What Kind Of Dirtbag Are You?

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Have you noticed how a faraway glance at a landscape never reveals the actual biodiversity within that ecosystem? The same goes for the incredibly diverse group of humans that populate the species Homo dirtbaggus. From afar, we might look all the same…kind of smelly, sleeping in vehicles, cooking over camp stoves and spending every waking minute climbing, skiing, mountain biking or fishing. But a closer look reveals a very complicated, symbiotic community. Where do you fit in?

If you answer yes to three or more of any of the questions in each of the following categories, you have found your subspecies.

#1
Do you live in a van, but still manage to make raw kale chips to carry on hiking trips?
Do people always seem to find their way to your tent when it’s happy hour—even before you’ve pulled out your organic gin and started muddling your fresh strawberries with your homemade balsamic vinegar?
Does your camp kitchen take up more space than your climbing gear?
Do you schedule mountain bike rides or crag days around farmers’ markets?
Have you ever had a packing crisis because you couldn’t figure out what to leave out so you had room for your Aeropress?
You are the Foodie Dirtbag.

#2
Do you have a brand-new car but a rocket box covered in a decade’s worth of stickers?
Have you ever had to bail on a wine tasting with your boss to spend happy hour at the crag?
Do you wear a suit or dress to the office, but make sure to carry a backpack instead of a briefcase? Or wear a puffy instead of a dress coat, just to make sure people don’t mistake you for a non-outdoorsy type?
Have you ever adjusted your work wardrobe to cover up bruises or scrapes from your weekend in the mountains?
You are the Undercover Corporate Dirtbag.

#3
Are all your child-carrying items (backpacks, strollers, etc.) built to withstand the equivalent of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route?
Was your kid riding off jumps before she or he even had a bike with pedals?
Have you ever considered homeschooling just so you can take extended climbing or backpacking trips?
Could you give seminars on time management, using as an example your expert afternoon naptime run/climb/ride efficiency?
You are the Crusher Mommathlete/Dadthlete Dirtbag.

#4
Have you ever had to reconsider your helmet size to accommodate dreadlocks?
Do you smell like Nag Champa or Palo Santo even when you’ve been off backpacking for a week?
Does that quartz crystal around your neck align your chakras so you can send harder?
Have you ever scheduled a trip around a Phish or Panic show?
Do you have one or more botanical-inspired tattoos?
Are you just as comfortable practicing yoga on a slackline as you are strolling down the street?
You are the Hippie Dirtbag.

#5
Have you never owned a smartphone?
Are peanut butter-salami burritos part of your road trip menu?
Have you ever slept more than one night in a row in a cave, ditch or hollow to avoid paying for a campsite?
Can you make a full meal out of convenience store condiments?
Has anyone ever offered to let you shower at their house while standing six or more feet from you?
Is the original color of your puffy jacket unidentifiable underneath the grime and duct tape patches?
You are the Dirtbag’s Dirtbag.

#6
Have you been a dirtbag for six or more decades?
Have you never had a permanent residence?
Have you put up thousands of first ascents all over the world?
Do you have no plans of signing a lease, getting a “real job,” or generally selling out ever?
You are Fred Beckey.

2 Responses to What Kind Of Dirtbag Are You?

  1. Ummm…none of the above?? Dirtbag in inspiration, experience, and philosophy, but choosing to engage in a professional career working to protect all of these places where we all love to dirtbag? Hence, taking less vacations than everyone else, but engaging in the issues and places that we love every.single.day?? Trying to inspire the first five classes of dirtbag (Fred Beckey gets a pass) to take 10 minutes out of their week to write a letter, take a photo and tag your favorite conservation group in it, mentor a kid to get outside and play, or thank a park ranger for protecting our wild places?

    Advocate For-The-Hell-Of-It Dirtbag?

  2. Jay Long says:

    Amusing, funny read; I get it. I’m actually striving towards a “dirtbag’s dirtbag.” That dirtbag is slightly “heroistic.” ( Making up words here–heroistic seems a keeper, though.)

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