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Backpacker Magazine – June 2010

The Manual: Plan an Expedition

Go big with these expedition trip planning tips.

by: Steve Howe & Pete Rognili (Back Exercise)

(Illustration by Supercorn)
(Illustration by Supercorn)

Prep Your Gear

>> Create a packing list
Print one from and start assembling your kit a few months early to identify gear that needs attention, like a DWR treatment on a tired rain shell. Also, if hiking the cusp of spring or fall, you might need different gear at the trip’s end than at the beginning.

>> Pack a bounce box
Include items like socks, underwear, lighter or heavier clothes, spare shoes, sunglasses, books, depletable items (like sunscreen, vitamins, food, batteries, and memory cards), quarters and soap for Laundromats, and mailing supplies (prepaid UPS labels, tape, addresses, pens).

>> Package meals in waterproof bags Mark them Day One, Day Two, etc. so you don’t raid all the chocolate on day three. Allot more food for tail-end days when you’ll be ravenous. To keep food weight and bulk low, pack calorie-dense foods like nuts, peanut butter, and cheese. Although vacuum-packed cheeses may separate into oil and curd, they’ll keep for weeks in cool mountain weather.

>> Assemble a first-aid kit
Include beaucoup dressings, blister-repair items, and any medications.

>> Locate gear shops near resupply points
Ask the proprietors in advance to hold some fuel for you.

>> For remote trips, carry an emergency signaling device Buy or rent a PLB, SPOT, or sat phone. And consider rescue insurance. Two options: American Alpine Club membership or Global Rescue.

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Reader Rating: Star Star Star Star


Star Star Star Star Star
Dec 07, 2012

If you are trying to go somewhere out of country you can always use a company to help you plan a trip. I used a company called Phoenix Expeditions to help me plan a really intense family trip to Norway. their website is I tried to plan it myself but its kinda hard planning something in another country. Also i had small children so i was nice having one of the people who works for the company accompany my family and help lighten the load.

Jun 03, 2011

I'm sure the actual paper Magazine has more thorough articles . Backpackers web presence gives a
taste of what the magazine is all about.

I have had a subscibtion sometime in the nine-tees ,
and i still keep all the copies.

dudley ward II
Oct 04, 2010

i think that posting info on expeditions is crucial to ANY type of hiking because you can upsize and downsize according to specific needs . i plan on through hiking the a.t. and then on to norway so i am always looking for info . someone earlier on is right ...we need more detailed info in every edition of backpacker on expeditions at least for a while so that more people going on them can find the best way to route and enjoy their experiences together .

Sep 14, 2010

I agree with Spargewater. Orion is a lover of but is currently in denial. There is yet hope for you my friend!

Aug 01, 2010

Let me get this straight; Orion insults Backpacker Magazine with a post on it's own free website. Man, that's just wrong! If you don't like the magazine, fine. But post your insults somewhere else. That was really douchey.

Jul 30, 2010

I have never had a problem flying with a used stove (i clean with rubbing alcohol to remove any gas residue)

Jul 30, 2010

Good point Orion. I would add one thing. Subscribe to the a trail list serve. You'll get more up-to-date information from other hikers posts than anywhere else. Plus you'll get valuable information on gear, weather, and specific what to dos in terms of your body, skills, and gear.

Jul 30, 2010

I read through this, thinking it was going to get some really detailed info and recommendations but this article was a real let down. Come on Backpacker....most of the recommendations you mentioned were kinda obvious. I would like to see more of this type of article's but get a little more detailed. How about an article written in the first person on how they planned a trip.

Eric Nelson made a good suggestion about a book. I have lost faith in Backpacker magazine in the last couple of years.

Eric Nelson
Jul 14, 2010

If you want a more than thorough description of how to plan a long backpacking trip or any big outdoor trip for that matter, I strongly suggest the book "Leadership the Outward Bound Way" from The Mountaineers Books. I used it to plan a Grand Teton trip for 10 youth and adults. A good plan and follow through takes about 6 months.

Mac Williams
Jul 06, 2010

In your Backpacker Aug 2010 edition on pg 77, there's a picture of Denali, what time of year was that picture taken? Also, what's the ridge there in the foreground composed of - is it degraded volcanic? Thanks, Mac.


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