Hiking is one of the most popular activities in America today. In fact, more than 49 million people participated in this outdoor pastime for 2019 alone. The stats have probably gone up for 2020 since there wasn’t much else for people to do other than be outside during the pandemic months. So here’s the question — do you take your gun with you on your hike?
If you have a CCW permit and normally take your gun with you practically everywhere you go, then you’ll probably want to take it hiking as well. There are some benefits and drawbacks to carrying a gun while hiking. Let’s look at those reasons in case you are unsure of whether to carry your firearm when on a hike.
Benefit: Scare Away Animals
Depending on where you hike, there may be a variety of wildlife that could be threatening. Most of the animals you encounter on the trails will scurry away from you as they hear you approach. But there’s always the chance that they won’t. It could be a bear, mountain lion, snake, wild pig, or if you are hiking near the Everglades in Florida, a gator! You are going to be better protected when you have your gun on you.
Benefit: Defend Yourself Against Human Attacks
The sad fact is that you just never know when someone human is going to be a threat to you. Plus, if you are planning on hiking way out into the desolate wilderness, you are in a more vulnerable place alone on the trails. Someone could easily decide to make you a target. When you have a firearm on you to defend yourself against any attack, more than likely, that dangerous person will leave you alone.
The weight of the gun can be quite heavy, especially if you plan on going hiking all day long. Hours spent walking with your gun can throw off your balance if you aren’t in great shape. You could have some extra soreness and pain during the hike or after. The gun could also be digging into your side when you are carrying hiking gear, and that’s uncomfortable.
It’s better to have a subcompact or micro-compact to carry with you on a hike. Some of those guns weigh less than two pounds. For example, the Beretta Px4 Storm Subcompact is a powerful gun, but only weights 1.26 pounds unloaded.
Drawback: Illegal Places to Carry
Since 2010, it’s legal to carry a gun at National Parks in the United States. That doesn’t mean it will be legal everywhere you hike. You could be hiking and end up in an area or state that has some gun restrictions. It’s better to check the laws where you are hiking before you head out with your weapon.
Ultimately, it’s up to you on whether to carry your firearm while you are hiking. The good news is that in America with our Second Amendment rights, the choice is in your hands.