the past year did for you, congratulations! You got outside often enough to land you here.

26-32 points: The “Always” Year

The backcountry is your home. You may not have a normal job, or you may even live in a camper van. Maybe you do have a normal job, but you’ve found ways to get outside despite the hours. Either way, you basically live outside. And, when you’re not outside, everything you do in your life revolves around being able to get outside. Keep that going next year. You’re a trooper!

hanalarock I'm Hana- a freelance travel writer and teacher who currently lives in South Korea. I'm originally from New York, but have spent the last two years traveling and living abroad. My first time hiking in the US was when I traveled around the country as a teenager. Though, my first adult backpacking trip was a year ago, when I hiked from Thailand down to Singapore for a month. I'm looking forward to many more adventures in the future. Visit my site for more information.