Backpacker6 min citite
Hike, Breathe, Repeat
I clawed up the steep mountainside near León, Spain, digging my fingernails into clay to steady my body, pitched forward under my pack. Step, claw. Step, claw. Step. Heavy clouds threatened to downpour. Wind whipped tendrils of hair across my face. M
Backpacker3 min citite
Falling Over a Cliff
Gavin wasn’t moving. Lightning flashed again, neon-bright and way too close. The air buzzed, and I could feel the hairs on my arms lifting in the static. Blood dripped from my scalp into my hands. “Gavin?” I asked. When my friend Gavin and I had star
Backpacker5 min cititeEarth Sciences
Finding Home
At mile three of the trail to Harding Icefield in Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park, I found myself scrambling up bare rock, the glacier nowhere in sight. The summer sun beat down on my shoulders, wavering into a heat-haze above the forest below. S
Backpacker2 min citite
Editor’s Note
Some of Backpacker’s best-selling issues and most-clicked stories have been about the scary stuff: how to survive when our worst backcountry fears—rockfall! grizzly attack! losing your way!—become reality. Armchair reads about daunting places like Am
Backpacker2 min citite
Backcountry Fly Fishing
A superb value, the Liquid uses the same tech as Lamson’s $700 reels. It has a lightweight conical drag design (nesting cones deliver more stopping power than flat discs), so it slows even the biggest trout. Those components are machined to exacting
Backpacker2 min citite
Finding Your Way
Pick a route bounded by “guardrails”—roads, rivers, trail systems, or mountain ridges—which make navigation easier and limit how lost you can get. Ensure you have plenty of camping options. Use “reverse-mapping” to improve situational awareness: At e
Backpacker1 min cititeRegional & Ethnic
Rice Noodle & Shiitake Soup
1 tsp. Chinese five-spice1 tsp. sugar2 cubes chicken, beef, or veggie bouillon4 oz. rice noodles1 Tbsp. soy sauce1 Tbsp. rice vinegar1 Tbsp. peanut butter1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms, chopped Sriracha and limes to taste AT HOME 1) Pack Chinese five
Backpacker1 min cititeLeadership
Backpacker Magazine
EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Shannon Davis Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan ROCKY MOUNTAIN FIELD EDITOR Casey Lyons EXECUTIVE EDITOR Adam Roy SENIOR DIGITAL EDITOR Eli Bernstein GEAR EDITOR Zoe Gates ASSISTANT SKILLS EDITOR Annette McGivney SOUTHWEST FIELD EDITOR Liz “
Backpacker1 min citite
The Good Fight
Southwest Montana might have a wild reputation, but that doesn’t always translate to legal designations. Much of the Gallatin and Madison Ranges–home to grizzly and black bears, moose, elk, and mountain lions–remain at risk and vulnerable to exploita
Backpacker2 min citite
Get Your Butt in Gear
From stantding, lift your right foot off the ground and jump off your left foot two to three feet to the right. As you land on your right foot with a slightly bent knee, cross your left leg behind your right (rest your toes on the ground or hover the
Backpacker2 min citite
Loosen Up
Don’t fight the slide. In scree, if you wait for one foot to settle before moving the second, you’ll never get anywhere. Instead, just keep moving. Think of it as a productive stumble. Pay attention. Move calmly and methodically, and make every step
Backpacker2 min citite
Now Blooming
Info bit.do/mtdiablo Trailhead 37.8493, -121.9322 Head up into the hills above San Francisco for a 2.8-mile out-and-back through madrone trees, which feature sprays of tiny white flowers that bloom every May. Beyond the blossoms, catch panoramic view
Backpacker2 min citite
Cliffed Out
IT WASN’T UNTIL WE REACHED the top of 13,442-foot Apache Peak that we realized we were out of options. My partner Liz and I had intended to finish the mile-long ridge scramble and descend via fourth-class terrain on the east side of the cirque. About
Backpacker1 min cititeEarth Sciences
The Long Way Down
Day three of four on our trek of the 46.5-mile Huemul Circuit in southwest Argentina, and for once there’s only scattered clouds in the Patagonian sky. Standing atop 3,269-foot Huemul Pass after 4 hours of climbing, I take a deep breath and steel mys
Backpacker1 min citite
Explore Off-Trail
HERO SKILL Stay Present Between 2015 and 2017, Mario Rigby completed a 7,456-mile trek through Africa along trailless coastline, desert, and lakes. Here’s what he learned. My first big hike started because I was frustrated by the noise, pollution, an
Backpacker3 min citite
Monumental Error
Three hundred million years ago, the Earth heaved and what we now know as the Blue Ridge Mountains started climbing toward the sky. Magma oozing up between tectonic plates cooled into an aberrant mound of granite nesting in the subtle roll of the int
Backpacker2 min citite
ECCO Exohike Retro Hiker
Jackie Bourgaize Reader and Active Pass member* HOME BASE Calgary, Alberta FAVORITE HIKE The Great Divide Trail, Waterton Lakes section FAVORITE TRAIL SNACK Scotch Iusually favor nimble hiking shoes, so I was initially apprehensive about the Exohike
Backpacker2 min citite
Emily Ford
My first solo backpacking trip was five years ago. I hiked about 30 miles, and I bet my pack weighed as much then as it did on this IAT hike. I brought the dumbest stuff, like jars of cooking oil. I had no idea what I was doing, but I had the bug. Th
Backpacker9 min citite
Packs For The Long Haul
OVERALL 4.8 $400; 5 lbs. 11 oz. (M); unisex S-XL For packrafters, overpackers, or anyone who’s just gotta have that second case of beer, the Terraframe offers a unique solution originally conceived for backcountry hunting: a 7-inchdeep shelf that acc
Backpacker2 min citite
In Full Bloom
Often mistaken for rhododendron, mountain laurel is one of the best-known wildflowers in the Smokies. Its abundance has inspired the names of many locations in the park, such as Laurel Falls, but it’s most famously seen at Spence Field. Mountain laur
Backpacker9 min citite
America’s Friendliest Summits
This one is almost too easy. While reaching the 1,550-foot tower sounds like a strenuous ascent, it’s just a mere .3 mile along the Ouachita National Recreation Trail. All too soon, the canopy of white oaks and hickories, interspersed with shortleaf
Backpacker2 min cititeEarth Sciences
Eye Of The Storm
It’s 4 a.m. in Vesper Basin, deep in Washington’s Cascades, and I’m building a dam out of twigs. The rain started two days ago; not with a roar but rather a slow drumming, wrapping the world in fog until even the near edge of the cirque vanished. Our
Backpacker5 min citite
Go Big
“How do you tell Long Trail hikers from Appalachian Trail hikers?” the man who went by the trail name Trash said, holding three fingers in the air. I looked up at his tall, trim physique. He smirked, highlighting crow’s feet wrinkles on his perfectly
Backpacker7 min citite
Shells
MOST BREATHABLE $250; 7.2 oz.; m’s S-XXL, w’s XS-XXL OUR TAKE Columbia’s OutDry Extreme fabric helped rewrite the playbook on waterproof/breathable technology when it debuted five years ago (we gave it an Editors’ Choice Award at the time): Unlike ev
Backpacker9 min citite
Packs
BEST ALL-AROUND $200; 2 lbs. 6oz. (m’s S/M); m’s S/M and L/XL, w’s XS/S and M/L OUR TAKE We would describe our relationship with the Talon Pro as “codependent.” Thanks to its bestin-test combo of cushion, breathability, and support, we found ourselve
Backpacker3 min citite
Editor’s Note
I’m always quick to point out to new hikers that you probably already own most of what you need to get into backpacking. Dayhiking, certainly. A walk in the woods is beautifully accommodating in that way. What you need more than any one bit of gear i
Backpacker3 min citite
A Perfect Little Hole in the Wall
Planning our Editors’ Choice trip is usually like ordering off-menu at a Michelin-starred restaurant. We target far-flung, life-list dreamscapes and work with the best local guides, land managers, and visitors’ bureaus to customize an itinerary that’
Backpacker2 min citite
Kitchen
A LIGHTEST STOVE $90; 3.7 oz. Usually, a stove at this weight is as bare bones as it gets. Not the Firestick. Its unique design results in a feature-rich product that is still the lightest stove in the test. Three fins fold into a small cylinder—slig
Backpacker2 min citite
Philippa Hill, PhD
In 2019, Hill received a doctorate in water repellency and perfluorochemicals (PFCs) for outdoor apparel. That makes her one of the very few doctors of DWR. Her research focused on the move away from PFCs, toxic chemicals that find their way into our
Backpacker3 min citite
Multi Tools
A LIGHTEST KNIFE $125; 1.2 oz. The Ultra XR is one of the slimmest and most compact knives we’ve ever used. SOG upgraded the original version with a higher-quality stainless steel that prolongs the 2.8-inch blade’s edge without sharpening and resists
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