• Ultralight Jerk

Five Questions With Hikers: Cam 'Swami' Honan

1. The editors at Backpacker Magazine claimed that they have never met “anyone who’s logged more miles.” than you, and you’ve hiked all over the world in 60+ countries from wilderness treks to cultural pilgrimage paths. Yet, everyone keeps on asking about what gear you used to walk a handful of trails you did nearly a decade ago. What’s with that shit?

It’s the familiarity principle gone wild. I’ve tried my best to resist, but I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle. Every morning I wake up at 6am to the sounds of “I Got You Babe”, but instead of Sonny and Cher belting it out, it’s Strayed and Bryson backed by an ever-swelling group of gear vloggers and double and triple-triple crowners.

2. Legions of cold soakers use Talenti Gelato jars because you mentioned it as a passing reference as to how to go cheap. How does it feel that many backpackers use a Talenti Gelato jar just because you made a joke about it? And has Talenti sent any money your way?

Orson Welles and his “War of the Worlds” broadcast come to mind. Nothing but crickets from Talenti, but on a semi-related note, MSR are considering me as the face of their newly redesigned stainless steel pot cookset.

3. How can you be called an influential backpacker without a YouTube channel? Fadeouts, a soundtrack for your advice, and a catchphrase would only enhance your reach. Discuss.

I have a long neglected YouTube channel - it receives roughly as many views as a compass and paper maps on the CDT. In regard to “influential backpackers”, I’m of the Hellerian viewpoint that those that hike for recognition shouldn’t be influential, and those that couldn’t give a toss about it most probably should.

4. Your Wanderlust book-series, at present, are three books that detail some of your long walks when you used lighter gear. Yet each book weighs nearly two kilos each (Four pounds for ‘Muricans). How can you, in good conscience, write books that heavy?

You lost me at “good conscience.”

5. Any truth to the rumors that You, Skurka, John Z, Anish, and Dixie of Homemade Wanderlust plan on doing a long-distance hiker themed comic book ala Marvel’s “The Avengers”? We also heard Ray Jardine would be playing the role of a Nic Fury-esque figure. Could you tell us more about this upcoming project?

I can’t give away too much due to a confidentiality agreement, but I can tell you that all of the hikers in question will all be wielding magical weapons (à la Thor and his hammer). For example, Skurka will brandish a small, but highly potent bidet bottle and Anish an extra long selfie stick, which is actually a double-bladed lightsaber similar to the one used by Darth Maul in “The Phantom Menace” (which incidentally is her favourite movie). Dixie is new to the team, and apparently she’ll be armed with a bunch of those bargain priced neck knife thingys that she sells on her website. According to the lady herself, “they are excellent for warding off pesky Yankees on the Appalachian Trail, as well as lost, but nonetheless persistent Jehovah’s Witnesses on the Camino de Santiago.” As for John, his involvement is still up in the air due to his insistence on exclusively wearing 2” shorts with nothing underneath. The producers feel that the probability of one of his Jatz Crackers popping out during a take just isn’t worth risking the film’s PG-13 rating. Finally, Jardine was cut from the project when the studio wouldn’t acquiesce to his demands to call the movie: “The Age of Ray - Beyond Blood Cleaners.”