Results 1 to 18 of 18
  1. #1
    imscotty's Avatar
    Join Date
    11-13-2011
    Location
    North Reading, MA
    Age
    60
    Posts
    1,236
    Images
    7

    Default Beards on the Trail

    For all you bearded 'tramps' I thought you would enjoy reading the following advice printed in the first edition of the Appalachian Trailway News. How times have changed!

    ​Source: ATN 1939 Vol. 1, No. 1


    Beards on the Trail

    The oft-mooted question, “To shave, or not to shave” is usually felt to be, after all, a matter of personal preference. Another aspect appears in a report received from Harold Pearn, President of the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club.

    On a recent trip over the Appalachian Trail from the James River to Rockfish Gap, he had opportunities to meet a number of the inhabitants of this region, about whom he says, “The people are some of the finest I have ever come in contact with. The membership of the A.T. stand well with them. That shows that the ones who have hiked the trail have left a good impression.” But he was told they like clean shaves instead of beards on hikers, as they “like to see a man’s face.”

    Beards appear to be associated with tramps, not with trampers, and to raise doubt and suspicion.

    Possibly, for the reputation of the hiking fraternity, a man on the Trail should shave even though he would prefer to take a vacation from that duty also.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-18-2016
    Location
    Sudley, VA
    Posts
    710
    Journal Entries
    1
    Images
    1

    Default

    If I have to shave my face, the gals have to shave their legs.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Hiking is the best teacher, it grades on a curve.
    AT miles: 255.5 / Total miles: 905.27

    Author of "Hiking Into Trail Days"



  3. #3
    Leonidas
    Join Date
    04-26-2016
    Location
    Birmingham, Alabama
    Posts
    880

    Default

    Shave ounces, not faces.
    AT: 471 mi

    Pinhoti Trail: 254 mi

    @leonidasonthetrail

  4. #4
    Clueless Weekender Another Kevin's Avatar
    Join Date
    04-10-2011
    Location
    Niskayuna, New York
    Age
    63
    Posts
    3,863
    Journal Entries
    10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by imscotty View Post
    For all you bearded 'tramps' I thought you would enjoy reading the following advice printed in the first edition of the Appalachian Trailway News. How times have changed!
    ​Source: ATN 1939 Vol. 1, No. 1


    Beards on the Trail

    The oft-mooted question, “To shave, or not to shave” is usually felt to be, after all, a matter of personal preference. Another aspect appears in a report received from Harold Pearn, President of the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club.

    On a recent trip over the Appalachian Trail from the James River to Rockfish Gap, he had opportunities to meet a number of the inhabitants of this region, about whom he says, “The people are some of the finest I have ever come in contact with. The membership of the A.T. stand well with them. That shows that the ones who have hiked the trail have left a good impression.” But he was told they like clean shaves instead of beards on hikers, as they “like to see a man’s face.”

    Beards appear to be associated with tramps, not with trampers, and to raise doubt and suspicion.

    Possibly, for the reputation of the hiking fraternity, a man on the Trail should shave even though he would prefer to take a vacation from that duty also.
    There's a broader cultural phenomenon at work here, too.

    From about the 1920's through the 1960's, we were living in a society with recent memory of total war - with universal conscription. Essentially, every respectable man older than high-school age was either in the military or ex-military (except for a handful of disabled, and they tended to volunteer for other uniformed services such as air raid wardens, fire fighting, ...). Thus, it was expected that any respectable man would have very short hair, a clean-shaven face, highly-shined shoes, and otherwise affect a military appearance. There was an air of suspicion of even the workers who were grimy from an honest day's toil.

    That largely changed with the cultural upheavals of the 1960s-1970s. Like all such cultural shifts, it began in the cities and only gradually worked its way out into the hinterland. I can recall in the 1980s getting challenged by country folk for an appearance that would have raised no eyebrows at all in the city. In the country at that time, a man's hair should not touch his ears or his collar, while the city men were looking downright shaggy.

    Certainly, I see today a general level of scruffiness that would not have been tolerated when I was a child. Even when I started to work, there were a lot of workplaces that had strict dress codes, and 'no facial hair," "no long hair for men," and "tie and jacket required" were usual. That trumped even safety: I can recall having to wear tie and jacket to dirty and dangerous job sites, and envying the line workers their Carhartt (etc.) work clothes. And (before OSHA was a universal presence), I had to wear shiny shoes in environments where steel-toed boots would surely be more appropriate.

    It's still important to present as clean an appearance as possible, though! Stinky hikers with matted hair and the last couple days' worth of leftovers in their beards don't make very good trail ambassadors. But at least we're to the point where a regular bucket bath and washing of socks can make us at least marginally respectable until we can get to a hostel, motel or campground to clean up further.

    I never had a beard until a couple of years ago - and I still don't like my beard, it's grey and patchy. But when I came back from a two-week trip in the Adirondacks with a hiker scruff, my wife pronounced that she liked it, and I know what side my bread is buttered on.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    04-21-2015
    Location
    San Antonio TX
    Posts
    491

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JC13 View Post
    Shave ounces, not faces.
    I dont care if you shave or not but when i read this i thought i bet a decent beard weight about an ounce.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-05-2016
    Location
    Western Maryland
    Posts
    137

    Default




    Hitch
    "May the four winds blow you safely home ..." ​Garcia, Kreutzmann, & Hunter

  7. #7
    imscotty's Avatar
    Join Date
    11-13-2011
    Location
    North Reading, MA
    Age
    60
    Posts
    1,236
    Images
    7

    Default

    Another Kevin,

    Thanks for your comments. I had not considered the military connection. An interesting perspective.

  8. #8
    Registered User runt13's Avatar
    Join Date
    12-28-2011
    Location
    Jackson, NJ
    Age
    51
    Posts
    182

    Default

    560.JPGMy Son and I.

  9. #9

    Default

    I'm 39.
    I regularly wear a beard of some sort pretty much all the time off trail...secondary to laziness in regards to shaving. It never really gets too long before I trim it all the way down with a #1 or shave it all of again.
    I am attempting an AT thru-hike next spring and plan on trying to get a shower at least twice a week. I am crazily going to try to remain relatively clean shaven and shave whenever I shower. Just to be different from the typical thru! I don't think it'll last long though!
    On my hike I am looking forwrd to seeing the younger men who are used to clean shaven and then do the AT and don't shave...those are going to be some pretty precious looking first time beardos!

  10. #10
    Registered User turtle fast's Avatar
    Join Date
    11-10-2007
    Location
    Caledonia, Wisconsin
    Age
    46
    Posts
    1,015

    Default

    So what is the ultralight hikers consensus on beards? It does have a weight and makes a hiker less aerodynamic and some say is more problematic for good hygiene.

  11. #11

  12. #12

    Default

    My job used to require me to be clean shaven. So this summer I let it grow out while doing a 3 month hike. Because that's what I do. When I came back I trimmed it up nice while keeping it as a full beard. The owner changed his mind when he saw it and now my job allows me a beard. ��. Good times.

  13. #13
    In the shadows AfterParty's Avatar
    Join Date
    05-11-2016
    Location
    Norton, Kansas
    Age
    39
    Posts
    490
    Journal Entries
    1
    Images
    12

    Default

    I keep mine trimmed and my hair mostly short. I plan to do the same on the AT
    Hiking the AT is “pointless.” What life is not “pointless”? Is it not pointless to work paycheck to paycheck just to conform?.....I want to make my life less ordinary. AWOL

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by turtle fast View Post
    So what is the ultralight hikers consensus on beards?
    It does have a weight,
    and makes a hiker less aerodynamic,
    and some say is more problematic for good hygiene.
    wrong about weight. a beard is such that it not only always lifts it's own weight/mass, but is known to also carry much of the weight of the wearer...
    wrong about aerodynamics. the wind and air respect the beard to such a degree that they will always move aside for the beard, thereby making it, and it's wearer, far more aerodynamic than a highly polished bullet...
    wrong about hygiene. a beard bathes small, defenseless forest critters in warmth and comfort, providing sanctuary and safety... and because beards actually repel dirt and stuff, they are also the best known pot and/or cup scrubbers. though caution should be observed as a beard is also known to be tougher than titanium...

    u.w.

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-12-2015
    Location
    Newark, DE
    Age
    59
    Posts
    450

    Default

    The question I have is do you do anything to care for your beard on the trail. Off-trail I work in a little oil everyday after showering. So far I have not bothered carrying oil on backpacking trips, but would you if you were doing a long hike?

  16. #16
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-22-2002
    Location
    Winston-Salem, NC
    Age
    57
    Posts
    7,888
    Images
    296

    Default

    I stopped shaving on Dec 6, 1988. I do keep it trim, though.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  17. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    05-06-2012
    Location
    where i am now, which might not be where i am tomorrow
    Posts
    270

    Default

    shaving a beard is as foolish as mowing a yard. it just comes back. and you gotta do it again and again and again with no change in result. which is the definition of insanity.

    just let it be. and it will be. and you will be free.

  18. #18
    Registered User
    Join Date
    05-02-2014
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    1,260

    Default

    I keep the VanDyke short on the trail, as well as the hair. Easier to spot ticks. Just sayin...

++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •