Backpacker3 min letti
Compass Points - Lakes
There’s something special about lake hikes—a peacefulness that settles into every hiker who embarks on one. When you wander every inch of a shore it leaves you with a feeling of belonging, of knowing the whole of a place. There’s nothing quite like w
Backpacker11 min letti
Hiking 101
Real talk: Sleeping in a tent isn’t the same as dozing in your bed. You’re more likely to wake up in the night than you are at home. Here are a few keys to quality rest. The ideal spot to camp means different things to different people, but any great
Backpacker2 min letti
Editor’s Note
Psst. It’s not “that” year anymore. It’s this one. That fact alone feels pretty good. The annual reset of hope and positivity is especially strong with this year’s flip of the calendar. Air-fives, anyone? That said, while the passing of time can heal
Backpacker17 min letti
A Hero’s Journey
When Rue McKenrick came out of the desert in West Texas in January 2020, he’d been without water or food all day. So the little convenience store he spied just north of Big Bend National Park at first seemed like a mirage, an answer to his prayers. H
Backpacker6 min letti
I stop to take a breather at the transition point between two worlds. Above, I can see the barren volcanic landscape of Hawaii’s highlands, a far cry from the tropical forest of ohia trees where I stand now. Just a couple miles across the broad valle
Backpacker9 min letti
National Parks
ROCKY MOUNTAIN Shenandoah National Park, Virginia Welcome to the insider’s club. As soon as you leave behind Skyline Drive and the Appalachian Trail, you’ll enter a corner of Shenandoah all your own. The handful of hikers who venture up 2,741-foot Ro
Backpacker2 min letti
Gallery - Blind Hikers
The climb up Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in South America at 22,841 feet, starts with an odd obstacle: small, round rocks that roll at the slightest touch. Crossing them is like roller skating on marbles. To do it without seeing what’s beneath yo
Backpacker2 min letti
Liz 'Snorkel' Thomas
Dayhike on a long trail. I started dayhiking in southern California, then one day happened upon the PCT. To see a sign that basically says hike this way and you’ll reach Canada in 2,000 miles was enlightening. That my feet had touched such a pathway
Backpacker4 min letti
There was a time when being considerate on the trail simply meant stepping aside to let uphill hikers pass, so as not to add to their struggle. But when hikers have fears about racism and personal safety, standing aside rather than making meaningful
Backpacker6 min letti
Log Book
A late September chill tinges the air as I gather my gear and start down to the water taxi rendezvous point. I’ve been coming to Ross Lake in North Cascades National Park every year since I was in the Navy, more than 13 years ago, and over that time
Backpacker1 min letti
Plus: Strengthen your feet, spot five snow-loving birds, and whip up a crunchy new take on a tuna sandwich. ■
Backpacker5 min lettiNature
Adventure U - Avalanche Awareness
Every slide is caused by a combination of three factors: terrain, snowpack, and weather. The avalanche triangle illustrates how these three factors come together. Avalanches occur when all three elements merge, but any one of them could hint that the
Backpacker1 min lettiPsychology
Adventure U - Avalanche Awareness
HERO SKILL “Adventuring in the backcountry and taking on risky activities with other people is very intimate and consequential. I would recommend entering avalanche terrain with people that you know well and can always count on for good communication
Backpacker2 min letti
Try doing this workout without shoes—your feet will work overtime without a cushioned sole for support. If you’ve never exercised barefoot before, try going shoeless for just the warmup at first, then gradually work your way up to completing the whol
Backpacker2 min lettiNature
Know Nature
This classic holiday-card bird is hard to miss against a snowy backdrop. If you don’t see its vibrant red feathers first, you’ll hear its string of two-part whistles. In the past, the cardinal was more common in warmer climates but has since adapted
Backpacker1 min lettiCookbooks, Food, & Wine
Trail Chef
For more camp food inspiration, visit 2 pouches tuna½ cup mayo (or 8 single-serve packets)2 Tbsp chopped pepperonciniSalt to tastePepper to taste4 flour tortillas1 cup shredded cheddar cheese1 Tbsp olive oil AT HOME 1) Pack all
Backpacker1 min letti
Backpacker Magazine
EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Shannon Davis Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast. Editorial EXECUTIVE EDITOR Casey Lyons When climbing, hum a tune that matches your cadence. SENIOR DIGITAL EDITOR Adam Roy GEAR EDITOR Eli Bernstein Always bring more snacks and a warme
Backpacker3 min letti
Out Alive
Mat and I hustled up to the Railroad Grade Moraine on Washington’s Mt. Baker. The forecast called for clear skies, and we’d left the trailhead at 6 p.m. gunning for a sunrise summit at 10,781 feet. Four hours later, as we traveled across the Easton G
Backpacker1 min letti
Your Take On…
( ♥“I’ve switched to wool. It’s better than it used to be and doesn’t shed microplastics.” –Miriam Stevens ♥“The basic message here is to take care of the environment, which as hikers I agree we need to do.” –Craig Sharp ✖
Backpacker2 min lettiDesign
Reader Review
I’ve been living in leggings long before they became part of the Covid dress code, and now I have a new goto pair: These tights can do it all. I’ve worn them nearly nonstop since October, and whether I was trail running in New Mexico’s Sandia foothil
Backpacker2 min letti
Last Stand
The 19-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on the northeast edge of Alaska has been a site of conflict for decades. Beneath the wilderness—home to caribou and polar bears, and essential hunting grounds to the Gwich’in and Iñupiat people—lies
Backpacker2 min letti
The Kit
Navigating the back-country means adapting to complex terrain and variable snow. That goes for your skis, too, and the Navis Freebird is a versatility champ. It’s light enough for long tours but stable enough (thanks to a paulownia and poplar core) t
Backpacker1 min lettiNature
Miracle Mile
The icy crunch of my snowshoes ripples into the silence and then falls away. Another step, and my breath fogs before me in miniature echo of the gray clouds obscuring the valley below. Here on Artist Point, though, all is crystalline sunlight. Beyond
Backpacker8 min letti
Head to Head - Bags
OVERALL/4.6 BEST ALL-AROUND $320; 1 lb. 15 oz.; 17°F; regular, long On the hunt for a bag that’s toasty, light, and relatively affordable? Look no further: The Nitro 800 is a true triple-threat. While camping in Washington’s Olympic National Forest,
Backpacker2 min letti
Warming Up To Winter
Backpacking is so many things. It’s a leisure pursuit, a way to connect with nature, an athletic feat, a means of forging bonds with your friends and family, a problem-solving game, an escape, a subculture… Realistically, it’s something unique to eve
Backpacker2 min letti
Sleeping In A Winter Wonderland
Adapt your kit to where you’re camping. For wetter climates (like the Pacific Northwest) you’ll want Gore-Tex layers, waterproof gloves, and a heavy-duty synthetic or hydrophobic down sleeping bag to help manage moisture. For drier climates (like the
Backpacker4 min letti
WE RECEIVED TONS of reader feedback for “Meeting the Moment” (, our Fall 2020 Editor’s Note. In it, Editorial Director Shannon Davis addressed our push to do more for social and climate justice in the outdoors, in our cont
Backpacker1 min letti
Create A Cozy Camp
Backpacker1 min letti
National Summit Day Winner
On August 1, BACKPACKER nation turned out to hike high and raise money for Big City Mountaineers, a program that provides adult-mentored wilderness experiences to youth from disinvested communities. Reader A.J. Matthews went up in Washington and came
Backpacker1 min letti
Turn Up The Heat
Cold fingers and toes cause quick misery in the backcountry. The key to feeling as warm as possible is keeping your digits toasty. Take care of your hands and feet and you’ll have a much more pleasant winter camping experience. The numbness you feel
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