7 telling signs that prove you may be a dirtbag

We all have those days or weekends when we feel grungy. Some people, however, live that way all the time.

These are dirtbags — the outdoor people who spend every winter renting snow gear to visitors and every summer pushing rubber on the water for rafting customers.

They are the fringe members of society. Wonder if you’re a dirtbag? Here are some very telling signs that just may prove that you most certainly are.

You have just the one dreadlock

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Hippies pride themselves on their twisted, beaded braids, but dirtbags keep their hair manageable with the exception of the one dreadlock that somehow reappears after every long adventure out in the woods or on the road.

The dread is usually made from the back bottom strands tucked underneath all the other tangled, but un-dreaded, hair. Are you guilty of finding that single dread, even just once? You may be a dirtbag.

Your drinks are homemade

homemade beer

The dirtbag’s “distilled water.” Photo: Charli Kerns

Leave the ultra-hoppy IPAs to the hipsters. Dirtbag paddlers take pride in perfecting the clearest, smoothest (or at least the strongest) moonshine on the black market.

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Apple pie is also a great holiday flavor, and cherry is good year-round. If not, beer by the case works just fine. Do you bring any of these homemade drinks to parties? You might be a dirtbag.

You’re no stranger to the mullet

mullet

This guy — who is all business in the front, but all party in the back — may be a dirtbag. Photo: Sasha Fenix/Shutterstock

Raft guides have been rocking the mullet since way before Tyler Bradt’s studly photo made its debut in CANOE & KAYAK.

Business in the front allows for good eyesight, and the party in the back keeps one’s neck from getting too burned. Have you ever had a mullet? Even just once, as a gag? If so, you just might be a dirtbag.

You get pure joy from taking slams

broken nose

Paddler Huck a Buck smiles after Tallulah Gorge got done with him. His elation at the brutal injury demonstrates that he may be a dirtbag. Photo: Courtesy of Nathan Madlock

Nailing a move or running some gnarly line perfectly are great reasons to be happy — fulfilled, even.

What makes a dirtbag stand out is how happy he or she remains even after screwing up a line and paying for it with bruises, cuts, a black eye or even a broken nose. (In whitewater paddling circles, it’s called “beatering.”)

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At any point, have you ever come up laughing after a bike wreck or a swim over a rapid? If yes, all signs are pointing at dirtbag.

You spend 150-plus days on the “job”

whitewater rafting

If your “job” allows you to live the dirtbag life, well … Photo: Courtesy of James Becker/Shutterstock

Whether it’s paddling down Tennessee’s Ocoee River or skiing Mount Snow in Vermont, dirtbags have such an intense love of their chosen outdoor pursuit that they’ve devoted their careers, homes and the majority of their lives and free time to doing what they love.

How many days a year have you spent pursuing your outdoor passion? If the number is above 150, you might be a dirtbag.

You’ve got some dirtbag memories

camping

These guys look too clean to be dirtbags, but they could also be reformed dirtbags who have recently reentered society. Photo: Syda Productions/Shutterstock

There are some people who are either on the cusp of becoming a dirtbag or were once a dirtbag and then retired to normal society life.

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They can recount either bygone days of dirtbag life or confess to a few moments here and there. They usually bring some nicer beer to a shindig — maybe a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale — but every once in a while they will throw down hardcore with the true-blue dirtbags.

Did you do any of the above even once? You may have been a dirtbag.