Backpacker3 min read
Backyard Epics
Skip the crowds and get views of the most glaciated mountain in the Lower 48 by hiking in Mt. Rainier National Park’s Tatoosh Range. Not many cities can claim a National Recreation Trail within their borders. Forest Park’s Wildwood Trail has earned t
Backpacker2 min readFashion & Beauty
Care for Your Kit
In the field: Be careful with DEET-based bug repellent, which melts plastics, including membranes, and can damage synthetics and other fabrics. At home: Avoid fabric softener. It coats fibers with waxy chemicals, which clog membranes and damage moist
Backpacker15 min read
King Of The Mountains
HE MOVES,” one hiker has said, “like smoke through the trees.” “He’s like a ghost,” a peakbagger once told me. “You can’t find a picture of him anywhere.” JR Stockwell is a real person, though. He is a 58-year-old carpenter who lives just a mile from
Backpacker1 min read
Night Swimming
WHEN THE STORM BROKE, I welcomed the rain. I’d spent all day exploring backcountry lakes in California’s Trinity Alps under a cloudy October sky, but thankfully the rain held off until nightfall. Perfect. I love riding out a storm inside a tent, dry
Backpacker7 min read
Higher Calling
THE TRUCK PULLED UP in a cloud of dust and parked in front of a storage shed. More than a dozen people stopped what they were doing. Shovels and paintbrushes and hammers fell to the ground. Wheelbarrows were abandoned. At first I was confused. Was th
Backpacker2 min read
Youth Movement
YOU’VE PROBABLY HEARD of “nature deficit disorder”—the idea that kids these days are deprived of time outdoors. It’s easy to read the headlines and think teenagers do nothing but sit inside with their screens. It’s a real concern, of course, and we’v
Backpacker1 min read
Repair vs. Retire
As long as the outsole hasn’t completely peeled away from the boot, a little Shoe Goo will seal it right back up. Small leaks can be remedied with leather wax or waterproofing treatment, but blown seams and large tears mean it’s time for an upgrade.
Backpacker16 min read
Growing Up On The PCT
MY DAUGHTER, CAROLINE, WAS STRIDING far ahead of me as dusk settled on the Pacific Crest Trail in Southern California. After hiking 25 miles that day, over a rocky, hilly desert, I was exhausted and felt the weight of my pack—but Caroline, 17, kept c
Backpacker3 min read
Trailchat
Ranger Randy Morgenson, who disappeared in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in 1996, left such a lasting impression on his colleagues and friends that they named a mountain after him (“Epitaph in the Sky,” July/August 2019). But everyday hiker
Backpacker2 min read
Paddle Power
This core exercise targets the obliques to mimic the rotation of paddling. Sets 3 | Reps 15 (each side) 1. Sitting on the floor or ground with your legs together and in front of you, hold a lightweight medicine ball (or rock) in front of your chest.
Backpacker4 min read
SUP Into Camp
I SAW THE PHOTOS in a magazine—an adventurer atop a stand-up paddleboard, her pack strapped at her feet, cruising across a calm lake to a secluded campsite. The realization hit me at once: I love backpacking and I live in Hawaii, where you can rent p
Backpacker2 min read
2. The Greatest of All
“YOU WON’T FIND any social trails out there,” the driver says, motioning to the tundra over his shoulder as I unload my gear from the back of the bus. That’s why I’m here, I think. I just spent six hours riding into Denali National Park and I’m ready
Backpacker2 min read
Plant Power
Who says backpacking food has to be bland? Serves 2 ½cup diced onion½ cup shredded carrot½ cup chopped mushroom2 vegetable bouillon cubes2 tsp. curry powder4 Tbsp. coconut milk powder¼ tsp. garlic powder½ tsp. crushed red pepper½ tsp. sugar¼ tsp. sal
Backpacker3 min read
4. Desert Varnish
THE INSIDER The uncharted territory of the Ironwood Forest drew Gary Borax from mile one. A decade ago, he started exploring the monument and hasn’t stopped. Borax quickly learned the lay of the land, even though there weren’t any hikers’ maps. In th
Backpacker1 min read
Can-Do Attitude
“Some friends and I polished off a 12-pack of beer while camping near a creek in a national park. We left the empties on the bank and went to bed. Torrential rain fell during the night, causing the creek to rise. I woke up to find all of the cans had
Backpacker3 min readScience
8. Take Only Jewels
LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST, CA The crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean can crush almost any rock into fine sand. But not jade. Untold clusters of this mineral, which ranges from opaque forest green to clear emerald, are buried in the soft, serpentini
Backpacker2 min read
Flavorful Flora
WHERE This scraggly tree can be found at lower elevations (below 7,000 feet) across the continent in canyons, hillsides, and along roadsides. Look for them near water sources such as rivers and creeks. HARVEST Fruits in late August. The tart and swee
Backpacker2 min read
9. Pay to Play
Today, the hunting cabin is silent, windows boarded shut and overgrown shrubs lining the perimeter. Uncle Herb passed away 10 years ago and with him went the last vestiges of an old family tradition. Neither my cousins, my sister, nor I hunt, either
Backpacker4 min read
Troubled Sleep
MY EYES FLUTTERED OPEN. The last thing I remembered was crawling into my sleeping bag, but now I was standing upright, surrounded by dark forest. Without my contacts, everything was shadows and blurs. I was in a sleepy trance, unsure of where I was o
Backpacker2 min read
12. Bring the Binocs
AN ERUPTION OF flapping breaks the silence of a late-afternoon hike on the Appalachian Trail outside of Hot Springs, North Carolina. Just a few feet down the path, a ruffed grouse takes sudden flight, hurtling its teapot-size body skyward in a fury o
Backpacker6 min readFashion & Beauty
The Backpacker’s New Clothes
1. adidas Outdoor Agravic Parley Tee So you’ve finally wiped all single-use plastic out of your life. Great, but there’s still plenty of work to do, and this tee can help. It blends 20 percent virgin polyester yarn with 80 percent recycled polyester
Backpacker2 min read
13. Cliffside Traverse
IT’S NOT THE climbing that takes my breath away. It’s the way that the trail, enclosed by northern hardwoods for miles, suddenly pops out above them, and there it is: every peak, valley, and forested hill in the Pemigewasset Wilderness, with the summ
Backpacker2 min read
Live Large
REI Co-op Kingdom 6 With no weight limit, there’s no reason to squeeze into a cramped shelter. The Kingdom 6 offers a ton of roam-around room, thanks to double doors, vertical walls, and an 83-square-foot floor that fits six standard-width sleeping p
Backpacker3 min read
15. Eastern Canyonland
I SWEAR THIS trail is giving me amnesia. Over the last two hours or so, I felt the grind as I climbed yet another thousand feet out of a deep, steep gorge. But at the summit of Hemlock Mountain, my memory of the struggle is wiped totally clear: Pine
Backpacker3 min read
Shoulder-season Saviors
BEST WARMTH TO WEIGHT 1. NEMO Tensor Alpine COMFORT 3.8 One tester slept on the Tensor Alpine for a two-week trip around Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula and says it was the most supportive pad she’d ever used. Credit polyester “trusses” on the interior that
Backpacker2 min read
16. Weekend Blast
A COLD WAR-ERA rocket range was the last thing I expected to stumble upon while hiking at the edge of Lake Superior, yet there was the crumbled launch pad. It’s hard to believe a place so peaceful was once part of the war machine. Moving farther thro
Backpacker2 min read
The Right Kind of Baggage
AT THE TOP of the slope, the snow gave way to a ridge of barren rock. There was no way around it: To complete our backcountry ski tour in Montana’s Bitterroot Mountains, we were going to have to carry our skis. The group’s two experts set to work, bu
Backpacker1 min readScience
17. Hiker Forecast
Afternoon thunderstorms decrease as the atmosphere stabilizes. In Colorado, the Indian Peaks Wilderness doesn’t require backcountry permits after September 15, and the last train out of the San Juans backcountry runs on October 26. Fall ushers in mil
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