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Adventure Travel Skills

See more wildlife, climb more peaks, and hike more miles with these tips that'll help every adventure traveling backpacker raise their game.

Wildlive Lover Skills

See more wildlife--and capture it better on film.

Backcountry Chocolate Recipes

Need to kill your chocolate craving? Use these recipes to get your chocolate fix in the backcountry.

Master Class: Take Better Night-Sky Photos

You’ve found the ideal starry sky. Now, shoot the sparkling display—without investing in a new camera. Use these composition and setting tips from award-winning photographer Ben Canales.

The Manual: Rough Road Driving

Don’t get stuck in the mud. Learn to evaluate road hazards, overcome obstacles, and navigate the unpaved passages between your front door and your next adventure.

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.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook: Catch a Golden Trout

Cast for beautiful fish that live in beautiful lakes.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook: Climb to Heart-Pumping Heights

Scramble a class 3 route and claim your own private peak.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook: Ride a Whitewater Roller Coaster

Inflatable kayaks make big-water action accessible to all.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook: Make an Adventure Movie

Create a story-driven video that engages you on the trail and offers a fresh perspective on trip memories.

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.

Escape Plan: Use Bear Spray Safely

How to use bear spray.

Escape Plan: Cross Summer Snow

How to safely traverse a small, seasonal snowfield.

True Tales: Flipped, Soaked, and Freezing

Two readers shiver for their lives through a cold, Alaskan summer night.

True Tales: Uncontrolled Slide Down an Icy Slope

A summer snow slope gives this reader the scare of his life.

Maintain Ski Gear: Patch Ski Poles and Ski Boots

Donít let a split ski pole shaft or broken boots ruin your balance.

Maintain Ski Gear: Keep Climbing Skins Sticky

Good grip is the key to fast and easy climbing.

Maintain Ski Gear: Back Up Your Bindings

Be proactive about preparing your ski-systemís hub.

Ski Strong: Kick Turn Like a Pro

Perfect this move for on-a-dime turns in steep, rugged terrain.

Ski Strong: Descend with Control

Stay safe with these six ski-down tips.

Ski Strong: Adjust Your Ski Poles

Use telescoping shafts for stability on any angle.

Ski Strong: Ski Any Snow Conditions

Change your technique and style to manage any snow conditions.

Ski Strong: Going Up

Master the art of backcountry climbing and skinning.

Select a Safe Route: Avalanche Terrain Travel

Recognize these avalanche-risk signs and learn how to choose routes that avoid them.

Prep Your Gear: Fit Ski Boots Perfectly

Get more comfort going up and more power and control going down.

Tips from Pro Skiers

Four ski pros share advice for looking good--and staying safe--in the backcountry.

Maintain and Repair Your Ski Gear

A broken binding or a skin that wonít stick could mean a night spent out in a snow cave, or worse. Have your kit tuned up before you go, but make sure you know how to fix common problems in a pinch.

Ski Strong and Smart

You donít need pro-level skills to ski off-piste, but honing your kick-turn technique and avoiding rookie mistakes will ease your transition to backcountry terrain. Hereís how to master the ups and downs when lifts and groomers are miles away. Plus: Prevent blisters, stay energized, and negotiate steeps.

Select a Safe Ski Route

Caused by variable weather, unstable snowpack, and steep terrain, backcountry avalanches claim an average of 25 lives a year in the United States. Your first safety step: Brush up on the basics below. Next, take a course accredited by the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education

Prep Your Backcountry Ski Gear

On any wilderness trip, smart preparation is key. But itís even more important when youíre backcountry skiing, due to the technical gear, low temperatures, potential for severe weather, avalanche risk, and tricky routefinding. Hereís how to start smartóbefore you leave home.

Backcountry Skiing 101

Start earning your turns–safely–with this primer on equipment, route planning, reading conditions, and more.

Survival: Choose Your Partner Wisely

Pick a good partner--or you may get burned.

Survival: Find Water in the Desert

Dangerously thirsty in the desert?

Survival: Find Water in the Desert

Dangerously thirsty in the desert?

Survival: Sea Kayak Flip

Do a T-rescue for a flipped sea kayak.

Survival: Unexpected Accidents

Hard-won-lessons and tips about unexpected dangers from the front lines of survival.

Survival: Save Yourself in Whitewater

Hard-won-lessons and tips about whitewater kayaking from the front lines of survival.

Survival: Save Yourself in Whitewater

Hard-won-lessons and tips about whitewater kayaking from the front lines of survival.

Survival: If I Only Knew Then...

On the path to good judgment, youíll find the wreckage from a whole lot of bad decisions. Your plan: Learn from othersí mistakes, and wise up to outdoor hazards without risking your life. Your guide: Veteran adventurer Mark Jenkins. Plus: Guides and rangers share hard-won lessons they wish someone would have told them.

Skills: Mind Over Mountain

New research offers mental tricks for conquering steep slopes.

Skills: Mind Over Mountain

New research offers mental tricks for conquering steep slopes.

The Manual: Backcountry Fly-Fishing

Find fish-jumping action, spot streamside sanctuaries, and--if you're allowed to keep your catch--pull divine meals from pristine waters.

Prof. Hike: Leave Blisters in the Dust

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

Prof. Hike: The First Five Minutes

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

Prof. Hike: Make Your Gear Last Longer

Transform your gear closet with 11 money-saving tips.

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: Tie a Figure-8 Loop

Learn to tie a figure-8 loop–one of the most common and useful knots.

Technique: How to Cross a Moraine

Learn how to find a safe route through glacial rubble, crossing a moraine with nothing more than boots and trekking poles.

Rainier's Reigning Champ

George Dunn, co-owner of International Mountain Guides, recalls personal adventures and gives tips about climbing Mount Rainier.

How-To Slideshow: Install Leave No Trace Trekking Pole Tips

In this step-by-step guide, we'll show you exactly how to put rubber tips on your trekking poles.

How-To Slideshow: Adjust Your Trekking Pole Straps

In this step-by-step guide, we show you exactly how to use trekking pole straps effectively.

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: Rigging a Tent

This is your guide to creating convertible guy lines and rigging a tent securely on rocky surfaces.

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.

How-To Slideshow: Fitting a Backpack

In this step-by-step guide, we'll show you exactly how to fit a pack for optimum comfort and stability on the trail.

The Basics of Backcountry Ski Touring

See more–and have more fun–this winter with these gear and technique trips.

Gear Review: Fischer BCX 6 Rugged Nordic Touring Boot

NNN-compatible with exceptional side-to-side stability.

Gear Review: Rottefella BC Magnum Rugged Nordic Touring Binding

These bindings are surprisingly sturdy, great for cruising on sturdy terrain.

Gear Review: Fischer Snowbound Rugged Nordic Touring Ski

This all-around Nordic ski both glides and grips for awesome touring.

Gear Review: Garmont Excursion Backcountry Touring Boot

This boot has the best of both worlds: The comfort of a Nordic boot, with the warmth of telemark boot.

Gear Review: Voile HD Mountaineer 3-Pin Backcountry Touring Binding

Simple and user-friendly, these Voile skis are also built to weather the abuse of varied terrains.

Gear Review: Karhu XCD Guide Backcountry Touring Ski

Ideal for turning and climbing on rugged backcountry day trips.

Gear Review: Dynafit Zzeus TF-X/Gaia Alpine Touring Boot

Stiff on the downhill, flexible when skinning up, this boot has it all.

Gear Review: G3 Onyx Alpine Touring Binding

Adjustable and easy to use, traveling through varied terrain is a breeze.

Gear Review: Black Diamond Justice Alpine Touring Ski

Whether it's touring, powder or inbounds, this ski does it all.

Gear Review: Black Diamond Push/Stiletto Telemark Ski Boot

The perfect blend of comfort and performance, this boot is great in all conditions.

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.

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: Gibbon Slacklines

Here's a cheap, crazy-fun way to build mountain skills.

Get An Edge on Knife Safety

A knife expert's guide to blade selection and safety

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!


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 - Buckskin Gulch, UT

Gambling in the slots

America's 10 Most Dangerous Hikes - Huckleberry Mtn., Apgar Range, MT

Fatten griz for winter

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

Where winter strikes year-round

Who's the Ultimate Survivor?

We settle the debate with winner-takes-all smackdown: Meet history's true hard man.

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.

Custom Training: Exercises for Every Body Type

Get stronger and hike longer with a workout that matches your physique.

Trail-Specific Stretches

Stay fit and healthy with these static and dynamic stretches, and secrets from Yosemite National Park wilderness ranger Mark Fincher.

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.

Start Smart: Take Action Photos

Capture fast-paced summer adventures with these image-improving tips.

Reader Tip: Night Rounds

This reader recommends packing hospital scrubs when camping.

Secure a Choice Campsite

You'll need strategy, luck, and a little guile to reserve a spot at the country's most popular parks this summer. Here's how to game the (permit) system.

Film Your Own Hike, Then Go Behind-the-Scenes

Want to make adventure films? Emmy Award-winning director Michael Brown shows you how. Plus, go behind the scenes as BACKPACKER staffers learn from the masters at Adventure Film School.

Next Level: Survive an Emergency Rappel

Learn the Dülfersitz rappel and safely lower yourself off of a steep pitch with only a rope.

See More: Great Blue Herons

This dignified giant stands four feet tall, making it North America's largest heron.

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.

Start Smart: Shoot Low-Light Photos

Master dawn and dusk photographs with these pro tips.

Slice and Dice: Build Your Own Cutting Board

Follow this reader tip to custom-build your own backcountry cutting board.

The Specialist: Heat Doctor

Stay cool with expert tips for boiler days.

Survive This: Separated From Group

If you get lost from your hiking party, here's how to get found–fast.

Organize Your Gear Essentials

Does your pack's lid pocket resemble a junk drawer? To help you eliminate the mess–and find stuff fast when you need it–we created lightweight, custom systems to store and organize two vital stockpiles: gear repair tools and emergency provisions.

A Glow in the Dark: Starting a Campfire

It's hard to beat a campfire after a long day on the trail. Here's how to enjoy the moment even when conditions are against you.

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

Better to the Last Drop

A hiker cannot live on water alone. Next time out, try these coffee, tea, and wine updgrades.

Next Level: Prep a Fish for Dinner

Add fresh-caught trout to the menu with these 6 easy steps.

Start Smart: Team Paddling

Improve your speed and efficiency by synchronizing your strokes.

Reader Tips: Big Burn

Need to start a fire fast? Try a flammable cupcake.

Emergency Repair Knots

Duct tape isn't always the best fix for busted gear. When a torn strap or blown seam halts your hike, try these strong and simple ties.

The Specialist: Plan Away Pounds

Shed useless pack weight, not luxuries

Casting Call

Fly-fishing is part meditation, part ultralight technique (catch, don't carry, your dinner), and all fun.

See More: Deer

Learn the difference between elk, white-tails, and mule deer.

Danger Signs: Burn Zones

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

Trip Doctor: Best National Park Bus System

Tired of commuting in a car around our national parks? Catch the best backcountry bus.

Start Smart: Stay Clean and Healthy

4 strategies to feel and smell better

Survive This: A Plunge into Raging Whitewater

Learn how to battle your way out of a raging river with these tips.

Spring Cleaning Your Gear

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.

Trip Doctor: Theft-Proofing Your Car

Clear out your car before heading into the woods.

Your Weeklong Dream Trip

Your Next Big Peak

Your Longest Dayhike Ever

Next Level: The Rest Step

Learn the mountaineer's secret for hiking up steep, high-altitude terrain.

Secrets of the Guides

Camp like a pro with 83 field-tested tips and techniques from experts who earn their paychecks in the backcountry.

Trip Doctor: Shopping For Guided Alaskan Treks

How can I comparison-shop for a guided trek in Alaska?

March 2008 Sleeping Bag Review: Start Smart Sleeping Bag Tips

March 2008 Boots Review: Start Smart Boot Tips

33 Top Tips From Trail Pros

Here's how Aron Ralston, Ed Viesturs, Les Stroud, and others get out and back again–and how you can, too.

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.

Winter Camping: Building a Snow Shelter

Expert tips for a safe, sound night's sleep

Health Tips: Beat Winter Blues

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

Winter Skills: Warm Toes Forever

Keep your feet toasty with these 6 tricks

Backcountry Skiing: Master The Telemark Turn

The tele turn requires careful technique and some practice. Work on these moves at your local slope before venturing onto untracked snow.

Essential National Park Skills: The Ultimate Park Pass

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

Start Smart: Build The Perfect Campfire

Four steps to a lights-every-time blaze

Next Level: Scrambling Steep Peaks

Don't let a steep hike keep you from the best views. Put these vital mountaineering tips to use this weekend.

Post-Hike Massage: Here's The Rub

4 techniques to soothe trail-weary muscles

Tune Up: Your First Adventure Race

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

Leave No Trace: The Low-Impact Hiker

7 strategies for keeping the backcountry pristine

Snowshoeing 201

3 tips for conquering snowy hills and steep climbs

Start Smart: Trip Planning

Forget that get-up-and-go spontaneity--great planning only enhances your experience.

The Savvy Shopper

5 questions before you buy new gear.

Burn, Baby, Burn

3 surefire ways to light a reluctant fire

Night Vision

Bats have nothing on this nocturnal hiker.

The Hiker's Diet

Do hikers have special nutritional needs?

Balancing Act

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

Mars Vs. Venus

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

Go Light, Not Hungry

The One-Pan Gourmet shows how to eat like a king.

Body Essentials

10 Ways Backpacking Changes Your Body

Survival Starts With A Kiss

Learn the latest survival smarts with this military acronym

Trail Stale?

Freshen up stinky clothes with this homemade, portable washing machine.

Highlander Genes

Why are Sherpas so studly?

Under Strain

Is there a maximum weight you can safely haul?

Get A Spine

No frame, no pain--if you try these simple backpack solutions.

Repack Your Bag

Sometimes gaining balance is as simple as adjusting the load in your pack.

Bone Up With Backpacking

Does backpacking build up your bones?

Stinky Bag No More

Make your sleeping bag smell laundry fresh.

Find Gear Fast At Night

This trick will help you find just what you're looking for in the dark.

Eye Dropper Storage

Carrying around those little extras just got easier with this trick.

Jiffypop Pan

This classic snack offers more then just a tasty treat for backpackers.

Sock Toss

Put some rocks in your socks.

A Better Mouse Trap

Rodents can be real pests in campsites. Use this trick to stay rodent-free the whole trip long.

Fetch Me Water

No need to bring along a big, bulky container for your water in camp when you have this great compact suggestion.

That Zesty Taste

Liven up your purified water.

Ultralight Warmth

Keep arms and legs warm with gear invented by cyclists.

Cap Keeper

Keeping a close eye on those binocular caps.

One Good Thing About Golfing

Who would have thought a piece of golf equipment could be really useful to backpackers?

Winter Fuel Saver

Keep water flowing with this simple technique.

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.

Sticky Pads

How to avoid slipping and sliding in your sleeping bag.

South Is Thata Way

Determine direction without your compass.

Supercharge Your Legs

7 ways to kick your stride into overdrive

Passport Protection

Always carry extra identification when traveling internationally.

Mountain Miles

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

Think Outside The Bottle

10 surprising uses for your water bottle.

The Sock Fits: Trail Sock Buyer's Guide

Socks are as important as the footwear we buy. Follow our two-step buyer's guide.

Common Hiking Boot Lacing Techniques...

...From The Experts At Montrail

Make your trekking poles last forever

Try these easy cleaning tricks to keep using your hiking poles out on the trail longer.

Homemade, High-Tech Gear

A do-it-yourself guide for sewing space-age hats and other performance outdoor gear.

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.

How To Waterproof Your Boots

Waterproof boots can make the difference between a sick hike and a miserable slog.

Dead Flashlight Battery Blues

Keep your flashlights and headlamps alive longer with these trail tips.

Tips For Slow Hikers

Shortcuts that'll help you keep up with faster hikers.

Stay Warm In Winter

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

Finding Food For The Long Trail

We tortured 51 trail snacks and staples to pick the longest lasting foods for backpacking.

Broken Crackers? Keep The Crumbs

Three ways to salvage broken crackers and pulverized bread.

Winterize Your Camp

Tips to take with you when the snow flies.

Make Backpacking Meals Better

No refrigerator, no problem, says this cooking instructor. Here's her secret to making every meal better.

The Hiking Gourmet

The hungry hiker's foolproof plan for eating like a king in the backcountry.

Gear For A Dayhike

10 essentials for long day adventures

Emeril Spices Up Camp Food

Cuisine expert Emeril Lagasse shares eight tips on how to liven up your camp cooking.

Hot, Light, And Cheap: Homemade Camp Stove Contest Winners

The best ultralight cookers built by BACKPACKER readers.

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

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

Calling The Shots: Be A Better Backcountry Photographer

Camera hints for bringing home hard-to-get photos in the backcountry

How To See More Animals

To get closer to the critters, you need to look like a tree and smell like a raccoon.

Itch-Free Summer

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

Cheap Camping Tools For Eating

How to complete your backcountry kitchen for $5 or less.

Your Backwoods Pharmacy

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

Tips For Safe Travel

Planning an overseas backpacking trip? Here's a few tips to prepare you before you go.

Turn Small Sacks To Favorite Packs

Nine features that can turn a small sack into your favorite backpack.

Challenge The Backpacker Editor: The Ultralight Report

Torrential rain and wind expose chinks in our author's ultralight armor, but don't dampen his enthusiasm for the pleasures of unencumbered trekking.

Ultralight Backpacking Do's and Don'ts

Jon provides first-hand advice for ultralight beginners.

The Camper's Grocery Express Lane

These tips will have you in and out of the grocery faster than a runaway cart.

The Science Behind Trekking Poles

Now here's scientific proof that trekking poles are a hiker's best friend.

Weak In The Knees

12 ways to get more miles out of your legs.

Fast Food: A Backpacker's Guide To Grocery

A soup-to-nuts guide that'll get you through the supermarket and on the trail faster than you can say "express lane."

On Thin Ice: Safe Hiking On Frozen Lakes

How to hike safely across frozen lakes and ponds

How To: Dehydrate Your Own Trail Food

Make your own dehydrated trail food with these simple techniques.

Rash Decisions: Fighting Backcountry Itches

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

Reader Tip: In The Wick Of Time

Follow this BACKPACKER reader's tip to get the most out of your candles on the trail.

Eating On The Runs

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

Stretching Your Hiking Boots' Life Span

Lengthen your boots' life span by following this simple maintenance plan.

Frustrate Bears With A Rock Sack

This homemade rock sack will help you hang your food bag faster and better.

Rainy Day Skills

To stay dry in a downpour, carry the right wet-weather gear and know how to use it.

How To Speak GPS

Common GPS terms you should know.

Packable Salads

These crunchy, easy-to-prepare side dishes will make your hiking buddies green with envy.

Understanding GPS

Using your GPS is easier than you think.

Tidy Seam-Sealing Tips

Applying seam sealer neatly is easy with the right applicator.

Quick Tip: Rainfly Right

Quick tips to set your tent with the right rainfly.

Field Fix: Tent Poles Apart

Tackle your tent pole problems with this quick tip.

Reader Tip: Bladder Bowl

Try this homemade, ultralight bowl for long distance treks.

Quick Tip: Tarp Tactics

Tarp tips for the tactical hiker.

Tips For Camping With Kids

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

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.

Jacket vs. Vests

Going sleeveless might save you weight, but will a vest keep you as warm as a jacket?

Paddling Skills

Take your hike into the river with these paddling, kayaking and boating tips.

Sleep Comfort In Camp

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

Different Strokes: Paddling Techniques For Hikers

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

Guide To Sound Sleeping

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

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.

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.

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.

Bug Bite Evasion Therapy

What's the best way to treat bug bites? Don't get bit in the first place.

Scouts' Honor: Teaching Leave No Trace Ethics

Boy Scouts are at the forefront of teaching Leave No Trace ethics.

Saddle Sore? Tips To Heal Your Rear

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

Coping with Leeches

How to deal with and treat those bloodsucking leeches.

Leave No Trace: Water Disposal

Here's how to Leave No Trace when you dump water in camp.

Rx Drugs On The Trail

Prescription drugs you should carry on the trail.

Winter Camping Tips: The Perfect Tent Pitch

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

Ultralight vs. Ultranormal

How light can you go? Six friends face off to determine whether carrying less gear makes you half as macho, or twice as smart.

Scrub Pans Without A Sponge

Forgot a sponge? No worries -- clean your camp with these everyday wilderness substitutes.

Spotting The Elusive Wolf

Our guide to spotting wolves on Michigan's Isle Royale.

Stride Right, Feel Better

Tips to improve your hiking stride.

Navigating From Lost To Found

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

Lightning Survival Update

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

Bushwacking: Pole Position

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

Planning Your Route

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

Skills For The Upwardly Mobile

Everything you need to know about hiking in the high country, from talus hopping to finding the right gear to dealing with wind and glaciers.

Frisbee: The Perfect Camping Tool

How to make your Frisbee function as a camping tool.

Bushwacking: Get High, Stay High

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

Leave No Trace: Mind Your Footprint

Take a look at what your sole is doing to the ground.

Bushwhacking: Go Up The Creek

Trouble crossing the trail? Try the creek.

Safe Trekking After Wildfires

Follow these tips when hiking in burned country.

Chicken Soup For The Trail

Some trailworthy soups can even help you heal.

Bushwacking: It's A Jungle Out There

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

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.

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.

Leave No Trace Trash Tips

Help keep trails clean by picking up your own and other people's trash.

Make The Big Jump

Are you a dayhiker who's ready for an all-nighter? A weekender longing to try a 5-day trek? Or are you ready for a thru-hike? Regardless of your skill level, here's the information you'll need to go that extra mile.

Save Your Hiking Sole

You can experience heavenly hiking even if you lose your boot sole.

Stop Trail Chafing

Stop chafing with these tips.

Be A Dried-Food Gourmet Chef

Create tasty trail meals like fish chowder, lasagna, and seafood with pasta.

Approach Shoes Instead Of Hiking Boots?

Consider these points when deciding if an approach shoe is right for you.

Walking On Water

Face it: you aren't Moses and the waters won't part, so here are ways to cross wild rivers safely.

Teepee Tent Setup Secrets

Hard-won tips for pitching tepee tents on any terrain

Bug Bites: Close Your Clothes

Use these tips to bug-proof your clothes.

Treating Backcountry Swimmer's Ear

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

Field Fix: Pole Patch

Tent pole problems? Here's an easy fix.

Dehydrate Your Trail Food

Who says you need water in your food? Dehydrate your vittles and you'll carry less weight, save money, and eat better.

Identifying Wildlife Holes

There's a fascinating world of fur and claws underfoot. Here's how to tell who's down there.

Tundra Trekking Tips

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

Survival Of The Fittest

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

How To Dry Your Sleeping Bag

Add some ribbons to your sleeper to speed drying.

Tundra Tip: Farther Than You Think

Distances can appear farther in the tundra.

Guarding Your Grub

Above treeline, there's no easy way to hoist your vittles.

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.

Buying A Better Sleeping Pad

Half of your "good sleep" equation is a comfy pad (the other half is your bag). Look for these 10 essentials when you buy.

Buying A Better Stove

After a long, hard day, nothing is more disappointing than a stove that refuses to fire. Follow these 10 essentials for foolproof stove features and techniques.

European Pack Size Conversion

Buying a European backpack? Use our conversion chart before you buy.

How Big Should My Pack Be?

Pick your backpack before your hike with our sizing guide.

Boot Sizing Chart

Before you get a new boot, make sure the shoe fits with our sizing chart.

Buying A Better Filter

It's simple: Unless you like getting sick, treat all of your water. Follow these 10 essentials to find and maintain the right filter.

Buying A Better Pack

There's no single piece of equipment more crucial to your backwoods enjoyment. Here's how to make the right choice.

Filtering Vs. Chemicals Vs. Boiling Water

Water treatments defined.

Hiking Dreams Really Do Come True

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

Winter Tips For Cold Hands And Feet

A little motion brings the heat back.

Organize Your Backpacking Trip

Meet Jamie and Joe, who need help with everything from planning to packing to eating well. Enter our team of experts, with a few simple tricks designed to turn them-and you!-into well-oiled backpacking machines.

Sleeping Bag Care: A Lofty Goal

Keep your sleeping bag up to fluff with proper care and handling.

Burn Treatment: A Heated Situation

To stem the pain, act fast when treating burns.

Millet, Kasha, Quinoa: Against The Grain

Rice and pasta are nice, but if you want variety, add some millet, kasha, or quinoa to your trail menu.

Boosting Backcountry Meals

With simple planning, you can turn your bare-bones backcountry meals into satisfying, energy-boosting successes.

Snow Smarts

How to travel safely across four seasons of white.

Tent Pole Wisdom

Quick Tip: Preserving tent poles

Tent Stake Solution

QuickTip: How to stake tents on hard ground.

Desert Cool Customer

Keep fresh and cool with this clothing tip from one of our readers.

Planting Pole Pointers

How to make sure you stay upright on your poles.

Baking Soda Solutions

Eight reasons to pack baking soda on the trail.

Wired For Anything

Texas reader says plastic-coated wire ties are essential item for backcountry emergency kits.

Cleaning Pads With Medicine

Keep scrapes clean with lightweight cleaning pads.

Natural Toothbrushes

Forgot your toothbrush? You can still practice good hygiene.

Preserving Your Poles

Trail-proven ways to keep your trekking sticks healthy and strong.

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.

Before You Snowshoe

Follow these tips when you embark on your next snowshoeing journey.

Compressing Your Pack: It's A Cinch

17 tips for better compression

Before You Go Snowshoeing

Follow these tips before you embark on your next winter snowshoeing journey.

Reading Backcountry Animal Scat

A good pile of scat speaks volumes about your backwoods animal neighbors, if you know how to read the calling card.

Too Cold For Comfort

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

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?"

Hiking While Pregnant

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

Wrinkled Hats Ward Off UV Rays

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

Before The Trail, Cut Your Toenails

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

Smashed Finger Relief

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

Horsepacking: A Leave-No-Trace Guide

Here's our guide to environmental etiquette while horsepacking.

Treating Achilles Tendinitis

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

Sew A Key Pouch In Your Pack

Sewing a key pouch inside your pack is the best guarantee of a quick ride home.

H2O-No: Water Bottle Tips

How to fill a water bottle without getting all wet.

Old-Time Camp Food

Tired of freeze-dried? Try hardtack and corn dodgers for a tasty change of pace.

Gaiter Grooming Tips

Before you cinch up your gaiters, consider the best way to keep the wicked weather and bits of terrain at bay.

Let Your Fingers Tell Time

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

Only You Can Avoid Forest Fires

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

'Biner Basics

If I had to pick, I'd take a carabiner instead of a pocketknife when I hike.

Dessert Time: Use Nature's Fridge

Use streams, snow, rivers, and ponds as chilling grounds for enticing backcountry desserts.

How To Deal With River Crossings

Crossing rivers can be treacherous -- unless you know what you're doing.

Sea Kayaking: Putting Paddle To Water

Sea kayaking might not be difficult, but follow these tips to make the most of your ocean voyages.

Mountain Safety

Make sure you know how to stay safe in the mountains.

Make Your Own Walking Stick

Ease the load on your knees and shoulders by making a hiking stick.

Homemade Tool Tube

A tool tube answers the age-old packing dilemma: Where do I put the long, skinny stuff?

Bug Off: Tips To Keep Away Insects

Tips to beat the most annoying backwoods biters

Avoiding Mosquitoes

Ah, spring, the season of the blessed bloom-and maddening mosquitoes. If you don't like slathering yourself in DEET, then you'd better learn how to avoid the pests.

Alternative To Bug Spray: Permethrin

Another bug-beating option.

Sew Like A Surgeon

Five stitches every backpacker should know.

Bonus Backcountry Bug-Off Tips

Other tips to beat the most annoying backcountry biters.

Gear Rx: Boots

Know what can and can't be repaired on your boots, and who to call.

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.

Gear Rx: Stoves And Water Filters

See if your stove or water filter is safe to repair.

Gear Rx: Packs

Can you revive a sputtering pack? With this diagnostic checklist, you may be able to breathe new life into a tired old backpack.

Gear Rx: Clothing

Everyone knows good outdoor clothing is expensive. See if you can save your old hiking apparel.

Gear Rx: Tents

Mildew. Torn mesh. Broken zippers and poles. Is it worth fixing your home away from home? Find out for yourself.

Gear Rx: Sleeping Bags

Has your sleeping bag lost its loft? Zipper off its track? Check to see if your bag is worth repairing or if it's time to buy a new one.

A Long Life For Your Boots

Insiders' tips to keep your hikers on the trail longer.

A Long Life For Your Trekking Poles

Keep your trekking poles clean and maintained with these tips.

Winter Calorie Count

Winter activities demand more of your body's energy.

Improve Your Sense Of Direction

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

Backcountry Bathroom: How To Go In The Snow

When the ground is frozen or 3 feet under snow, use these backcountry bathroom techniques.

Sun Solutions

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

Homemade Stove Platforms

Or anything else, for that matter, once you use this easy-to-make stove platform.

Hunting For Meteors

Know what to look for and you can simply pick one up off the ground.

How To: Boot Cleaning

Take care of your hiking boots and they'll take care of you.

On-The-Trail Balance Drills

Shaky on logs or rocks? Try these exercises to steady your feet.

Steady Rock Hopping

If rock hopping or log crossing triggers panic, maybe you need to fine-tune your balancing act.

BACKPACKER Reader Cooking Tips

Cooking tips from readers.

Trailworthy Recipes

How to make dreamy drinks and crispy chicken in camp, and lots of other trail-tested cooking tips from readers.

Signaling For Help

How to signal for help if you get lost.

Your Homemade Survival Kit

Make your own backcountry insurance policy.

Building Shelter

How to build a shelter if you get stuck in the backcountry.

Survival Skills: Finding Water

How to find emergency water in the backcountry.

Foot Fitness

Stronger foot muscles can end ankle sprains and aching arches.

Break In Your Boots

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

Tarps: High And Tight

Setting up a tarp? Follow these techniques depending on the situation.

Wash Your Feet

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

Dry, Cool Feet = Happy Feet

For maximum comfort, keep your feet drier and cooler.

Fixing A Blister

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

Fixing Tents: Don't Despair...Repair

What can and can't be fixed on your tent.

For Broken Gear, Don't Despair...Repair

What you can and can't fix: How to breathe new life into tired old faithfuls.

Protect Your Pack Food

The inside of a pack is a rough place for poorly packaged food. Protect your grub so it emerges intact.

Water Filter First-Aid

Make sure your water purifier doesn't leave you high and dry.

How To Splint A Bum Knee

Pretend Your Leg Is A Jelly Roll.

Load Lifters: Homemade Sherpa Straps

When pack weight drags you down, homemade Sherpa straps can help ease the burden.

Trout Fishing: Reel Fine Dining

When the trout are thick and the ethics resolved, catch-and-eat is the tasty way to go.

Snowshoes Terrain Techniques

Techniques for winter trekking. Find out the advantages snowshoes provide for getting over hill and dale.

Make Your Own Shade

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

Winterize Your Camping Habits

Tips to take with you when the winter snow flies in camp.

The Backcountry Cupboard

Stock these 25 essentials for grab-it-and-go meals.

Getting Your Gear Fixed

It's hard to give up your tried and true gear after so many miles together. So don't! These repair shops can keep your favorites in tip-top shape.

Wildlife Watching: Spring Peeping

Look on the south sides of mountains to catch animals coming out in spring.

Rainy-Day Camping Games

Beat the rainy-day blues by playing sleeping-pad chess or checkers.

Fixing An Inflatable Sleeping Pad

A few simple precautions will prevent punctures and preserve the foam in your self-inflating pad.

Sizing A Sleeping Pad

Thickness, length, width, and weight options make choosing the right pad more involved than you might think.

Water Filter Maintenance

Tips to keep water filters filtering.

You Can Leave Home Without It

Putting the Ray Jardine ultralight way to the test.

Ultralight: The Ray Jardine Way

He rocked the world of climbing, challenged the accepted wisdom in sea kayaking, and now Ray Jardine turned his renegade way of thinking to backpacking.

Homemade Bear Bag

A homemade bear bag will make sure your provisions stay safe from hungry critters.

'Seams' Dry: Weatherproof Your Tent

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

Bear Bagging Your Food

Keep your food away from hungry bears.

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