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Backpacker Magazine – November 2008

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.

by: Annette McGivney, Illustrations by Supercorn


There are two ways to learn backpacking skills: 1) The hard way–in which you find out what a rattlesnake looks like when it's about to sink its fangs into your ankle; and 2) the easy way–in which you learn from others' mistakes.

That's what we're here for. Pitching a tent in hurricane-force winds? We've done it. Losing dinner to a pack of hungry raccoons? Ditto. Spending an hour desperately trying to get a fire started? Check. Leave trial-and-error for the fun skills, like perfecting your margarita recipe. When it comes to essential wilderness techniques, we'll show you how to do it right. The best part: There's no test. Until you encounter that rattlesnake, of course.

  • Hiking: From navigation to staying dry to predicting the weather, our primer will have you dialed.

  • Packing & Planning: We'll show you how to be ready in 20 minutes, guaranteed.

  • Camping: Find water anywhere, make a fire in five minutes, secrets for battling mosquitoes and more.
  • Gear: Patch a tent hole, layer for extreme conditions, clean your stove, make an old bag warmer, and more.
  • Cooking: Eat like a pro with our recipes for every course.


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