Backpacker2 min read
2. ’Round the Mountain
The Timberline Trail is the most storied multiday backpacking trip in Oregon. It circles the 11,000-foot cone of Mt. Hood, dipping between alpine meadows, moss-shrouded waterfalls, and steep, rocky outcrops with panoramic views across the state and i
Backpacker1 min read
Tie the Knot
Best for: making a loop, hanging a hammock, or lowering a pack 1. Begin by crossing the working end (the free end) over the standing part (the long, fixed end) to create a loop. 2. If anchoring to an object, bring the working end around that object b
Backpacker3 min readScience
4. Crown Of The Continent
THE INSIDER When Jake Bramante decided his life needed a reboot in 2009, he quit his job, sold his house, and headed for Glacier National Park. He became the first person to hike all 734 miles of Glacier’s trails in one year, then compiled his storie
Backpacker4 min read
Chased By A Flash Flood
WITHOUT WARNING, a violent blast of water and debris erupted over the falls toward me, transforming the dreamy swimming hole into a churning monster. The river, which had been emerald minutes ago, was suddenly a dark and muddy torrent. I called out t
Backpacker2 min read
7. Towers of Power
BITTERROOT NATIONAL FOREST, MT Be grateful for this hike’s short approach—it just means more time to savor the view from the restored fire lookout’s catwalk, where you can spy three different ranges. Hop on the gentle McCart-Johnson Peak Trail, climb
Backpacker6 min read
Mountain Movers
ALL WEIGHTS ARE PROVIDED BY THE MANUFACTURER FOR SIZE MEN’S 9 UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED. TEST CRITERIA Three-season, semi-automatic crampon-compatible mountaineering boots under 3 pounds Great flexibility means no-problem approaches. COMFORT ► 4.9 The R
Backpacker2 min read
8. Sweat Equity: Maintaining Trails
Now, I recall this woman’s words while on a trip with my Forest Service trail crew. We’re 5 miles deep in Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness, a district that has a checklist of brush tunnels and downed trees to contend with every year. Loppers and
Backpacker2 min read
Float Your Boat
Inflatable boats have long been a solution for storage-challenged paddlers, but they don’t perform quite as well as hardshell craft. The AE1007-E narrows the gap with two key design features: a stiffer-than-normal floor and aluminum ribs, which help
Backpacker3 min read
13. Whispers On The Wind
THE WIND PLAYS Afton State Park like an instrument. The music begins at the start of this 11.1-mile loop, when the summer breeze rustles through the leaves of oak, aspen, and hickory above the trail. When I step into the prairie, the whispers follow
Backpacker3 min read
Boil Battle
There’s no quicker way to dinner than with the Power Trail. It boiled water for a group of four in a flash, and its best-in-test simmer control delivered perfectly sautéed veggies at 9,000 feet in Colorado’s Sawatch Range. The stove’s 6-inch-wide arm
Backpacker2 min read
11. A Camp for Kings
THE HIKE IN was great—like, massive-gorges, snowcapped-peaks, knock-your-socks-off great. But it’s nothing—nothing—compared to the Hamilton Lakes basin. We crest the final set of switchbacks, and suddenly we stand before a blue jewel of a lake surrou
Backpacker2 min read
Three Rolls to Safety
BUT WE’RE SO CLOSE. That’s what I thought as the frigid water knocked me off balance, and I—along with my 60-pound pack—fell fully into the McKinley River. Behind me, my two hiking partners struggled to stay on their feet as well. My next thought—aft
Backpacker2 min read
16. River Run
1) Pick up the Elwha River Trail/Pacific Northwest Trail and take it 16.1 miles south through a forest of Douglas firs as it dances above its aquamarine namesake the whole way to the Hayes River Guard Station. 2) Next day, dayhike 6.5 miles south on
Backpacker2 min read
Field Notes
Most quilts, no surprise, have a reputation for leaking heat out the sides. But not this feather-weight number. Western Mountaineering has been making high-end down bags for 32 years, and its first foray into quilts follows the brand’s DNA: premium 8
Backpacker2 min read
14. Life's a Beach
I DON’T HAVE TO go far to lose the tourists on Fire Island. That’s really saying something—it took me only a couple of hours to get here from New York City. Hoisting an overnight pack, I squeeze past the day trippers and storefront shoppers and journ
Backpacker18 min read
Best Summer Ever
WAKE UP FAST. SOAK IN FIFTH WATER HOT SPRINGS. Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, UT THESE STEAMY TUBS stacked under a trio of waterfalls don’t just feel heavenly: Minerals burbling up from the deep turn the pools bright shades of cobalt, periwinkl
Backpacker2 min read
18. Signs Of The Times
IT’S A REAL choose-your-own-adventure in this Colorado section of the Continental Divide Trail. Here, like much of the long trail, dozens of threaded footpaths snake through the tundra around 12,093-foot Independence Pass. But only one way is the way
Backpacker19 min read
Epitaph In The Sky
WE WERE ON A CROSS-COUNTRY ROUTE, ascending a gentle gully, when Rick Sanger—or “Ranger Rick,” as he was known for nearly two decades in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks—bolted past me in a full sprint. His elbows were pumping, his boots were
Backpacker1 min read
Berry Bliss
THERE IS SUCH A THING as a death march on the water. I learned that one summer leading a group of teenagers through a daylong headwind on Quebec’s Lac Poulter. Whitecaps crested over our bows and we battled sideways rain for hours. When we finally re
Backpacker8 min read
Lost in Space
GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK, COLORADO Welcome to the country’s wildest sandbox. In unpopulated southern Colorado, rows of folded dunes trap pockets of perfect darkness and, on windless nights, absolute silence. You can’t go wrong camping anywhere
Backpacker2 min read
Canoe Camp
Efficient paddlers can expect to travel at least 10 miles a day on flatwater and 12 to 15 miles in a gentle downstream current. A headwind can significantly slow your pace, though, so beginners should pick routes with abundant camping options. Stow y
Backpacker21 min read
You're Doing It Wrong!
MY SON TYLER WENT ON HIS FIRST HIKE at age 3, up Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania. I had to bribe him with chocolate at every step. He grew up, became a mechanical engineer and outing club jock, and now spouts all sorts of explanatory and corrective inf
Backpacker1 min read
Paddle Like a Pro
Both bow and stern paddlers default to this stroke. Turn your torso slightly to reach over the gunwale. Dip the entire blade in the water and pull toward the stern, generating power from your torso and back. Lift the blade out of the water at your hi
Backpacker4 min read
Enjoy Hiking with Wet Feet
COLD WATER CHURNED around my thighs and threatened to knock me over as I shuffled across Forney Creek. It was early spring in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the current was high and swift thanks to a spate of recent rains. I paused, clingin
Backpacker2 min read
Stop, Drop and Roll to Recovery
Use a water bottle (or travel foam roller) to target your quads and restore flexibility after a long day on the trail. Sets 3 per leg | Reps 5 rolls (back and forth is one roll) 1. Lay on your stomach with the water bottle or foam roller beneath your
Backpacker2 min read
Join the Club
THOUGH MOST OF US find it hard to believe, not everyone loves backpacking. In fact, the vast majority of people in the United States don’t plan vacations with the goal of carrying a heavy pack all day, fending off bugs and bad weather, pooping in a c
Backpacker2 min read
Peanut Butter Dream
Even ramen is better with peanut butter. Serves 2 ½ cup peanut butter2 Tbsp. Sriracha2 Tbsp. soy sauce2 packages ramen noodles1 red bell pepper, dehydrated or fresh1 head broccoli, dehydrated or fresh1 lime AT HOME ➞ Combine peanut butter, Sriracha,
Backpacker3 min read
Trail Chat
After we published Will Cockrell’s story about Sam Kim, the hiker who set out to climb Southern California’s Mt. Baldy 1,000 times (“A Man and His Mountain,” May/June 2019), our Facebook followers chimed in with their own memories of the local trail
Backpacker1 min read
Hot Tomato
In my younger (and dumber) days, some friends and I thought it would be funny to leave a large, sealed can of tomatoes in our campfire until it exploded. When the blast went off, it sent coals soaring through our campsite in a 20-foot radius. No one
Backpacker1 min readScience
9 See The Rainbow.
Anyone who claims to hate all bugs has clearly never seen a butterfly, at least certainly not the American copper. This beautiful flutterer loves to hang out in “disturbed habitats,” or human-impacted wild places. Maybe it just wants to be our friend
…Or Discover Something New