How to fix zippers, wash a sleeping bag correctly, waterproofing and make boots last.
Learn how to acclimate to higher elevation, descend safely, use crampons, and self-belay.
Learn how to stay dry in a storm, navigate without a compass, and walk right.
Follow fern-lined trails to scramble up a rocky pinnacle.
String together the Appalachian, Benton MacKaye, and Mountains-to-Sea Trails for a 48-mile instant classic that hits the park's best views and backcountry campsites.
The ultimate boot for the long approaches and class 3+ scrambles.
Upgrade your footwear: We found seven models that can take you from dayhikes to thru-hikes, and from desert to rainforest to peaks.
These after-market insoles control motion, fill excess volume, and more.
Comfortable, sneaker-like feel with a roomy toebox.
Flexible support and instant comfort; great for trips with lighter loads.
This supple leather boot has top-notch shock absorption and nearly an inch of arch support.
Running-shoe-like comfort, fit, and breathability.
For hikers in blazing climates who need well-ventilated, waterproof protection and all-terrain traction.
Testers prized these all-leather boots for their tenacious traction, superior comfort, and midsole support.
Named the best all-around boot by testers because of its unusually strong combination of protection, support, and nimbleness.
The shoe has less width in the heel and ball and more curve in the arch compared to men’s hikers.
Fast and light and luxe: Get running-shoe comfort and hiking-boot stability.
For hikers, pushing your limits will certainly yield more views–plus better fitness, confidence, and, perhaps, perspective.
These boots offer classic style with modern-day comfort -- and they'll last a lifetime.
Warm winter boots that are also light and nimble.
Plan hikes and backpacking trips, plus other outdoor adventures like never before on detailed, interactive topo maps and aerial photos.
The trail-runner-like Forge Pro has the teeth to take on ice, slush, and shallow snow.
This boot is packed with 600 grams of Thinsulate, the most insulation in any non-mountaineering boot we tested.
Warm enough for lifties but in a light and nimble package.
A rigid, all-leather boot with an integrated heel crampon.
Serious conditions require serious footwear, like these double-plastic alpine boots.
A boot with interchangeable soles--one for ice and one for snow and mud.
A versatile deep-winter boot
If the prospect of cold feet keeps you off the trail come winter, get these battery-charged boots.
Get light yet supportive shoes that stand up to the worst boot-chewing terrain–and satisfied our crew of Grand Canyon rangers and guides.
These cushy dayhikers are perfect for hiking with light loads.
This light hiker is practically abrasion resistant thanks to the thick pig suede upper.
This light hiker can carry up to 50 pounds!
A Five Ten shoe that excels at scrambling and smearing.
Bootlike support and traction with trail-runner shock absorption and weight.
What do dads really want? Hint: not more ties or car wash gift certificates. We polled our male staffers to find out what they hope to get (or give) this June 19th.
A low-cut hiker for all your daily adventures.
Hike these long trails in Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Kansas, and Oklahoma, and head south to Texas to see Horned Lizards.
If light and fast is your hiking/trail running motto, these are your kicks.
Two of BACKPACKER's 14 Editors' Choice Award winners fall into this all-purpose hiking boot category.
For big mountain climbs, these are your boots
From fit to grip, this year's shoes do everything better.
Women love this comfortable, stable and affordable boot.
Lightweight book with a lightweight price.
One of the most versatile boots around.
Voted Editors' Choice 2011 as the best all-around boot.
A classic looking boot with above average support and stability.
This boot offers maximum performance and durability.
A great lightweight boot for heavy duty hiking.
The perfect boot for big, unpredictable mountain adventures.
Outfit your mama with the perfect overnight gear.
If the lady on your gift list likes to go hard or go home, we have eight pieces of gear calling her name.
Whether you're shopping for your wife, mom, girlfriend, or BFF we've done the heavy lifting for you with 40 picks that are sure to make her Mother's Day.
All-terrain stability and all-day comfort in this women's only hiking boot.
Incredible traction, light weight, and zero break-in
550-fill down booties that are perfect winter camp shoes.
A leather slipper with a rubber sole–the perfect camp shoe.
Get instant, all-day comfort and superb traction with this ultralight waterproof hiker.
Comfortable low-cut trail runners that offer support and performance.
In this guide, we show you methods for lacing your boots to prevent blisters and maximize comfort.
Boots with solid support and stability without being too heavy or clunky
These trail runners have exceptional shock absorption and a Gore-Tex liner to keep feet dry
Your favorite parks, weekend getaways, peak ascents, campsites, and more in the Southwest.
Don't forget these essentials when you're headed into the cold.
Use these tips to plan perfect winter camping meals.
There are two basic ways of melting water: passive and active.
Site your stove a few steps from your tent, so you can conveniently melt snow or brew drinks. If you're camping in the same spot for several days (and in deep snow), dig out a snow kitchen.
Quick tips for your transportation of choice.
Meet our four cold-weather experts.
Pack this essential kit to handle your unpredictable gear mishaps.
Your tent will withstand anything with these tips.
Don't leave home without these winter camping essentials.
Our pros tell you how to set up a deluxe–yet weatherproof–winter basecamp.
12 secrets for keeping your core (and your gear) warm in the coldest weather
Master the art of layering to keep comfy all winter.
Life's too short to be a three-season hiker. Follow these expert tips on staying warm, picking your route, and cooking savory meals--and add winter's deep solitude and frozen dreamscapes to your adventure calendar.
Warm up with 7 picks for every winter pursuit.
These are the warmest (and lightest) boots you will ever need for winter.
These will keep your feet warm on the coldest of hikes.
Get the most bang for your buck with these affordable all-purpose winter boots.
This all-purpose boot provides great support and warmth.
The most versatile cold-weather boot for backpacking and snowshoeing.
How to avoid an unplanned night hike and what to do if it happens anyway
These zippered gaiters keep out crusty debris.
These gaiters thrive in wet, wet conditions.
Made for ice climbers–perfect for anyone who needs tough, tall gaiters.
Ski socks that protect shins from boot bang.
Multi-season socks with tons of cush.
Bargain socks that are warm and resilient.
Perfect fit and great performance
For casual winter adventures, a warm-and-cozy boot.
Shockingly light, impressively warm, fabulously supportive...need we say more?
Lightweight boots that are comfortable enough to wear on dayhikes, yet burly enough to mount on to a pair of crampons for three-season summit efforts.
On a thru-hike of the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail, two brothers get some perspective - on America's largest alpine lake, and each other.
Explore waterfall-filled Gorges with fossils preserved in the shale walls.
Climb a fourteener for a view across the continental divide.
What makes a backpacker a backpacker? It's not the garage full of gear or piles of guidebooks--it's the experiences, from thru-hiking a long trail to pushing your personal envelope to inspiring a child's love of wilderness. Here we present BACKPACKER's new Life List: 10 experiences to add to your tick-listnow--and the key skills you need to nail them.
See a week's worth of scenery in 24 hours, and redefine your idea of what's possible.
The only thing equal to a life-list trip? An image that brings it back to life.
A lifetime of weekend trips is like trying to live on appetizers. Get real sustenance with a two-week trek through the best of the Sierras on California's John Muir Trail.
Use our guide to make your Wales hiking adventure a reality.
Cross a sprawling preserve of broad mountains, lonely ridgelines, and lush river valleys.
Follow a long-distance trail along the once-violent, now-bucolic border between England and Wales.
The highest peak. The wildest ridges. The largest lake. Find them all in Wales's alpine heart.
Tiptoe along oceanside bluffs with views across the Irish Sea.
What crowds? Lose yourself in the Lamar Valley on this weeklong hike.
The last lonely stretch of the AT beckons from the mountains of western Maine.
Score wildlife sightings daily, choice views hourly--and at least one juicy burger--on this weeklong circuit.
Explore a granite wonderland, cross two little-used passes, and score High Sierra solitude on this point-to-point hike.
Pack an extra memory card for what is, mile-for-mile, the most photogenic hike in the Southwest.
Dive into the heart of the Lower 48's wildest park.
Ever dreamed of exploring another planet? Hike here.
Trek to shoreline campsites through woodlands rife with moose, birds, and wolves.
Walk from lush rainforest to wide-open glacier views on this 43-mile sneak route.
Surprise: This park's busy corridor trails offer a fast track to a private slice of heaven.
Climb from sublime desert to pine forests and peaks with 100-mile views.
Rise above the crowds and earn solo views of elk, wildflowers, and summit sunsets.
The perfect dozen: Embark on one of these 12 treks, and turn America's most iconic preserves into your own private paradise.
Don't be fooled by the cozy pubs and low elevations. The birthplace of mountaineering overflows with challenges, from rugged peaks to history-laden coastal treks.
Discover aspens and alpine hiking, plus views of the Grand Canyon, on this trek up Arizona's 12,633-foot highpoint.
Discover the world's tallest geyser, North America's smallest bird, and the country's best shade tree on these three treks.
Walk 100 or more years back into history--and deep into wilderness outposts now reclaimed by nature--with these routes to three abandoned frontier communities.
walk 10 miles of demise carved in stone.
Visit a Wrecked alpine village.
Hike to a hotel with no visitors.
Four cutting-edge cartographers--from Google's explorer-in-residence to Tom Harrison himself--help us chart the course of the next revolution in wilderness mapping.
Climb to two killer views, see the South's best flowers, and hike to secluded falls. (Click linked trips for GPS waypoints, photos, and more.)
Hike across a state, gain the country's best foliage view, and top alpine balds. (Click linked trips for GPS waypoints, photos, and more.)
Spot a grizzly, basecamp amid Fourteeners, and relax in secluded hot springs. (Click linked trips for GPS waypoints, photos, and more.)
See moose, bag a high-desert peak, and sample a quiet long trail. (Click linked trips for GPS waypoints, photos, and more.)
Hike to the world's best tropical campsite, see elephant seals, and trek through poppies. (Click linked trips for GPS waypoints, photos, and more.)
Tackle our toughest and least-crowded routes in the Grand Canyon with this interactive map.
Our army of reader-reader scouts mapped 59 local hikes from South Carolina to Northern California. See their favorites, then learn how to download tracklogs and waypoints.
See five volcanoes, camp at secluded lakes, and hike through a swarm of butterflies. (Click linked trips for GPS waypoints, photos, and more.)
Bag a peak every day (and a view every step) on the country's highest-elevation footpath.
Devour the world's best scenery, chocolate, and cheese on the Via Alpina.
Learn where solitude reigns--and why. Plus: Tackle the hardest Big Ditch route we've ever published.
How to beat the crowds and find solitude in the Rockies
The top peaks for every type of hiker.
Find your hike on the country's highest footpath.
Turn-by-turn beta for highlights on its best 10 miles.
This epic trip is hard, dry, steep--and gorgeous. The Cranberry Route--the final leg of this challenging loop--is the boldest, hardest scramble our scouts have done in the Grand Canyon. Study the key steps of this eight-mile section and see more details at backpacker.com/hikes/637440
. Warning: Don't attempt this route without advanced navigation skills.
Find solitude and Adventure in the Big Ditch.
Find solitude and adventure in the big ditch.
Find the best trail for your backcountry skills.
Score wildlife sightings daily, choice views hourly--and at least one juicy burger--on this weeklong circuit. Northwest editor Michael Lanza shows you how with a GPS tracklog and Google flyover video..
From Georgia to Oregon, spring blossoms are finally pushing through the winter frost. That means it's time to clear the cobwebs out of the boot soles and bag your first hike of the spring. Here's our exclusive guide to the best spring dayhikes around the country from east, middle, and west.
These five-toes socks squelch blisters.
Squash stinky feet.
Revitalize the soles of your hiking boots and climbing shoes.
Tackle the biggest terrain–under the heaviest loads–in this uncommonly comfortable boot.
Hike far, fast.
Boost your boots' warmth with these insoles.
A stable lightweight trail shoe for trail running or light backpacking trips
Crampons that won't weigh you down
Genuinely breathable winter running shoe, great for long slushy runs.
Insulated backpacking boots with enough support to carry a 50-pound pack.
Ideal for treks on packed snow, this boot is great for wintry day hikes.
Ideal for snowshoeing, or wintry day hikes, this boot keeps your feet dry and warm.
Whether it's snowshoeing, light day hiking, or sloshing through town, this boot does it all.
Sturdy yet light, this boot is great for the most extreme day hikes.
Made for big peaks, this boot is warm, and great for ice and snow
Multiple layers and materials make this boot perfect for the summit.
Want to enjoy more time on the trail? It's simple: Bring the whole family, but make sure the kids stay comfortable with gear built for them.
Solid, mid-weight support, waterproof, and grippy tread make this classic boot your kid's go to for all their hiking needs.
This Gore-Tex hiking boot has only improved since we named it Editors' Choice last year.
Expect heavy-duty performance in this lightweight hiking boot by La Sportiva.
The Outdry treatment and ultralight weight mean this hiking shoe will go wherever you do.
Get a grip—the soles of these boots stick to any surface.
These boots are tough on terrain but nice and comfortable on feet.
Heavy loads and dangerous terrain are no obstacle for these waterproof mountaineering boots.
The North Face packs extreme waterproofing and long distance comfort into this bargain boot.
This boot is the perfect fit from the first lace-up to the top of the tallest, wettest mountain.
For tough hikes with heavy loads and varying terrain, choose this waterproof and super supportive boot.
Brave cold, wet weather with LOWA's sturdy, Gore-Tex winter boot.
Don't let the tough and sturdy exterior fool you—inside this boot is pure, luxurious comfort.
Tackle the soggiest, wettest, and coldest terrain with this solid traction boot.
For all-around performance, check out this ultralight and super comfortable boot.
Submerge these comfortable waterproof boots in snow and your toes will never know the difference.
For extreme waterproofing at a good price, you can't beat these insulated, high cut boots.
Scramble, bushwhack, and ascend with this all-around solid boot.
This updated Editors' Choice winner stays true to its roots—but now it's a lighter and more breathable boot.
You won't find a boot more supportive or breathable with this low of a price tag.
For lightweight versatility, lace up this low-cut and supportive shoe.
Hit the trail with this waterproof and ultralight boot from Teva.
Use and abuse this tough, low-cut, and lightweight boot by Patagonia.
The supportive midsole, tough build, and bargain price of the Teton proves looks can be deceiving.
Run and hike through any terrain thanks to the sticky outsole of this shoe.
This boot combines lightweight, sneaker-like comfort with solid support.
Testers loved everything about this women's specific shoe, especially the arch support and breathability.
These trail runners are the perfect mix of waterproof and breathable.
New ion mask technology is great for breathability in this lightweight midcut boot.
Take a bite out of dirt and snow with the tough soles on this midcut boot.
If you want the perfect pair of trail runners, look no further than the Gel-Trabuco's.
This low-cut, waterproof shoe is a bargain and perfect for dayhikes and light overnights.
The stylish Ahnu Mirage is tough enough for the backcountry or streets.
Hike, paddle, and swim narrow canyons before running class IV rapids on an inflatable boogie board.
Walk, bike, and raft between a string of glaciated peaks; then ladder-climb 2,500 feet up a sheer rock face.
The last time our author took his buddy camping, they stopped speaking for a year. A decade later, they still haven't hit the trail together. Which means there's only one thing to do: Try again.
These dark-sky treks serve up perfect viewing spots for autumn's intergalactic bling in North Carolina, New Mexico, and California
Does your pack smell like last summer's cheddar? Here's how to clean up.
Get maximum support, traction, and protection without wafflestomper weight or break-in. Welcome to the new breed of all-terrain, any-load boots.
The year's best packs, boots, tents, jackets, and sleeping bags. Period. Plus, a never-die headlamp, a life-saving beacon, a back-saving ultralight chair, and more innovative, trail-tested gear.
Dive into the Channels Islands with exclusive on-the-scene video, photos, and trip reports.
We know. You meant to scrub and scour your gear last fall. But...[insert excuse here]. Now, set aside one weekend afternoon to get your gear back into action and promise to be better next year.
The best gear in the world can be worthless in the wrong conditions. That's where Backpacker's Perfect System comes in.
From an ultralight knife to a full-service multitool, prepare for your Survivorman moment. Or lunch.
Save yourself from squinting, and get the most of the view you've worked for with these essential specs.
Half a world away, you'll find exotic highs while hiking in Tasmania.
In the Elwha Valley, tidal rivers collide with towering old-growth forests, creating an outsized multisport playground. You'll need a bike, a kayak, and a boatload of stamina to join Sara Gagnon, an area native and co-owner of Adventures Through Kayaking, on this rollicking tour.
Adventurous types can still find magic in the rivers, lakes, and paths of Detroit.
Packs, tents, boots, and bags--that's easy. Now comes the hard part: Everything else. Below, you'll find our top picks for all the lust-worthy backcountry essentials you'll need to make your trip safe, fun, and simple.
Packs, tents, boots, and bags–that's easy. Now comes the hard part: Everything else. Below, you'll find our top picks for all the lust-worthy backcountry essentials you'll need to make your trip safe, fun, and simple.
You won't go far with sore feet. So our testers went the distance–5,000 miles, to be exact–to bring you the best shoes for every foot and hike.
The secret to a great day outdoors? Start with a great night. Sleep well in all conditions with one of these snooze-tested bags.
You can test-drive a car, but not a tent. So our crew did the shakedown for you, logging 600-plus nights under stars and storms. Here's what we liked.
The Goal: Hit the trail and forget you're even wearing a pack.
The Goal: Hit the trail and forget you're even wearing a pack.
The Goal: Hit the trail and forget you're even wearing a pack.
The Goal: Hit the trail and forget you're even wearing a pack. The Solution: One of these 30 field-tested vanishing acts.
Vibram continues to expand on its successful mission of reaching a younger, broader audience with work for innovators in the trail running field.
By keeping your gear (relatively) free of dirt and grime and storing it properly you can make your gear last forever.
Stay light on your feet with the Lafuma Active Raid GTX XCR, Garmont Eclipse XCR, Merrell Chameleon II XCR, Montrail Mountain Mist XCR, and Vasque Breeze Low XCR.
Go light on your feet with the Adidas Cloudcap XCR and Garmont Nasty.
Get killer ankle and underfoot support in an ultralight hiking boot.
Boots for women that are both sturdy and compact.
Boots that are amazingly stable, delightfully lightweight, and surprisingly waterproof.
Light boots that are good for medium-sized feet.
Breathable low-cut hikers for medium-volume feet.
Keep your feet warm and dry while snowshoeing, camping, and shoveling the driveway with the Columbia Ice Dragon, North Face Ice Storm GTX, and Kamik Patriot.
What to do when your soles come undone.
A hiking boot that provides outstanding protection against rocks, cactus, snow, and rain
Catch the hot spot before it's too late
Enough support and comfort to carry a big load for 56 miles in four days--that is, if you're up to it
Prevent blisters, hike grit-free, and find arch support in a lightweight boot
Introducing a new breed of synthetic boots: fast, nimble, and surprisingly supportive.
Channel your nimble-footed inner child with these grippy, hikeable shoes.
Excellent fit, support, and waterproofing set a high bar for low-priced boots.
These nimble shoes are a steal for hikers with narrow feet.
Don't throw big-ticket boots in the bin when a quick makeover will do the trick.
On hot summer days, these breathable shoes beat the heat.
A cushy sole makes these a good choice for long trail days.
A beginner's guide to after-hours hiking
Be cool in fastpacking's finest footwear
New Zealand is pretty to look at, but harsh on gear--making it just what we needed for our Kiwi challenge.
Pamper your feet with the most supportive footbeds we've tested
Young hikers deserve performance shoes
Slip into the most comfortable all-leather backpacking boot you've worn in years
The Terrastryder-Mid triumphs in the "Best Fit" category for the hard-to-fit group -- just beware of its sogginess factor.
Check out the best lightweight boot for your heavyweight foot.
If you wake up wanting to walk 1,000 miles, go out and purchase a pair of these first.
This scrambler provides everything you need to go anywhere you want: support, grip, comfort, and waterproofing.
If there's a rough and tough masochist in the ultralight category, it's the Cyclone.
Mesh-covered vents take these strong midcuts into the future of fastpacking shoes.
When it was time for Ladies' Choice, they picked the boot that 'just plain fit.'
Despite its name, Garmont's lighter boot provides excellent support, but a bit too much for fastpackers and trail runners.
The Trek brings serious trail mileage capabilities to the original (and winning) Trango S.
Give this boot a little time to really feel broken-in, and it will reward you with years of comfortable hiking.
What kind of scrambler would pass up a shoe with soles described as Spider-Man-like? C'mon!
Don't underestimate the power of this model's plus sign -- the new and improved shoe almost offers too much to use the same name.
How do you know that your gear is crying out for help? Consult our handy list of signs and solutions.
A complete guide to buying gear that will keep you dry--no matter what
You think thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail is a long walk?
Let others wilt in the heat; your feet are air-cooled by these ventilated runners.
One of the lightest shoes in the test scores big with trail runners.
Ventilation and traction are a nice combo, but stability doesn't match the best.
No toes will be lost in these mountaineering boots.
Pillows underfoot might be softer, but they won't last like these cushy shoes.
Even big guys with wide feet will feel agile with these supportive shoes.
Not a speed demon? These traditionalists are great for light hiking.
Ready, set, go. You'll literally run down the trail with these featherweight kicks.
These shoes can handle any terrain.
Become geckolike the minute you slide into these shoes.
Light and supportive all in the same package
Hike on the trail then run on the road with these versatile shoes.
If a short trip is your plan, grab these boots and go.
Want a midweight that can tread in heavyweight terrain?
New technologies make this pair of boots a standout.
Snow-covered trails are no match for this shoe
Given an Editors' Choice Award in 2001, this boot continues to be a great value.
Boreal gives us a boot that provides stability and waterproofing.
The cork-bed of your sandals in a boot.
A favorite among mountaineers
A boot that actually improves your agility
Not the best for long days and heavy loads, but great for fastpacking.
A long lasting, hard working boot
Boots ideal for summer fast-packing
A well valued boot, great of every level of hiking.
You won't find a better all-purpose lightweight boot.
Whether you're on rocks or a grassy trail, you're sure to love these boots.
They're not fancy, but they do the job.
While these shoes aren't for running they are great on the trail or on the town.
A top all-purpose midweight boot
These aren't Elvis' blue suede shoes.
Socks are as important as the footwear we buy. Follow our two-step buyer's guide.
...From The Experts At Montrail
Waterproof boots can make the difference between a sick hike and a miserable slog.
Lengthen your boots' life span by following this simple maintenance plan.
You can experience heavenly hiking even if you lose your boot sole.
Consider these points when deciding if an approach shoe is right for you.
Think blisters are a sure thing when you hike? Think again: Here's your ticket to preventing and treating the dreaded sores.
Albuquerque's backyard wilderness lets hikers perform a disappearing trick.
Rubber boots are essential gear in the tundra.
There are different boots for different types of terrain. Follow these 10 essentials to match sole to trail.
Before you get a new boot, make sure the shoe fits with our sizing chart.
Inventor finds a way to harness all that energy you burn on switchbacks and long trails.
Know what can and can't be repaired on your boots, and who to call.
Insiders' tips to keep your hikers on the trail longer.
Take care of your hiking boots and they'll take care of you.
Log some easy "city" miles in your new hiking boots before that epic trip.
For maximum comfort, keep your feet drier and cooler.
A simple blister remedy gets you back on the trail fast.