SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Navigation



Gear Review: Trimble Outdoors Elite Mapping Software

Get a trip planner, online, and print maps in one bundle from Trimble Outdoors.

Gear Review: Suunto MC-2 Global Compass

Get to your destination quickly and reliably with the Suunto MC-2 Global.

Carry the best maps for your adventures.

New Elite program from map partner Trimble Outdoors serves up best-in-class trip planning tools, exclusive map data, and mobile app extras.

Navigating in the desert

Tips from our experts and readers about traveling in deserts and canyon country

Master Class: Read the Wilderness

Use nature's signs to orient yourself, pick your path through varied terrain, and predict the weather.

Expert Panel: Instant Upgrades



Winter Survival Guide: Navigate

Especially in winter, getting there is half the battle. Find your way through the white with these tips.

Gear Review: Smartphone and Tablet Apps for Map Lovers

Three apps for map lovers of all tech denominations.

Gear Review: Magellan eXplorist 310 North America GPS

A perfect starter GPS unit, with a great price and minimal drawbacks.

Gear Review: Magellan Switch Series GPS

This GPS is perfect, however you get from A to B.

Gear Review: Suunto Ambit Watch

The sleekest, best GPS watch yet.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2012: Navigation

Never get lost with these navigation tools.

Year of the Reader: Win a Gear or Skills Makeover!

We're matching your needs with our expertise and making over six lucky readers with new skills and gear to get more out of their trail time.

How to Find North

Learn how to orient yourself for when it really counts.

Expert Panel: Instant Upgrades

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

Apps and Maps

From GPS data to navigation apps and printed maps, we have you covered and can get you ready for your next adventure.

Navigation Webinar: FOR TESTING



Expert Panel: Instant Upgrades



Manually Adjust Declination

Change declination to navigate more accurately over long distances.

Master Class: Find Yourself on a Map

The best way to avoid getting lost? Always know your location. Study up on these key techniques for identifying terrain features, translating GPS data to a map, and triangulating your position.

Navigate in Low Visibility

Leapfrogging, following benchmarks, and more.

Navigation Webinar: Go Farther with Maps and GPS

In this beginner friendly course, BACKPACKER Map Editor Andrew Matranga teaches the essentials of map reading, GPS, and compass, plus how to use today's best digital mapping tools to plan trips, to navigate in the field and to share adventures once you get home.

Gear Guide 2012: Brunton O.S.S. 10B Compass

Simple, yet reliable, this compass is great for spot checks and map consults.

Gear Guide 2012: MyTopo/BACKPACKER Pro Maps

Get customized maps that give you turn-by-turn directions and campsite information all in one, easy to use and waterproof map.

Gear Guide 2012: Pocket Profile Maps

Waterproof maps pack in all the information you need for AT and JMT thru-hikers.

BACKPACKER GPS Trails PRO Trips

We've taken the best trips on backpacker.com and made them even better. Check out updated, interactive PRO trips and PRO bundles on GPS Trails. Use your Android or iPhone to discover these premium guides, or map your own adventures and share them with your friends.

BACKPACKER PRO Maps: Custom maps for your adventures

We've teamed up with map partner myTopo to create custom, pre-planned adventures printed on waterproof topo paper. No need to buy and carry multiple maps. Bonus: PRO Maps sync with your handheld GPS, your smartphone, or your tablet for a complete in-field mapping experience. Our archive is over 100 maps strong and growing.

Backpacker Bible: Find Your Way

Join a long line of enlightened travelers who have navigated the wilderness–and discover a whole new world that lies beyond well-marked trails and guided trips.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook: Drop into a Slot

Explore wildly sculpted rock.

Adventure Upgrade: Navigate Off Trail

Open up a new door to adventure–by leaving the well-trod route behind.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook: Discover the World Off-Trail

Be a real explorer by going where others don't.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook

Tired of the same old weekend loops? Looking to create memories your grandkids will talk about? In this how-and-where guide, we serve up 15 extraordinary escapes that will shatter your expectations of "normal." From adventure moviemaking to canyoneering, we'll take you places you've never been—but will long to visit again soon.

Case Study: Lost in the Gila Wilderness

Name: Ross Mason, 44
Predicament: Off-course and severely dehydrated
Location: Gila Wilderness, New Mexico; November 2010

Rip & Live: Lost

More than 1,000 hikers go missing every year in our national parks alone. Most are found within hours, but basic skills can help you get home without making a serious—or even fatal—mistake. Follow this advice for staying on course.

Select a Safe Route: Watch the Weather

All conditions affect avy potential. Check forecasts and assess risk.

Survival: Don't Always Trust a Topo Map

Look around, not just at your map.

BACKPACKER Map Maker iPad app

Plan hikes and backpacking trips, plus other outdoor adventures like never before on detailed, interactive topo maps and aerial photos.

Rip & Live: Survive Desert Extremes

Triple-digit temps by noon. Freezing at night. Scarce water. The desert is as dangerous for unprepared hikers. Give yourself an edge and learn to survive this hostile territory while backpacking.

Navigation Center: Videos

Learn the basics of using GPS devices and watch amazing Google 3D flyovers in our special navigation focused video center.

Navigation Center

Learn how to make custom maps, navigate any terrain, and the ins-and-outs of GPS devices and mobile apps in our comprehensive navigation center.

Prof. Hike: The First Five Minutes

When you're lost, your initial decisions will make the difference.

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.

Tough Guy Challenge Week 4

We're down to the last two weeks of our five-week Tough Guy Challenge. Are you still hanging in there?

Tough Guy Challenge Week 3

Week three of our five-week challenge will have you navigating obstacles and increasing mileage.

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: XC navigation skills

Learn everything you need to know to get from point a. to point b.

Gear Review: Sky Tonight Star Charts

Chart your campsite's night sky with customizable maps.

Sign Up For the Go Farther with Maps and GPS Webinar

Master essential navigation skills and turn into an interactive backcountry explorer.

The Wrong Way: Top 52 Hiker Mistakes

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

BACKPACKER MAGAZINE APPS

From the iPad to the iPhone and Android, check out these BACKPACKER mobile apps.

Gear Review: Silva Guide Series 426 Compass

A basic sighting compass that is lightweight, durable, and unsinkable.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2010: Navigation Devices

Stay on track with the best GPS units. Plus, awesome navigation apps.

3 Top Navigation Apps

Stay on track with these three navigation and hiking apps.

Four All-Star iPad Apps for Camping

Is the iPad coming to a campsite near you? It saves its weight in maps, guidebooks, novels, songs, and more. Here are four top apps for hikers.

Gear Review: Magellan eXplorist GC

Geocaching just got easier with this palm-size GPS unit.

Gear Review: Garmin GPSMAP 62st

The pinpoint accuracy of this GPS system will keep you on track even in the most narrow valleys.

Survival: Off-Course With No Map or Compass

Uh-oh, you forgot to download free maps at Backpacker.com, and now you're lost in the woods without any navigational tools. Smart! Now follow these rules to get found.

The Manual: Travel Off-Trail

Navigate across scree, snow, and rivers without getting blocked or lost.

The Future of Maps

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.

Start Mapping: Tools To Help You Map Your World

5 ways to embark on your own cartographic adventure

Navigate: Whiteout, Darkness, and Fog

Just because you can't see in front of you doesn't mean you can't navigate.

Navigate: Forests and Mountains

Skirt forests and mountains with ease with these tips and gear.

Navigation: Canyons and Deserts

Learn how to stay on track and find water safely in the desert and canyons.

Navigation: Lakes and Oceans

Triangulate, forge through wind, and learn the tides with these water-bound navigation tips.

Navigation: Exploring Off-Trail

When your route takes you off-trail you can still be on course with these navigation tips.

How to Navigate Any Condition, Terrain

Field-proven skills for wild weather and terrain.

Toughest Gear: Trails Illustrated Maps

These waterproof maps are unruffled by rain, sleet, and snow.

Backpacker GPS Trails App for iPhone

Want to map and share your own adventures with the click of a button? Looking for instant access to thousands of GPS-enabled hikes? Look no further than GPS Trails. Just download the app and turn your phone into the ultimate navigation device and portable trip database.

Backpacker GPS Trails for Android

Want to map and share your own adventures with the click of a button? Looking for instant access to thousands of GPS-enabled hikes? Look no further than GPS Trails. Just download the app and turn your phone into the ultimate navigation device and portable trip database.

Gear Review: Lowrance Endura Sierra

A fully-featured GPS

Gear Review: Garmin Dakota 20

A bargain GPS

Winter Camping: Navigation

Learn to figure out where you are (even in a whiteout) and prevent, or stop, a snowy fall.

Plot an Off-Trail Route

Try these 10 tips for cross-country travel.

Gear Review: 20Sub3 Rugged Maps Lite

No more plastic bags or map cases, these waterproof, and tear-resistant topos will last a lifetime.

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.

Editors' Choice 2009: Garmin Oregon 400t GPS

Meet the ultimate GPS: simple enough for beginners, wonky enough for experts, powerful enough for all.

Where is the Spookiest Place to Hike?



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.

Next Level: Navigate Cross Country

3 key skills for getting off the trail without getting off course

I Climbed Los Angeles

One small step for our stair-obsessed man, one giant leap for fitness freaks everywhere.

Big Trips Made Easy: Hayduke Trail, UT

Finding total Southwest solitude

Big Trips Made Easy: Glacier Peak Wilderness, WA

Exploring a high, wild corner of the North Cascades

Big Trips Made Easy: Allagash Wilderness Waterway, ME

Floating a liquid maze in the Northeast's lake-riddled forests

Big Trips Made Easy: High Sierra, CA

Rambling a granite redoubt

Hike It: 4 Big Trips Made Easy

Ready to dial up the adventure meter? Try out your digital skills–and go places most people can't–on these life-list journeys.

Share and Share Alike?: Top Five Photo Sharing Sites

Your adventure is ready for primetime. Here are 19 ways to reach the audience in your living room–or around the world. Web-based photo sites aren't all created equal. Here are our top 5.

Photos 101: Save and Share Your Photos, Produce a Slideshow, and Print Your Images

Learn how to save your photos, print them, get published, and produce an audio visual slideshow.

Post Your Video Online

Learn how to upload your video to YouTube and tap a social network like Facebook or MySpace to post links to your movie. Your adventure is ready for primetime. Here are 19 ways to reach the audience in your living room–or around the world.

Share Your Trip; Make and Show Off Your Map

Your adventure is ready for primetime. Here are 19 ways to reach the audience in your living room–or around the world.

Share It: All the World's a (Cyber) Stage

Your adventure is ready for primetime. Here are 19 ways to reach the audience in your living room--or around the world.

Danger Signs: Painful Plants

Sure, you know the mantra "leaves of three, let it be." But that warning alone doesn't help you detect those irritating plants that change colors, grow as vines, or mimic harmless species. Heed these tips to keep your summer itch-free.

The Cutting Room: Editing Programs and Storage

Here's how to turn raw data into finished files that will wow your friends and preserve trip memories better than any photo album.

The Cutting Room: Video

Here's how to turn raw data into finished files that will wow your friends and preserve trip memories better than any photo album.

The Cutting Room: Photos

Here's how to turn raw data into finished files that will wow your friends and preserve trip memories better than any photo album.

The Cutting Room: GPS

Here's how to turn raw data into finished files that will wow your friends and preserve trip memories better than any photo album.

Organize It: The Cutting Room

Here's how to turn raw data into finished files that will wow your friends and preserve trip memories better than any photo album.

Field School: Trail-Tested Tech

Take your new tools to the trail to master the skills you'll need to navigate, record, and share your best adventures. The best new digital tools for every budget and skill level.

Field School: Essential Tips

Take your new tools to the trail to master the skills you'll need to navigate, record, and share your best adventures.

Field School: Make a Movie

Take your new tools to the trail to master the skills you'll need to navigate, record, and share your best adventures.

Field School: Capture Classic Images and Record Your Hike

Take your new tools to the trail to master the skills you'll need to navigate, record, and share your best adventures.

Document It: Field School

Take your new tools to the trail to master the skills you'll need to navigate, record, and share your best adventures.

4 Trip-Planning Sites and Top Tech Tools

Every great trip boils down to this: Picking an ideal location, capturing memorable moments, and bragging about it.

New Tools, New Rules: Get Maps and Go

Every great trip boils down to this: Picking an ideal location, capturing memorable moments, and bragging about it.

New Tools, New Rules: Plan the Perfect Trip

Every great trip boils down to this: Picking an ideal location, capturing memorable moments, and bragging about it. Here's how to get started the high-tech way.

Plan It: New Tools, New Rules

Every great trip boils down to this: Picking an ideal location, capturing memorable moments, and bragging about it.

iHike: Hiking in the Digital Age

A Complete Guide to the Digital Revolution–and How to Join It

The CDT Project

We sent 209 readers out to GPS the Continental Divide Trail, the biggest, baddest long-distance path of them all. They brought back the makings of the first authoritative map of this American classic. These are their stories–and their favorite sections.

Danger Signs: Burn Zones

Here are the top three wildfire dangers and how to avoid them.

Does Geocaching Violate Leave No Trace?

Are these hidden containers harmless, or do they flout low-impact ethics?

Danger Signs: Trail Confusion

Don't want to get lost? Heed this advice on four trail situations that routinely cause problems.

Make Your Own Hikes

Invent your own hike, and go where no one (well, almost no one) has gone before.

March 2008 Essentials Review: Navigation



Reading Topo Maps: Understanding Map Symbols and Colors

Dotted, dashed, and curvy. Red, blue, and brown. All these colors and styles criss-cross a topo map. Learn what they mean.

Learn How to Stay On Course

By understanding your terrain, knowing your pace, and reading the map regularly you can stay on course wherever you are.

Navigation 101: Understanding Your Compass

If you don't know what triangulation is, read this article.

Reading Topo Maps: Understanding Contour Lines

Topo maps just look like a children's drawing if you don't know what contour lines are.

How to Protect Your Map From the Elements

While you're cozy in your waterproof jacket, your map has to face the rain, or snow, or mud, alone. Learn how to protect this precious piece of paper.

How to Align Your Compass

Learn how to orient your map with a few basic compass skills

How to Choose a Campsite

A NOLS veteran offers tips on balancing comfort, safety, and Leave No Trace principles.

GPS 201: Using Advanced Navigational Tools

Don't be daunted by a thick owner's manual. Unlocking your unit's advanced navigational tools is easier than you think.

How to See In the Dark

Expert tips for improving your night vision

GPS Review: Garmin Foretrex 101

A favorite unit for beginners

GPS Review: Brunton Atlas MNS

If cost is no object, this unit is like having an interactive topo map at your fingertips.

GPS Review: Motorola i560 GPS Cell Phone

This rugged unit will let you call home from the trail

GPS Review: Garmin eTrex Legend C

A reliable and moderately priced unit with high-end capabilities

GPS Review: Garmin Rino 520

You'll never lose your partner if you're each carrying a Rino.

GPS Review: TomTom GO 300

Just throw this unit in the car and go

GPS Review: TomTom GO 300

Don't fight over where the trailhead starts. Get this handy gadget and you'll find it every time.

Essential National Park Skills: The Ultimate Park Pass

Write your own ticket to new adventures with these 10 territory-expanding skills.

Next Level: Off-Trail Navigation

Use a map, compass, and GPS unit to plot an ambitious route with this beginner's guide to bushwhacking

GPS Review: Garmin Foretrex 101

Get started--or get simple--with the best GPS deal

Offshore GPS: How to Navigate in the Water

New tools for water navigation: Strap one to your thwart, and you'll never paddle in circles again.

A Cure For Latitude And Longitude: Using UTM Coordinates

Learn this mapping technique for better off-trail travel.

GPS Basics

What's GPS, how does it work, and will it help you?

GPS Fast Fixes

Don't let your GPS unit stump you. Try one of these suggestions to get your unit trail ready.

Night Vision

Bats have nothing on this nocturnal hiker.

South Is Thata Way

Determine direction without your compass.

Being Caribou: The Route

How do you plan a route following 123,000 migrating caribou across Canada and Alaska? Try to keep up.

Mountain Miles

Calculate real mileage by accounting for slope in the mountains, and you'll avoid getting into camp after dark.

Understanding GPS

Using your GPS is easier than you think.

GPS For Average Joes

The latest GPS receivers take the mystery out of high-tech route finding. We powered up four models to find the best for backpackers.

How To Speak GPS

Common GPS terms you should know.

Different Strokes: Paddling Techniques For Hikers

For a different wilderness experience, try floating down the river in a kayak or canoe.

Navigating From Lost To Found

How one perpetually disoriented hiker found her bearings, thanks to some backwoods navigation pros.

Planning Your Route

Use these navigational tricks, gleaned from champion orienteers and U.S. Army's Special Forces, to stay on track.

Compass Tips: Bearing It All

Just to be safe, keep that compass handy.

Route-Finding Tips: Stay On Course

Follow these six route-finding tips, and stay found.

Bushwacking: Pole Position

Stow your trekking poles to get an advantage when bushwacking a trail.

Bushwacking: It's A Jungle Out There

From North Carolina to Alaska, bushwhacking is easier with the proper preparation and attitude.

Safe Trekking After Wildfires

Follow these tips when hiking in burned country.

Bushwhacking: Go Up The Creek

Trouble crossing the trail? Try the creek.

Bushwacking: Get High, Stay High

When bushwacking a trail, go high altitude and stay there.

Hiking Utah's Hayduke Trail

You won't find Utah's 725-mile rogue route on any map. But thanks to two passionate Utah hikers, you'll soon be able to search it out with your boots.

Tundra Trekking Tips

Just because it's flat and treeless doesn't mean it's easy hiking.

Hiking Dreams Really Do Come True

Easily said and done, when you have a constant reminder at bedtime.

Finding Blazed Trail Markers

Here's a quick tip for finding blazed trails.

Improve Your Sense Of Direction

Scientists now believe that the navigationally challenged can retrain their brains.

Breaking Trail: Snow Going

When the white stuff piles up, work together to break a trail.

Game Trails: Nature's Trail Crews

Follow four-legged trail blazers down paths you'll never find on a map.

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook