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Health



Mileage Master Skills

Going the distance? Use these tips to ease big-mile trips.

Expert Panel: Instant Upgrades



Build Trail-worthy Ankle Strength

Four moves that'll help you make an injury-free transition to lightweight hiking shoes.

Troubleshoot This: Burned by Boiling Water



Expert Panel: Instant Upgrades

We asked a few of our favorite pros how to fix some common backcountry annoyances

Expert Panel: Instant Upgrades



Backpacking Fitness

Boost performance and be a better backpacker with these fitness- and strength-building moves from our experts.

Out Alive: Bitten by a Rattlesnake

A dayhiker fights for her life—as her body shuts down.

Expert Panel: 11 Pro Tips

Pro Tips: Boost Performance, Planning, Safety, and More

Heros: Becca Stubbs, 21

Student and president of the Hiking Club at the University of Colorado, Boulder

Hiking Makes You Smarter

Yes, the views and fresh air and exercise make every backpacking trip worthwhile. But now, new research shows, staying home is just plain dumb. Learn why backpacking boosts brainpower in this exclusive report from the frontiers of environmental neuroscience.

Travel Like a Pro: Stay Healthy

Start with up-to-date vaccinations–for chicken pox, MMR, tetanus, and hepatitis A, B, and C–then tear out this cheat sheet to preventing six common adventure-travel risks.

Blister Wars

Don't get sidelined by these common and painful foes. Fight back with these tips and tricks for preventing and treating any kind of hot spot problem.

Backpacker Bible: Never Get a Blister

Your body is a temple? Then your feet are the altar. Treat them right, and enjoy every hike from the first mile to the last.

Escape Plan: Warm a Hypothermia Victim

Treat severe hypothermia with this life saving technique.

Survival: True Reader Escapes

Seven lucky-to-be-alive subscribers share their real-life backcountry disasters. Here’s how they survived, and what you can learn from their mistakes.

True Tales: Can't Breathe at High Altitude

A scape of pulmonary edema sends this reader down the mountain, fast.

Ski Strong: Beat Blisters

Outsmart stiff boots and constant heel lifting with these anti-friction tips.

Survival: Prevent Blisters and Frostbite

Prevent these two painful toe problems.

Survival: Improvise a Splint and Treat Burns

Two skills to take with you to the backcountry

Survival: First Aid Emergencies

Hard-won-lessons and tips about medical emergencies from the front lines of survival.

The Manual: Stay Healthy at Altitude

Play it safe against altitude sickness.

Rip & Live: Spiders

Itsy bitsy? Sure, but spiders loom large in hiker phobias. They shouldn't: Only a few subspecies of the black widow and brown recluse can inflict enough damage to cut short a hike. Here's what you need to know about North America's most venomous spiders, from how to avoid them to treating their bites.

Rip & Live: Survive Spiders

Itsy bitsy? Sure, but only a few subspecies of the black widow and brown recluse can inflict enough damage to cut short a hike. Here’s what you need to know about North America’s most venomous spiders, from how to avoid them to treating their bites.

Prof. Hike: Leave Blisters in the Dust

Blisters are the most common on-trail injury, but blisters are also easy to prevent.

How To Slideshow: Improvise An Ankle Brace

Sprained or broken ankles are the most common injury for hikers and backpackers. Here's how to deal.

How To Slideshow: Build A Backcountry Knee Splint

Your hiking buddy torqued their knee? This simple splint can prevent further injury and let you both limp home.

Summer Trail Smarts

Get ready for your summer adventure with these these essential on-trail skills.

Tough Guy Challenge: Call for Videos

Submit your video! Win a trip to Rainier and the title of America's Toughest Backpacker.

Tough Guy Challenge: Week 5

It's the final push. Complete the final week's challenge and get ready for next week's call to submit your video.

Summer Trail Smarts: Purify Water

Learn several techniques to purify water in the backcountry.

Summer Trail Smarts: Staunch a Bleeding Wound

Use these first aid techniques to control and treat a bleeding wound.

Tough Guy Challenge Week 2

Build on week one's regimen by mastering even more survival and navigation skills and improving your overall fitness level.

Tough Guy Challenge Week 1

Rev up for the first week of our plan to make you the ultimate tough guy, or gal.

Gear Review: RoadID's Wrist ID Sport

A bracelet with all your vital information in case of emergency.

Gear Review: Adventure Medical Kits' S.O.L. 3 Survival, Medical & Gear Repair Pak

A first aid kit that can handle way more than blisters.

Gear Review: Adventure Medical Kits’ S.O.L. 3 Survival, Medical & Gear Repair Pak



Gear Review: Adventure Medical Kits’ S.O.L. 3 Survival, Medical & Gear Repair Pak



Everest Contaminated by Toxic Metals

New research reveals high levels of arsenic and cadmium in the mountain's snow and soil. Plus: Should you worry about similar pollution in North America's high country?

The Biggest Winner: Why Backpacking Burns Fat

Your body is an engine. It runs on a mix of carbohydrates, fats, and a very small amount of protein. And it's a finely tuned engine, using the best fuel for every need.

After Burn: Staying in Shape Off-Trail

How to keep off what you've hiked off.

Lighten Up: Losing Weight by Hiking

Make one simple resolution–to hike more –and we guarantee you'll lose that spare tire around the middle. Here's the proof, the plan, and the inspiration.

The Wrong Way: Top 52 Hiker Mistakes

Your guide to 52 common mistakes hikers make--and how to avoid them.

How-To Slideshow: Adjust Your Trekking Poles For Varying Terrain

In this step-by-step guide, we'll show you the proper height of trekking poles for various types of terrain.

How-To Slideshow: Boot Lacing for Maximum Comfort

In this guide, we show you methods for lacing your boots to prevent blisters and maximize comfort.

Best of BACKPACKER: How to Do Everything

Climb higher, live longer, and eat better, o.k. be better, with these skills.

Don't Get Burned: FDA Updates Sunscreen Regulation

Misleading sunscreen claims today could be causing tomorrow's skin cancer.

Gear Review: Joshua Tree Climbing Salve

Fight rough effects on your skin with this moisturizing climbing salve.

Camp Chef Makeover: 7-Eleven Shopper

Fast food leads to fast crashes trailside.

Recipe: Ginger Garlic Soba

Punch up boring noodles with ginger and garlic.

Camp Chef Makeover: Lady Blah-Blah

Break out of the boring one-pot routine.

The Manual: Plan an Expedition

Go big with these expedition trip planning tips.

Camp Chores: Doing Dishes

Just like at home, there's clean-up to do after every meal in the backcountry. Here's how to get your dishes clean.

Gear Review: Z-Medica QuikClot Sport

Stop big bleeds fast.

Gear Review: Ultimate Survival Technology BASE Kit

This light survival kit has all the essentials.

Toughest Gear: MSR Alpine Cookware and GSI Cascadian Bowls

Pots for the masses–and the ages.

Gear Review: Elemental Herbs Sport SPF 22 Tinted

Get all-day protection without the greasy white tint with this chemical-free sunscreen.

Gear Review: Elemental Herbs All Good Goop

This healing balm soothes cracked skin, dry lips, and minor cuts and burns.

Gear Review: Adventure Medical Kits Day Tripper

A handy, all-inclusive first aid kit

Gear Review: Smartshield SPF 30 Spray with Insect Repellent

An all-natural sunscreen with bug repellant

Gear Review: Adventure Medical Kits Blister Medic

Stop blisters in their tracks.

Gear Review: Adventure Medical Kits Heatsheets Emergency Bivy

A light emergency bivvy sack

Spring Training: Exercises for Strong Knees and Hamstrings

Want strong knees when hiking season starts? Work your hamstrings now.

The Ultimate First-Aid Manual: Risk Factors

Most common backcountry injuries.

The Ultimate First-Aid Manual: Evacuate or Wait for Rescue?

Your buddy just slid down a steep scree and broke his leg. Should you go for help–or haul him out? It's a tough call. The answer depends on several factors. Here's how to decide.

Injury-Proof Your Legs

Loosen up–and stay pain-free–with resistance stretching.

Protect Your Vision in the Backcountry

Here's how to prevent–and treat–three common backcountry eye problems.

The Ultimate First-Aid Manual: Stay or Go?

Use this chart to determine if you can finish your trip–or should hightail it to the ER.

The Ultimate First-Aid Manual: What to Pack

Construct a solid emergency kit with these medical must-haves.

The Ultimate First-Aid Manual: First Aid Improv

"Be prepared" is a great maxim, but be honest: Who among you packs a SAM splint and an irrigation syringe on every backpacking trip? Fear not–everyday items can serve as medical equipment in a pinch.

The Ultimate First-Aid Manual: Extreme First Aid

When you're miles away from medical help and it's serious: Here's how to handle extreme injuries in the backcountry.

The Ultimate First-Aid Manual: Muscles & Bones

Sprains, strains, and fractured bones. Here's what to do in the case of a distressed limb.

The Ultimate First-Aid Manual: Environmental Threats

As much as we try to protect ourselves from extreme elements, sometimes the elements hedge even our greatest efforts. Here's what to do when Mother Nature wins.

The Ultimate First-Aid Manual: Heavy Bleeding

Check out what to do when it's much more than a simple scrape or puncture wound.

The Ultimate First-Aid Manual: Dental Emergencies

Soothe tooth pain with these helpful remedies.

The Ultimate First-Aid Manual: Gastrointestinal Illness

Ugh. It's happened to us all. Here's how to handle a bad belly when you're away from far from home.

The Ultimate First-Aid Manual: Animal & Insect Bites

Though we love backcountry wildlife (well, mostly), sometimes we get no love back. Read up on what to do when Mother Nature bites.

The Ultimate First-Aid Manual: Minor Wounds

No wound, now matter how minor, should go ignored in the backcountry. Check out these quick tips to clean it up and keep trekking.

The Ultimate First-Aid Manual

Treating injuries miles from the ER is an essential skill. But don't pack a medical text: Instead, learn what really matters. Wilderness Medicine Institute cofounder Buck Tilton boils down a lifetime's worth of experience into 62 tips every hiker should know. Read it, save it–and go forth to save lives.

BACKPACKER First Aid Center

From splinting a broken leg to duct taping a bloody wound, the BACKPACKER First Aid Center is an invaluable resource for backcountry first aid.

Recipe: Sesame-White Bean Potato Cakes

These potato cakes are heavy on the carbs–and taste.

Recipe: Italian-Style Potatoes

Spice up boring potatoes with some summer sausage, brown sugar, and tomatoes in this Italian-inspired dish.

Recipe: Wasabi Potatoes with Salmon

The wasabi adds a kick to instant potatoes, while the salmon is a perfect protein source.

The Boy Scout Quiz

Could you earn a merit badge in wilderness travel? Better ace this test, taken straight from the Scouts' own backpacking manual.

Are You Smarter Than a Boy Scout?

Scoutmasters wrote the book on camping, and built an army of pack-toting teens. But do the troops truly rule when it comes to outdoor skills? We pitted three Scouts against three average readers to find out.

Eat Your Medicine: Natural Pain Relievers

Three pack-friendly snacks that soothe tired, overworked muscles.

Which Water Treatment is for You?

Fast, hassle-free, ultralight,–we explore five different water treatment scenarios and the right system to use.

How to Avoid Mosquito Bites

Stay itch-free this summer with these guide-tested tips.

Yosemite Rescue Dogs: Could This Dog Save Your Life?

Kristin Bjornsen hikes into the Sierras to meet Gus, a new breed of highly trained rescue professional that's already patrolling Yosemite for lost and injured backpackers.

Sleep Better Now: Improve Your Backcountry ZZZ's

Our restless guinea pig snooze-tested the latest science and gear to bring you a simple plan that's guaranteed to improve your backcountry ZZZ's.

Backcountry Tooth Care

Treat dental problems–from minor to major–with these tips.

The Mosquito Truth: Behind the Bite

Get the bug dope ready: The bloodthirsty mosquito is heading your way this summer.

Hike Forever: Ultimate Hiking Workouts

The secret to long-term health and fitness? Reap backpacking's many benefits–a strong heart, lean muscle, superior endurance–through every stage of your life. Here's how.

Get An Edge on Knife Safety

A knife expert's guide to blade selection and safety

The Cure: Treating Frostbite

Frostnip and frostbite are poetic names for a serious health issue: frozen skin. Frostnip occurs when the first layer of skin freezes, creating pale blotches on the affected area (usually the fingers and toes). If unchecked, the condition deepens into frostbite, in which multiple layers of skin freeze. Frostbite turns the flesh white and makes it feel solid to the touch. It often causes permanent tissue damage, and in rare cases requires amputation.



Travel Like a Pro: For the Extreme Traveler

Bound for one of the globe's most exotic locales? Thrive in any environment with these tips.

Travel Like a Pro: How to Stay Healthy

Tackle everything from jet lag to malaria (and those pesky mosquitoes) with our guide to staying healthy abroad.

Review: Adventure Medical Kits SmartTRAVEL First Aid Kit

From stings to dehydration, this fully-stocked kit has everything you'd need to handle a medical issue, even when overseas

Pioneering Frostbite Treatment

One Minnesota doctor and his team have discovered a new treatment that reduces the need for amputations.

Hiking with Chronic Conditions

Have one of these three common health problems? Stay safe on the trail by taking sensible precautions.

Survive This: Frostbitten Feet

Frostbite is bad news. Learn how to safely treat frozen feet.

How to Do Everything - First Aid & Health

Close a wound, remove a tick, prevent poison ivy rash, and more essential tips.

How to Do Everything - Camping

Find water anywhere, make a fire in five minutes, learn secrets for battling mosquitoes, and more.

How to Do Everything - Packing & Planning

We'll show you how to be ready to the the trail in 20 minutes, guaranteed. Now gear up!

ESSENTIAL OUTDOOR SKILLS SPECIAL: How to Do Everything

Want to be a better hiker? Look no further. Our comprehensive guide is packed with the backcountry secrets that separate average campers from true wilderness experts.

America's 10 Most Dangerous Hikes - Mt. Washington, NH

It'll blow you away

Life-or-Death Decisions - Caught in a Storm

When a storm comes out of nowhere, learn how to handle the unexpected.

Life-or-Death Decisions - Injury

Learn how to plan and react when and unexpected injury creeps up on you.

Life-or-Death Decisions - Lost

How did you get here? How can you get out? Staying found starts at home.

Life-or-Death Decisions

Survival depends on more than dumb luck–to live to see another day, you must correctly navigate a tricky series of choices. Here's how to do it when the consequences couldn't be higher.

3 Ways To Save: Adventure Racing

Adventure racing isn't for those without high pain thresholds, but here's three ways to cut down on the inevitable hurt.

Never Fear: The Phobias

Use this step-by-step guide to beat 7 common backcountry fears. Plus, ideal hikes for overcoming–or avoiding–the source of your scare.

Never Fear: The Fix

Conquer any fear with this DIY guide to applying a proven treatment plan called cognitive- behavioral therapy. Think of it as training for the mind.

Never Fear: Q&A with Barbara Rothbaum



Never Fear: How to Beat Backcountry Phobias

Don't let groundless phobias ruin–or even prevent–your backcountry adventures. Here's a foolproof plan for overcoming your terrors.

Health News: Breathe Easy

What to know about hiking with asthma

How to Rescue an Injured Hiker

Your partner can't go on. Should you stay–or go for help?

Survive This: You're Wet & Cold

Here's how to avoid hypothermia.

The Big Question: Outdoor Education

Should outdoor education be a top priority in public schools?

Health News: Get Naked!

And other ways to prevent tick-borne infections

Tune Up: Improve Your Balance

Gymnasts can land backflips on balance beams four inches wide. Their secret: training barefoot.

No-Excuses Fitness Training Tips

Having trouble getting motivated? These soldiers toughen you up with their custom can't-quit tips.

Survive This: Bitten by a (Rabid?) Animal

Chomped by a critter? Here's what to do.

Health News: What's in Your Bottle?



The Specialist: Heat Doctor

Stay cool with expert tips for boiler days.

Climb Higher

With the right preparation–and a little help from a half-dozen friends, two exotic techno-gadgets, and one very sweaty hypoxic chamber–can a sea-level-dwelling rookie climb the highest peak in Colorado?

Eat Better

Want to hike farther, explore tougher terrain, and carry big loads without bonking? To achieve your biggest backcountry goals, you have to change how you eat.

Summer Fitness Special: Hike Stronger, Live Longer

Achieve peak performance on the trail with our complete guide to training and eating like a backpacker.

The Cure: First Aid For Fido

Dogs can get hurt on the trail just like you. Here's how to treat 5 common problems.

Keep Your Feet Happy

Long-distance runner Russell Secker feels your foot pain–and he knows how to get rid of it.

Prime Your Pump

You can't hike with a bum ticker–follow these heart-healthy strategies to stay on the trail longer.

Survive This: Swarming Wasps

Forget all the rules about freezing or making yourself big. When faced with these angry beasts run for cover.

Tune Up: Protect Your Joints and Build Pivot Power

Get ready for spring with 3 joint-specific routines.

Sprained Ankles: Watch Your Step

The latest health news reveals that ankle injuries are more common than you'd think. Here's some beta.

Skills Health: Make Time For Exercise

Full schedule? Here's how to work in working out.

Taste Test: Best of the Bars

What to grab when you need a boost

The Backcountry Bathroom

Nature calls, even in the wilderness. We've found 5 products that will make your outdoor bathroom runs easy, hygienic, and safe.

Fitness Advice from Top Outdoor Experts

For these three fitness gurus staying fit is a job requirement.

Medicine Man: High-Altitude Kids

Advice on kids and herbs at altitude.

Survive This: Trapped by a Rock

When a scramble turns to a nightmare learn how to help yourself.

Survive This: Lost in the Desert

When you're stuck in the desert unexpectedly conserve, conserve, conserve.

Survive This: Sudden Illness on the Trail

Beware of dehydration when a sudden illness strikes.

Stretches for Hikers

Recover from high-mileage days with these before-and-after stretches.

Hypothermia 101

Don't be fooled: Hypothermia can happen in the summer or the winter. Learn how to prevent and treat a dropping core body temp.

Snake Bite First-Aid

Learn the steps to take if you're bitten by a poisonous snake.

18 Sudden Threats: The Right and Wrong Responses

Things happen fast in the wilderness. It's important to learn the right and wrong actions beforehand so you can react accordingly.

Backpacking Basics

Take these 21 trail tips to heart, and you're virtually guaranteed a good hike.

How to Build Hiking Endurance



Four-Week Fitness Plan

Before you hit the trail, try thses exercises to build leg strength and stamina.

Get Trail-Fit Indoors

Get ready for hiking season in the off-season with this training plan developed by Runner's World contributor Budd Coates.

Why Backpackers Need to Eat Protein

Protein helps hikers regulate their metabolism, repair tired muscle, and boost their immune system.

Homemade First Aid Kit

There are plenty of pre-packaged first aid kits out there but, here are some good ingredients that should go in most kits for most types of hikes. Keep in mind that the longer the hike, or the larger the group, the more safety gear you should bring.

Green Gear Report Card 2008

The first industry-wide survey about which gear manufacturers are positively impacting the environment

How to Prevent Blisters

Sweaty feet, thick socks, and sturdy boots are a blister cauldron. Learn four easy ways to keep your feel clean, dry, and blister free.

Learn Backcountry First Aid

Use this quick guide to determine what type of backcountry first aid training you need.

Survive This: Meeting a Menacing Stranger On the Trail

Learn how to avoid shady characters on the trail.

How to Protect Your Heart While Hiking

Cardiac arrest is the number three killer in the outdoors&ndashlearn how to prevent, recognize, and treat trail-side heart issues.

Holistic First Aid

A naturopath's top 5 remedies for common backpacking injuries.

Motivate With a Fitness Challenge

Whether it's a "Birthday Challenge" or a peak that needs climbing, choosing a specific fitness challenge will help you stay motivated to get out more.

The Essential Weekend Backpacking Menu

Banish blah food with this 3-day guide to quick, delicious meals.

Survive a Mangled Ankle

Help yourself hike out after an ankle injury

Quiz: Would You Survive?

The wilderness can be deadly if you don't know what you're doing. Take our test to rate your survival IQ—and learn a few skills that might save your hide.

The Source of All Things

Recently released as a full-length memoir, The Source of All Things was first published as a feature article in BACKPACKER in December 2007. This is the full-text of that article.

Ticks: Avoid the enemy

To protect yourself from ticks-and reduce your risk of contracting Lyme disease-follow these steps.

Health: Other Tick-Borne Diseases

A comprehensive guide to tick-borne illnesses beyond Lyme Disease.

Tick Identification 101

Get to know the ticks that cause Lyme-and those that don't

Lyme Disease And You

The latest on prevention, symptoms, and treatment

How To Remove A Tick

Use this quick approach to remove ticks from your body.

Blood tests for Lyme?

Several tests can detect the Lyme bacteria. Find out which one you should take if you are bitten.

Reality Bites: Lyme Disease

A park ranger's struggle with the tick-borne illness.

Bitten: Lyme Disease

Lyme disease may be the nation's #1 wilderness health threat, but it's no reason to avoid the outdoors. Check out this special report on tick-borne illness to learn how to protect yourself and your family.

Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

Learn the signs so you can get on the road to recovery faster.

Can Lyme Disease Become Chronic?

Simple question, complex answer.

Lyme Disease By The Numbers

Any way you slice it, Lyme disease is an expanding problem. Use this map and chart to understand how the disease is growing.

Beating Poison Ivy

Learn to recognize, avoid and treat poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. Start by scrolling through the photos below.

High-Energy Food: Eat For The Long Haul

Enjoy all-day power by combining these 5 superfoods

Physical Conditioning: Spring Training

30 days to a killer trail body with cardio and strength workouts for backpackers.

Start smart: First Aid For Kids

Teach your youngsters the basics; it could save your life.

Health Tips: Beat Winter Blues

Fend off a cold-weather slump with these expert strategies.

Get (Even More) Trail-Fit This Winter

4 indoor workouts that'll keep you outdoors-ready

Mountaineering Fitness: Climb Like Ed

Got summit fever? The sky's the limit with a fitness plan and climbing tips from world-class mountaineer Ed Viesturs.

Secrets Of The Ultrafit: Heidi Wirtz

Get strong with yoga poses used by a world-class climber

The Specialist: Climb Better At Altitude

Feel good at 10,000 feet with advice from a Rainier guide.

The Cure: Beating Blisters

Catch the hot spot before it's too late

The Cure: Beating Sunburn

Hot first aid tips for treating sunburn

The Specialist: Don't Get Sunburned

A lifeguard's guide to using sunscreen

Foot Fixes: How to Deal with 4 Common Boot Problems

Prevent blisters, hike grit-free, and find arch support in a lightweight boot

The Cure: Treating Bee Stings

Health tips for backpackers experiencing life-threatening or just plain annoying bee stings on the trail

Liquid Energy: Hydration Tips

Improve your performance with the right drinking strategy

The Cure: Treating Knee Pain

Show your knees a little TLC

The Specialist: Breathe Easy

7 tricks for averting on-the-trail allergies

Post-Hike Massage: Here's The Rub

4 techniques to soothe trail-weary muscles

The Cure: Treating Snow Blindness

Sunburned eyes can throw you to the sidelines for a painful 48 hours. Learn how to prevent and treat this winter threat.

Tune Up: Your First Adventure Race

Get ready for your first race with a fitness plan from a world champ

First Aid: How to Stop A Bleeder

Let our wilderness EMT teach you the best way to treat those gushing cuts and scrapes.

Save Your Feet: How to Prevent Foot Problems

You think thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail is a long walk?

Thirst

Is there a sense that's more powerful? We'll let you be the judge.

Tight Ain't Right: How to Stretch for Hiking

4 simple stretches to relieve stiff, sore muscles.

Under Strain

Is there a maximum weight you can safely haul?

Body Of A Backpacker

It's lean, it's mean, and it can last forever.

Body Essentials

10 Ways Backpacking Changes Your Body

The Hiker's Diet

Do hikers have special nutritional needs?

Water Worries

How much H2O do you really need on the trail?

Bone Up With Backpacking

Does backpacking build up your bones?

Balancing Act

Secrets for staying on your feet from dancers, tightrope walkers, running backs, and more.

Blueberry Magic

Berries Prove Balance Can Be Sweet

Mars Vs. Venus

Who's better suited for backpacking--men or women?

Highlander Genes

Why are Sherpas so studly?

Good Gear Gone Bad

It's all fun and games 'til someone gets a tent pole in the eye.

Survival Starts With A Kiss

Learn the latest survival smarts with this military acronym

High-Altitude Blues

Why do we bonk at 14,000 feet?

5 Easy Ways to Get Strong and Avoid Injuries

Strong legs, abs, back, and arms make hiking more enjoyable and helps prevent strains and sprains.

Cold Sleepers vs. Hot Sleepers

One camper sweats and another shivers. What's the deal?

Mighty metabolism

Do backpackers have superfast metabolic rates?

A Speedy Recovery

Sidelined by injury? Get back on the trail fast with this easy treatment plan.

My Crest Is SPF 30

Preventing sunburn is as simple as brushing your teeth.

Good News About Bad Food

Got burgers on the brain? Learn why some experts say it's okay to indulge.

Foot Mechanic Quiz: Fixing Foot Problems Before The Hike

Do your foot troubles warrant an expert's opinion? Take this quiz to find out.

Stop Your Sniffling: Allergy Advice

Don't let itchy eyes and a sneeze-machine nose ruin your hike. Here's our guide to keeping allergies at bay.

HIkers Strike a Yoga Pose

Want to develop legs of steel and the balance of a mountain goat? Try yoga.

Stay Warm In Winter

Winter warmth is easy with these tips from arctic explorers, cold-weather experts, and army docs.

Healthy Hiking For Men: Preventing Jock Itch And Other Problems 'Down There'

A wilderness guide to proper care and maintenance of the family jewels.

Know Your Backcountry Bugs

Guide to common bugs in the backcountry.

Itch-Free Summer

Ten ways to avoid bug bites and what to do if bitten.

Your Backwoods Pharmacy

When illness or injury strikes, the medicine you need is in the plants alongside the trail and at your feet.

Weak In The Knees

12 ways to get more miles out of your legs.

Rash Decisions: Fighting Backcountry Itches

Here's what I keep in my first-aid kit to battle the itchiest rash known to medical science.

Eating On The Runs

To keep trekking when you have the trots, feed your body the right fuel.

Good News For Sore Joints

Got a bum knee or ankle? Better treatments for post-hike joint pain are on the horizon.

Fighting Backcountry Asthma: Waiting To Inhale

If you have asthma but don't have an inhaler, follow these procedures to breathe easy in the backcountry.

Guide To Sound Sleeping

On your next outing, be sure to heed these 10 tips for sleeping like a log.

10 Simple Ways To Get To Sleep In Camp

Getting a good night's sleep on the trail is easier said than done. Our experts show you how to get your 20 winks.

Mind Over Mileage: Breathing Techniques For Hiking

Feeling pooped at the end of the day? Try these relaxation and breathing techniques to put more pep in your step.

Sleep Comfort In Camp

Trouble sleeping in camp? Try our tips for a good night's rest.

Tips For Camping With Kids

Nuggets of knowledge from those who have brought their youngsters into the backcountry.

Drinking Risky Water

If disaster leaves you deep in the backcountry without any means to disinfect drinking water, what do you do? Follow these methods to stay hydrated without getting sick.

Retaining Water While Hiking: Don't Sweat It

When water is scarce, minimize the amount your body expends.

Saddle Sore? Tips To Heal Your Rear

Experiencing a sore butt on the trail? Try these healing tips.

Rx Drugs On The Trail

Prescription drugs you should carry on the trail.

Coping with Leeches

How to deal with and treat those bloodsucking leeches.

Belly Ache Or Poison?

What to do if the berries you munched weren't safe after all.

Aluminum Pots Are Safe

Cooking with aluminum pots in camp won't cause Alzheimer's.

Stride Right, Feel Better

Tips to improve your hiking stride.

Swallowing Camp Stove Fuel

How to treat yourself if you gulp down stove fuel in camp.

Chicken Soup For The Trail

Some trailworthy soups can even help you heal.

Hiking Pain Explained

What causes pain on the trail?

Stop Camp Snoring

If you have a problem with snoring (that is, if you have a tentmate who snores), try this remedy on your next night in camp.

Foods For Backcountry Recovery

Our medicine man gives his food suggestions for recovering in the backcountry.

A Fly In The Ointment

Antibiotic ointment, a basic element of every first-aid kit, has gotten a bad rap lately.

Treating Backcountry Swimmer's Ear

How to identify and treat swimmer's ear in the wilderness.

Stop Trail Chafing

Stop chafing with these tips.

Backwoods Headaches

We head for the hills to escape the tensions of everyday life. So why do our heads often pound like a drum soon after hitting the trail?

Bug Bites: Close Your Clothes

Use these tips to bug-proof your clothes.

Blister Prevention: Hiker, Heel Thyself

Think blisters are a sure thing when you hike? Think again: Here's your ticket to preventing and treating the dreaded sores.

Have Diabetes, Will Travel

Even diabetes can't slow down hikers with these health tips.

Bacteria In Paradise

On your next tropical dip, beware of water-borne bacteria.

Survival Of The Fittest

Wish you could leap tall mountains in a single bound? Here's an exercise program designed for backpackers.

Yerba Mate: New Trail Brew

Kick the coffee and toss the tea and try yerba mate.

The Mountaineer's Herb

Ginkgo helps with altitude sickness and cold.

Filtering Vs. Chemicals Vs. Boiling Water

Water treatments defined.

Cold Doesn't Always Mean Dead

You can freeze to death and still live to tell about it.

Fighing Shin Splints

Soreness and tightness in your shins (aka shin splints) can make every step along the trail painful.

Another Tick-Borne Disease

You can add another disease to those you might get from ticks: ehrlichiosis.

Burn Treatment: A Heated Situation

To stem the pain, act fast when treating burns.

Poison Ivy, Bees and Wasps

Do you know your backcountry poisonous threats?

Cleaning Pads With Medicine

Keep scrapes clean with lightweight cleaning pads.

Thwarting Cryptosporidium

Think crypto comes only from polluted water? Your healthy camp mate could be a carrier.

Avoiding Caffeine Withdrawal

Your daily cups of java seem innocent-until you hit the trail and don't get your normal caffeine buzz for a couple of days.

Natural Toothbrushes

Forgot your toothbrush? You can still practice good hygiene.

Hypothermia: Just The Facts

Quick Tips to Prevent, Recognize, and Treat Hypothermia.

Sweat Glands: 3 Million And Counting

Your 3 million sweat glands can make for a sweaty, smelly hike.

Zipped-Tight Water Safety

Use ziplock baggies with your water purifiers for extra safety.

Backcountry Body Odor: What's That Smell?

Body odor can get pretty bad on the trail. Here's how to make sure you never again hear the words, "What's That Smell?"

Too Cold For Comfort

How to improve your tolerance for cold and enhance your outdoor performance.

Backpacker Body Odor Throughout History

Smelling foul in the outdoors is nothing new. Check out these historical tidbits.

Hiking While Pregnant

With a few precautions, expecting hikers can hit the trail.

Smashed Finger Relief

Your finger got crushed between a rock and a hard place. Here's what to do.

Before The Trail, Cut Your Toenails

We're not saying you need a pedicure, but a toenail trim doesn't hurt on the trail.

Wrinkled Hats Ward Off UV Rays

New trail-tested advice for shading your face from the sun.

Treating Achilles Tendinitis

Hikes with a lot of elevation gain and loss are prime for getting tendinitis in the Achilles tendon.

When Hiking, Beware Dirty Water

Unless you're partial to polluted water, don't fill your bottle during or just after a major storm.

Cover Up In The Desert

Follow this cover-up advice before you head into the desert.

Wind Chill Bites

Wind chill can nip noses or lead to frostbite. Here's what you should know.

Stressed? Start Backpacking

Startling research reveals the backcountry melts tension.

HIkers' Strong Shoulder Treatment

Sore shoulders after lugging a pack? Try this exercise remedy.

Splints For Broken Bones

Suffer a bone-related injury and one of these high-tech splints will quickly become your best friend.

Bug Off: Tips To Keep Away Insects

Tips to beat the most annoying backwoods biters

Alternative To Bug Spray: Permethrin

Another bug-beating option.

Bonus Backcountry Bug-Off Tips

Other tips to beat the most annoying backcountry biters.

Perfecting Your First Aid Kit

Whether it's old and dirty or fresh off the store shelf, your first-aid kit should be able to handle any emergency.

Stamp Out Foot Fungus Naturally

Finish foot fungus fast -- and naturally.

Winter Harm: Cold Dangers

Cold can harm in subtle and quick ways, so it pays to be prepared.

Sun Solutions

Winter sun damage can be just as bad as in summer.

Treating Aches and Pains

A personal perspective on healing back, joint and other body pains.

Knee Injuries: An Unexpected Twist

If you've had a knee injury, follow these exercises before you hit the trail again.

Hiking Medicine: Trail Rx

Got a first-aid kit? Great. Now add these over-the-counter medicines and it'll be perfect.

Fixing A Blister

A simple blister remedy gets you back on the trail fast.

You Can't Strut With Fallen Arches

Test to see if your "shocks" -- the arches of your feet -- are blown.

Fighting Altitude Sickness

What happens when you go from sea level to altitude too fast? One brave editor found out the hard way, and offers her blow-by-blow findings in hopes that you don't suffer a similar fate.

Dry, Cool Feet = Happy Feet

For maximum comfort, keep your feet drier and cooler.

Wash Your Feet

Clean and rub them, and feet will go the distance.

Break In Your Boots

Log some easy "city" miles in your new hiking boots before that epic trip.

When Panic Attacks

Stay calm, have a bite to eat, and remember there's nothing to fear but fear itself.

Fighting Cramps On The Trail

Nothing cramps your style like a knotted muscle. Here are simple ways to stay pain-free.

Stretching: Muscle Relaxers

Use these specific stretches to alleviate muscle pain.

Healing Thorns, Splinters, And Other Pricks

How to deal with all kinds of things that get under your skin.

Fish Hook Wounds: Catch And Release

Fish hooks can be painful and dangerous -- here's how to get 'em out.

How Your Knee Works

The big hinge in your leg is essential to hiking -- here's how the knee gets you over the pass.

How To Splint A Bum Knee

Pretend Your Leg Is A Jelly Roll.

Knee Help?

No joint is more prone to injury than the knee. Here's what to do when faced with a backcountry blow-out.

Wilderness First-Aid Courses

Take an advanced wilderness first-aid course and you'll never have to say "I didn't know what to do" to the next-of-kin.

Foot Odor: Toxic Sock Syndrome

If your feet are a source of backcountry air pollution, here's how to keep them smelling sweet.

Of Mice And Lyme Disease

Stay away from mice out on the trail, and you'll stay away from disease-carrying ticks.

Cancer Concerns

When it comes to hikers with skin damage, not all cancers are created equal.

Understanding Sunscreen Labels

Here's how to make sense of your sunscreen.

A Few Ounces Of Prevention

The 25 often-overlooked ways to stay healthy and injury-free.

Taping Ankle Injuries: Stick To It

Athletic tape can still do wonders for an injured ankle.

Sprained Ankle Relations

How to keep hiking when your ankle takes a turn for the worse. Plus, keeping them strong and trail-ready.

Not-So-Wise Tales

If you think ringworms crawl or chewing poison ivy prevents the itch, you're obviously a fan of medical fiction.

Hypothermia 101

As the temperature dips, hypothermia can threaten survival for backwoods adventurers unaware of its warning signs.

Quick And Dirty: How To Cope

Here's how to stay sanitary in the backcountry.

Head Cases: Wilderness Head Injuries

If you take a hit to the head in the wild, think twice before deciding to hike on.

Backcountry Diarrhea: Treating The Runs

When diarrhea strikes in the backcountry and there's no porcelain for 20 miles, the proper response can save your trip.

Insect Stings: What's Bugging You?

If the thought of a spider bite or bee sting makes your skin crawl, then preventing a painful encounter is the key.

Poisoned In Camp?

How to deal with common backpacking substances that are more toxic than three-day-old socks.

Drowning Victims: In Over Your Head

Your partner just disappeared under an icy torrent. Quick, do you know what to do next?

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