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Weather



Editors' Choice Snow Award 2013: Mammut Alpine Rider Helmet

A helmet to handle both warm and cold weather conditions.

2013 Reader Photo Contest - Your Best Shots

For 40 years, BACKPACKER readers have explored the wilderness and returned with photographic gold. But we were wowed by the entries for this contest—more than 650 of them. Check out these finalists (and this year's winner), then go to backpacker.com/photos to submit your own images. We’ll showcase the best entries in upcoming issues.

The Survival Issue: Weather

From hypothermia to heatstroke, the elements kill in myriad ways. Protect yourself with 34 tips on wind, rain, snow, and more.

Weather Anecdotes: Explained

Mnemonics make it easy to remember weather sayings and make weather predictions, but is there any truth behind the prediction rhymes?

Survival: Lightning Myths: Busted

Knowing fact from fiction can help you avoid—and survive—a 54,000℉ strike.

Survive Coastal Dangers

Waves, currents, and tides threaten thousands of miles of American trails (any within a quarter of a mile of a waterway), and hikers can get caught in the barrage. Headland-sculpting, beach-pounding waves can swallow an unwary trekker without so much as a burp. Learn how to recognize, negotiate, and avoid nearshore hazards

True Tales: Struck by Lightning

Bad decisions and running scared got this reader struck by lightning--but he survived.

True Tales: Caught in a Flash Flood

Rising water sends this reader running--and hiding--in Utah.

Select a Safe Route: Study the Snowpack

Hidden layers are the key to stable—or slide-ready—slopes.

Select a Safe Route: Watch the Weather

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

Survival: Predict a Flash Flood

Stay alert in canyon country.

Survival: Lightning Attire

What not to wear in a lightning storm.

How to Use Online Weather Resources

Conditions mean everything when planning your weekend adventure. Check out our Rocky Mountain Editor's favorite weather sites.

Gear Review: Acu-Rite Wireless Weather Station and Weather Station Forecaster

Rainshell or fleece? Know at a glance with this wireless weather station.

Winter Camping Skills: Bring the Right Cooking Gear

Don't forget these essentials when you're headed into the cold.

Winter Camping Skills: Plan Your Menu

Use these tips to plan perfect winter camping meals.

Winter Camping Skills: Melt Water

There are two basic ways of melting water: passive and active.

Winter Camping Skills: Build a Camp Kitchen

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.

Winter Hiking: Master Winter Travel

Quick tips for your transportation of choice.

Blizzard Wizards: Cold Weather Hiking Experts

Meet our four cold-weather experts.

Winter Hiking Repair Kit

Pack this essential kit to handle your unpredictable gear mishaps.

7 Steps to a Bombproof Tent

Your tent will withstand anything with these tips.

4 Key Winter Camp Accessories

Don't leave home without these winter camping essentials.

Build a Winter Basecamp: Beat the Deep Freeze

Our pros tell you how to set up a deluxe–yet weatherproof–winter basecamp.

Cold Weather Camping: Sleep Better Than a Hibernating Bear

12 secrets for keeping your core (and your gear) warm in the coldest weather

Layering For Cold Weather: Dress to the Nine-Belows

Master the art of layering to keep comfy all winter.

Winter Hiking: The Cure for the (Un)Common Cold

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.

The Manual: Forecast the Weather

Can crickets tell you the temperature and a cup of coffee forecast storms? Here's how to become a backcountry meteorologist.

How to Predict the Weather

Learn to identify three families of clouds and you'll be able to forecast rain, sun, and deadly storms.

Cloud Quiz

Test your knowledge of cloud types, and how you can use them to predict the weather.

Stay Comfortable in Any Weather: Cold

Staying warm is easier than getting warm: Plan ahead.

Stay Comfortable in Any Weather: Heat

Think like a desert dweller to stay cool and comfortable.

Stay Comfortable in Any Weather: Rain

In the wettest conditions, learn to create and maintain a personal bubble of dry space.

Stay Comfortable in Any Weather: Wind

Read the terrain and use anchors to stay grounded.

Stay Comfortable in Any Weather

Sunny and 70 is nice, but makes for a mighty short hiking season. Hit the trail all year long by learning how to thrive–not just survive–in wet, cold, hot, and windy conditions. Here are 115 guide-approved tips.

Obama's Wilderness Point Man: Interview with Ken Salazar

Parks czar Ken Salazar talks trails, nixes ANWR drilling, and defends his boss's controversial guns-in-parks decision.

Wilderness Wonders: Driest Desert

If your going to Chile's Atacama Desert, don't forget the sunscreen.

Mount Rainier: Thunder on the Mountain

Two years after hurricane-force winds and rain ravaged hundreds of miles of trail in Mt. Rainier National Park, the true damage is finally becoming clear. And what it's telling scientists is alarming: Bigger, more frequent–and more destructive–storms may be coming.

How to Avoid Avalanches

Hike safely in avalanche terrain

Survive This: Frostbitten Feet

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

Danger Signs - Winter Sun

UV rays are still harmful even when the temperature drops. We'll show you how to protect yourself against the sun, even when it's cold.

Freeplay FreeCharge 12V



Eton Microlink FR150 Weather Radio

Solar panels and hand crank keep Eton Microlink FR150 weather radio going and going.

Diagnosis of Disaster

Experts dissect the missteps in five recent hiking tragedies

America's 10 Most Dangerous Hikes - Muir Snowfield, Mt. Rainier, WA

Where winter strikes year-round

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

It'll blow you away

America's 10 Most Dangerous Hikes - Barr Trail, Pikes Peak, CO

A hair-raising hike

Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon - America's Most Dangerous Hikes

Baked or broiled?

The Danger Scale

How we rate risk, using a highly scientific formula

Lost in the Olympics

A gym teacher's speed hike becomes a five-day bushwhack in Olympic National Park.

Caught in a Colorado Snowstorm

An autumn climb turns life-threatening when a hiker endures a night in a whiteout at 12,000 feet in the Rockies.

Natural Born Killers: Top Backcountry Dangers

Which is the bigger backcountry threat, grizzlies or flash floods? Find out what should scare you–and how to survive it–with BACKPACKER's Terror Index.

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

Survive This: You're Wet & Cold

Here's how to avoid hypothermia.

Danger Signs: Flash Flood

July to mid-September is prime time for heavy rains in the Southwest, where fast-rising water in narrow canyons can turn trickling streams into deadly torrents. Don't get swept away.



Road Warriors: Hikers Versus ATVs

Hikers and ATV riders hit the ground in a new battle over trail access.

The Ultimate "Survive This!" Archive

If you can imagine it, we've seen it-and offered expert analysis. From avalanches to volcanoes, this archive contains step-by-step plans for escaping a slew of mishaps that can befall weary travelers.

Phenomenon: Microbursts

These vertical hurricanes are rare–but deadly.

Zero Impact Challenge

Is it possible to build a backpack that doesn't contribute to global warming? Not yet, but five pioneering companies gave it one helluva try. (Cue standing ovation.)

Species We Can Kiss Goodbye

These dozen creatures are threatened by global warming.

The Brown Death: Pine Beetles vs. Forests

Pine beetles are felling more trees than wildfires and the timber industry combined.

Phenomenon: Valles Caldera

Hike into the epicenter of a cataclysmic explosion in New Mexico's Valles Caldera

What Will Alaska's Future Look Like?

Alaska is the last frontier, but energy development and climate change promise to change the face of our wildest state in your lifetime. Here's how.

Backpacker's Carbon-Neutral Project

Last fall, we showed you the many ways that climate change is altering the wild places we love. Now, a look at what BACKPACKER is doing to reduce the magazine's impact.

Phenomenon: The Life Cycle of Wildfires

Global warming creates conditions that invite larger and more frequent forest fires. Here's how.

Phenomenon: Snowmelt

Rising alpine temperatures and polluted snow are threatening snowpack–and the water it generates.

I, Citizen Scientist

Learn how you can help combat climate change by researching everything from Alaska's Bering Glacier to tracking pumas in Argentina through citizen scientist programs

Why Glacier National Park is Melting

Global warming is drying up Glacier National Park's rivers of ice. Learn how scientists are trying to prevent the Glacier demise from happening at other outdoor attractions.

Stay Warm On the Trail and In Camp

On the trail and in camp, beat the cold with these tips.

How to Waterproof Everything

From your tent, to your bivy sack, to yourself, learn how to stay dry and comfortable.

How to Survive A Night Without Gear

When a day hike turns into an overnight, learn how to take care of yourself.

How Climate Change is Affecting Our Alpine Environments

Thanks to melting ice and snow, climate change is effecting the future of our mountains

Green Guide Exclusive Online Materials

Information on 19 more "green" companies and an interview with Big Agnes's Bill Gamber

How to Survive Winter Storms

New Hampshire's Mt. Washington is know for its evil weather. Learn how to survive a winter storm from one of the peak's experts.

How to Avoid Sudden Thaws

Warming temps can wreak havoc on snow-packed adventures. Learn the conditions and warning signs that can cause a dangerous, sudden thaw.

Phenomenon: What are Sky Islands?

To see how animals stay cool in a hot climate, just look up.

Danger Signs: How to Detect a Winter Storm

Learning to determine winter weather signs depends on where you are.

How to Survive Getting Lost In a Whiteout

Don't forge ahead when faced with whiteout conditions.

Preserving Ancient Artifacts

Looking to get more than scenic views out of your hikes? The U.S. Forest Service's Passport in Time program turns trekkers into weekend archaeologists.

Phenomenon: Battle Quicksand With Quick Thinking

Quicksand isn't just in old Westerns, it's also a real backcountry hazard. Learn how to save your life when faced with the slippery stuff.

Cut Your Carbon in Half

A hiker's guide to fighting climate change

Happy Go Wet: Backpacker's Rain Quiz

Can you handle a rainy outing? Take our fun quiz to see how you'd fare under a sky of liquid sunshine.

Devil's Thumb: It Can't Be Climbed

Will anyone ever climb the dangerous northwest face of Alaska's Devil's Thumb? Maybe they shouldn't.

Burn, Baby, Burn

3 surefire ways to light a reluctant fire

How Pete Stays Dry

3 waterproof secrets from veteran mountaineer Pete Takeda

Cold Sleepers vs. Hot Sleepers

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

Alaska, Colville River

Visit this remote section of the Arctic before climate change alters it forever

Utah, Glen Canyon

Receding water levels mean more miles of choice desert hiking and kayaking.

Oregon, Silver Falls State Park

The beauty of this hike comes alive with the rain.

The Global Warming Tour 2003

The ultimate guide to greenhouse adventure, featuring 8 surprising new trips, acres of virgin terrain, and a peek at the future of North American wilderness.

Colorado: West Elk Range

Spring comes earlier to this mountain paradise.

California; Death Valley National Park

Camping in Death Valley might give you the hottest day of your life.

Alaska, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

Paddle blue inlets too new for any topo.

Stay Warm In Winter

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

Avalanches: The Big Slide

Watching snow fall is a backcountry joy--unless it's barreling 80 mph down a mountain and you're in its path.

Blazing Trails: Avoid Wildfires

Here's a handy tip to avoid wildfires in the backcountry.

Winter Camping Tips: The Perfect Tent Pitch

How and where you should set up your winter tent for maximum comfort and shelter longevity.

Lightning Survival Update

If you're caught in a lightning storm on the trail, head for the hills.

Safe Trekking After Wildfires

Follow these tips when hiking in burned country.

Firewalking: A Forest Fire's Aftermath

In an ancient cycle older than man, the fires that torched the West in summer 2000 are causing a dramatic and stunning rebirth of the once-charred landscape.

Hiking Through Lessons Of Fire

Years and even decades after a forest fire, the healed land tells amazing tales about the benefits of flame.

Hot Hikes After A Wildfire

Seven places where you can walk through a whole new landscape, plus opportunities to help rebuild charred trails.

Hike Higher In Colorado's Collegiate Peaks

Hike into the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness and you'll enjoy Colorado's best summer school.

Backpacking Colorado's Elk Mountains

When it pours, good rain gear and a great sense of humor help you find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Too Cold For Comfort

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

Wind Chill Bites

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

Lightning Tips

Where not to be during lightning.

A Hair-Raising Experience

Why two commonly held lightning-safety beliefs could get you fried, plus expert advice.

Only You Can Avoid Forest Fires

Here's what to do if you're caught near a wilderness wildfire.

Let Your Fingers Tell Time

Telling time without a watch is just a few digits away.

Birth Of The Northern Lights

Where does the aurora borealis come from?

Northern Lights Viewer's Guide

Follow these tips to make the most out of the northern night skies.

Stargazing In New Mexico's White Sands

The lunarlike landscape and dark skies of this preserve make White Sands one of the best places for star watching.

Tennessee: Ice As Art

In winter, the glasslike menagerie of icicles in the Cumberland Plateau will send a chill down your spine.

Virginia's Crest Zone: Basking In Moonshine

Pine Mountain and Wilson Ridge command high-country vistas stretching across rock-strewn meadows.

Wilderness Wind: Blown Away

The wind can save you from bugs or drive you mad. Here's how to enjoy the benefits and avoid the downside of a good stiff breeze.

Decoding Snow Flakes

Learn what the white stuff means.

Hike All Year

Okay, so the weather stinks and so does the hiking. Change both by heading down the road to where the sun shines and the trail beckons.

Northern Lights: The Sky Will Dance

Like shimmering rainbows in the night, the northern lights electrify the sky with color.

Preserving Hiking Trails: Acting Selflessly

What have you done lately for the trails and backcountry you use? Join a Volunteer Vacation and save the trails you love.

Make Your Own Shade

When it's hot outside, keep cool with this sunscreen for your head.

Hypothermia 101

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

Paul Schurke: Chillin' With The Iceman

Your odds of surviving, much less enjoying, a -30°F night in the woods rate right up there with a snowball's chance in you-know-where. That is, unless you make friends with a guy they call The Iceman.

'Seams' Dry: Weatherproof Your Tent

Learn how to weatherproof your tent -- before it rains.

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