Hiking with speakers

Do you hike with a Bluetooth speaker?? Why/Why Not??

While I like music as much as the next guy, I certainly get rather annoyed when I cross paths on the trail with people carrying music with them. Now I’m not much for letting a 90sec encounter ruin my day, but it always sparks the same discussion with my hiking partner about peoples’ need to always feel “connected” and/or the inability to enjoy the moment they are in.

When I see this at the ski hill I am generally less irritated, but I view my time there as less of an escape to the outdoors than when I am hiking/backpacking or rock climbing.

And if your musical need outweighs your ability to be in your own head for a while, why not use headphones?? Is this a generational thing?? A lack of outdoor etiquette?? Or a showboating kind of thing?

Discuss, vent, gripe, support as you see fit.

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Agreed. My husband is a musician so he brings his guitar for campsite time. Rather than people complaining, it draws others over and we have had great times talking and playing with other musicians. But I see a difference with actually making the music, or just listening to a playlist. I heard someone playing the bagpipes and it was awesome…but I have to admit, canned music bothers me. I think people need to shut it all off and be comfortable disconnected, including playing their instrument (but one can’t play for hours either like a playlist can), get in their heads and out again, talk to people and relearn being in the moment with whomever is present. It’s becoming a lost art.

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I recently purchased a bluetooth speaker that I use for solitary runs. I love it but that said, I would never consider using it in either an organized race or when hiking, either alone or with someone. Last summer, we were camping and the couple in the site next to us (not even that close) played loud music (they were enjoying libations) - fortunately, we liked their choice of music but not the volume they played it at!

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Completely agree! I feel the same way about the beach. Enjoy the moment and the sounds of nature…or use earbuds.

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Being the typical old curmudgeon, not only do I not see the necessity…it becomes both a potential safety issue for the user/other trail users…it tends to become a source of divisiveness. Trail etiquette dictates announcing “passing” or “on your left” or “track” when overtaking a slower walker/hiker/biker/XCskier…can’t remotely fathom the number of times I exercise this courtesy to earbud/headphone users only to either startle (sometimes dangerously so, given the location) the deafened, preoccupied users. Then in that startled response move in the wrong direction or become belligerently and negatively berating me the passer. One can’t suggest using common sense any more, as it appears that has become nonexistent.

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I’ve passed plenty of thru hikers listening to podcasts or music. I generally don’t listen to music when I’m hiking or trail running, but there are times I really need the boost to my morale. (I’m always able to hear my surroundings. If you startled me while passing or approaching me, it was because I was lost in thought, not because of my music.)

A few years ago, I did a seven-day hike on which it rained every day. The only time my feet were dry was in the morning before I put them in my cold, wet shoes (and sometimes into cold, wet socks). A long climb on a drizzly day when you haven’t seen the sun - or much scenery - in a while? heck yeah I’m going to take advantage of technology to help pass the miles.

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I’ve never thought of bringing a bluetooth speaker on the trip but I could see the appeal. @Jeff_K1 you mentioned that people use music because they “need to always feel “connected” and/or the inability to enjoy the moment they are in.” but I would argue that music can put you deeper into the present moment. When I see a beautiful scene while hiking music automatically starts playing in my head. Granted I do compose music, so maybe this is specific to me, but I think music doesn’t necessarily take you out of the moment. Music can also enhance and deepen the experience. But to answer your question I don’t usually hike with a bluetooth speaker because A. I have not thought of it and B. I’m usually talking with my group.

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I am a crab apple when it comes to these things, I don’t think I would mind it in the event that they were moving through and didn’t have the volume very high. I would prefer that type of musical encounter over someone playing music at their site.

I think that playing an instrument is fine, but I would probably get annoyed if it was a prolonged session. There was a harpist a few sites down from us a few years ago that I enjoyed, but I think they only played for about 20 minutes at a time.

Sounds like you and others enjoy the serene silence of nature. I can see that, there is something calming about the sounds of the wild. It would be cool if there was a way to stop sound from leaving people’s campsites so that you wouldn’t be able to hear noise bleeding in from other campers. I usually do dispersed camping and there is no one around. Even though I love camping I’m not a fan of camp grounds, I love super remote secluded spots. Maybe that’s why I haven’t thought about noise from others that much.

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Passed a couple of groups blasting music while hiking in Joshua Tree last weekend. It’s was really annoying. Had one group in the campground crank up the tunes but the ranger shut them down pretty quickly. We camp to enjoy nature and a big part of that is the sounds, and silence, of the environment.

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I used KING RVM1000 RV Outdoor Speaker. I installed this system on my Travel Trailer which didn’t have any exterior speakers before. We always had to drag out a speaker when camping and hook it up and worry about batteries or charging it or bringing it in or if it rained or etc… Problem Solved and it looks great and sounds even better!

I listen to both music and podcasts while in the great outdoors. Music is background while podcasts are foreground. My favorite music won’t distract me from my surroundings, though if a dope song comes on it might add to the experience. Podcasts are purposeful distractions from the current situation, something I need to focus on to enjoy, rather than say the 3 miles I just added to my hike because I took a wrong turn. *sigh *

I don’t hike with a blue-tooth speaker, but I have one for camping. I play music low enough that it doesn’t travel outside my campsite. When I turn it on, I walk away from my campsite to check. Usually 15ft away the ambient sounds of nature drown it out. Or the placement of my tent and car block the sound toward the other campsites. I don’t listen to music the entire time I am camping, just during the most boring part of the day. Naptime?!

I have over-the-ear headphones that I will use while hiking. I have very sensitive hearing so I never listen very loud. I can still hear the closer sounds of birds, brush, water, and whatnot, other hikers included, but miss out on distant sounds like wind in the trees. I will take them off if I see something I think I might want to hear, like a scenic mountain overlook or scary large animal. Sometimes I wear my headphones without playing anything, because I don’t like bugs buzzing near my ears.

I wouldn’t hike playing music on a speaker because I know that would bother me in the reverse situation. Yet I know some people can’t wear earbuds (hey it’s me!) and after a while over-the-ear headphones get sweaty and gross, so the option for a blue-tooth speaker you can clip on your person is pretty good. Unfortunately some people don’t have great hearing, or even good hearing, so what seems like too-loud music to me might be just audible to them. They might not think they are being loud or intrusive at all, and I am too non-confrontational to tell them.