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  1. #1
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    Default Beards is the question

    Beard or No Beard? I have a decently long beard, a little on the thin side rather than really full and thick. I start my NOBO thru hike mid March and because of ticks I am considering shaving my beard off and maintaining it shaved during my thru hike. What’s everyone’s opinions about beards and if I keep it any secrets on keeping ticks out? Currently I shave my head, I have for years. And plan to shave while in towns during my thru hike so shouldn’t be to difficult to keep shaved, but who knows I could get lazy with it. Lol


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  2. #2
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    You can hope you don't get your face in the bush and pick up ticks, but shaving might make it less likely. I shaved my head before my solo section hike, just so I could try to eliminate hiding places.

    I treated my clothes, tent, and pack with diluted Permethrin to also try to keep them away. I had a very small spray bottle of 100% DEET that I only got out once or twice in my May/June hike in Virginia. Seemed like only the very swampiest areas in wet weather made it necessary.

  3. #3
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    Entirely a personal decision.

    I like the idea and look of beards more than the reality, mostly because of food debris, snot (when outside in the cold w/runny nose), and the fact that around the corners of my mouth, the whiskers sort of grow at an angle to poke me uncomfortably. Oh, and my beard is patchy at best on my cheeks, so I can't grow a full beard - only a mustache, goatee, or sideburns*. My wife hates them, so it's just as well. But I do like the look, esp. since I'm follicularly-challenged on my scalp.

    * or "neckbeard" - wish my computer skills were up to that stereotype!

  4. #4
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    Start in the colder weather with the beard. See how it goes. Mow it off when it gets warmer. You're already planning on shaving anyway.

  5. #5

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    Just keep it trimmed. Carry a small pair of scissors, which are handy for other things too.

    I can't imagine the amount of money I've saved by not buying razors and shaving cream for the last 45 years or so
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Just keep it trimmed. Carry a small pair of scissors, which are handy for other things too.

    I can't imagine the amount of money I've saved by not buying razors and shaving cream for the last 45 years or so
    Not all of us want to look like we're playing Capt Ahab. You had a good length beard last time I saw you at Springer Mt shelter. Not ZZ Top be careful where you step length but still a lose that sandwich in your beard length.

  7. #7
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    Default Beards is the question

    if you have a beard of any real length you'll need to carry a plastic comb or hair pick to keep the tangles out. I imagine they'll work to root out any ticks as well.
    FWIW, I've never had a tick in my beard.
    You can walk in another person's shoes, but only with your feet

  8. #8
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    huh?.......

  9. #9

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    Ticks attach themselves to humans when humans walk through thick vegetation. Typically, this is tall grass. They then look for skin to attach themselves. Once this is accomplished, they happily feed. The likelihood of a tick attaching itself high enough to you that your beard is the first best warm skin available is highly unlikely.

    I never had a tick attach itself to me on my thru-hike because I regularly sprayed insect repellent on my legs. This should be sufficient for anyone.

  10. #10
    Leonidas
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    Beard, never had a tick issue on my face.
    AT: 471 mi

    Pinhoti Trail: 254 mi

    @leonidasonthetrail

  11. #11

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    Beard is the answer. Beard length is how you identify the alpha hiker. It advertises to townies and hitches that you're a thru. It becomes the envy of your coworkers when you return.

    Beard.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllDownhillFromHere View Post
    Beard is the answer. Beard length is how you identify the alpha hiker. It advertises to townies and hitches that you're a thru. It becomes the envy of your coworkers when you return.Beard.
    I thought it was determined by how worn are your shoes/trail runners aka Forrest...Forrest Gump.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by AllDownhillFromHere View Post
    Beard is the answer. Beard length is how you identify the alpha hiker. It advertises to townies and hitches that you're a thru. It becomes the envy of your coworkers when you return.

    Beard.
    At the Gooch shelter, a Sheriff's crew showed up, because someone's mom panicked about not hearing from her boy for four hours or so. The only descriptive information they had was "tall young guy with a big beard." We were all "yeah... that narrows it down to about a dozen guys."

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by AllDownhillFromHere View Post
    Beard is the answer. Beard length is how you identify the alpha hiker. It advertises to townies and hitches that you're a thru. It becomes the envy of your coworkers when you return.

    Beard.
    Alarming # of young people sporting hiker beards today, that arent hikers. Including pro athletes.

    I personally got tired of hair in my mouth, food and snot on that hair. Could keep tasting last meal by sucking that hair. Eating hamburger was disgusting. Hair in mouth, mustard and ketchup on beard. That was point i decided it had to go.

    I hate shaving, i normally run clippers over face once/week keeping short stubble mustache/goatee. On trail i will shave every few weeks. At about 3 the hair curling into neck gets irritating, and if wait longer its really hard to do with disposeable razor. Takes a few passes anyway , and it better be a sharp new one.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 12-31-2018 at 10:41.

  15. #15
    Registered User Turtle-2013's Avatar
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    Forty years of hiking with a beard (and cutting firewood, and trimming trees, and making hay, and etc in the woods & grasslands) ... and it never crossed my mind to worry about having a beard in relation to ticks. Enjoy your hike!

  16. #16
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    In three years of doing LASH's, I think I may have seen two male long distance hikers without a beard. I imagine few have the time or energy to mess with shaving. I certainly didn't.
    Trail Name - Slapshot
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    At the Gooch shelter, a Sheriff's crew showed up, because someone's mom panicked about not hearing from her boy for four hours or so. The only descriptive information they had was "tall young guy with a big beard." We were all "yeah... that narrows it down to about a dozen guys."
    NOBOs 15 miles from the start DO NOT fit that description. most still have a piece of tissue on they face from the last shave that mornin' in the motel

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    NOBOs 15 miles from the start DO NOT fit that description. most still have a piece of tissue on they face from the last shave that mornin' in the motel
    In 2016, there were a whole lot of tall guys who pre-gamed their "trail" beards.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    In 2016, there were a whole lot of tall guys who pre-gamed their "trail" beards.
    Next thing will be to starve yourself for 5 mo and come on trail pre-emaciated

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    In 2016, there were a whole lot of tall guys who pre-gamed their "trail" beards.
    As you should - you don't want to be growing it in while sweaty and gross. It's itchy enough under normal circumstances.

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