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Backpacking 101

Learn the basics of backpacking - from what to pack, how to plan a trip, first aid, survival skills, what to eat, and basic how-to.


Trip-planning tips, gear lists, safety advice, and other essential wisdom ever hiker should know. Maybe you’re ready to try backcountry camping after an inspiring visit to a national park. Maybe you want to introduce your kids to the great outdoors. Or maybe you’re a longtime hiker who just needs a refresher after too much time away from the trails. Whatever your goal, this guide to getting started as a backpacker will help you enjoy a lifetime of safe, scenic, and satisfying adventures. With more than 100 smart tips, it answers all the questions: what to eat, where to go, how to read a compass, and much more.


  • Backpacking Basics – Take these 21 trail tips to heart, and you’re virtually guaranteed a good hike.
  • Pretrip Planning – Do the research, here’s how.
  • Hikes – Not sure where to go? Find a hike here.
  • Gear Lists – Packing lists for all conditions.
  • Kitchen Kit- When cooking in the backcountry, don’t leave home without…
  • Repair Kit- Don’t let a busted strap or a deflating tent ruin your trip.
  • Survival Kit- Be prepared for adversity with these pieces of gear.
  • Toilet Kit- For your travel companion’s sake, pack what’s on this list.
  • Personal Kit- For your travel companion’s sake, pack what’s on this list.
  • First Aid Kit- A homemade ensemble of the most essential elements for pretty much any hike.
  • Organize a Backpack- Become a bona fide pack rat with these essential tips.


  • Getting the Right Gear – We’ve made it easy to find great gear for great getaways.
  • Boots – No question, boots are a hiker’s most critical gear.
  • Clothing - When dressing for a wilderness trip, you can’t take your apparel decisions lightly.
  • Packs – When shopping for a new pack, do what any savvy home buyer would—analyze your situation, then prioritize your needs.
  • Tents – Carrying a tent is necessary insurance against crowded lean-tos, wild weather, and bugs.
  • Accessories – Don’t be be caught without these essentials.
  • Waterproof Your Wilderness World - A complete guide to buying gear that will keep you dry—no matter what.


  • Pack More Power – A nutritionist explains why hikers need protein.
  • Eating Well – Easy ways to improve nutrition and flavor on the trail
  • Gorp RecipesWinning entries from BACKPACKER Readers
  • Menu Maker -Your guide to eating right on the trail.


  • Hike Farther, Hike StrongerThe latest, greatest strategies for building strength, endurance, speed, and flexibility.
  • Climb Like EdThe sky’s the limit with a fitness plan andclimbing tips from world-class mountaineer Ed Viesturs.

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