No six-month sabbatical in the works for a long trail? Not a problem. Here are 10 point-to-point treks with the payoffs of a thru-hike–new scenery and campsites every day, enough miles to get into a rhythm–but all sized just right for your real-world vacation: a week. From Pennsylvania to California, these are the top routes for a thru-hike you can do this year. By Jim Gorman
Go ahead and get dirty. But please, don’t act like a Neanderthal just because you’re 14 miles from indoor plumbing. Take our quiz to see if you’re a civilized hiker–or need to pay a visit to backcountry finishing school.
A practical guide to wilderness catastrophes and the skills you need to:
[ ] Navigate without a compass
[ ] Make a splint from sticks
[ ] Improvise a pair of crampons
[ ] Start a fire with whiskey
[ ] Stay warm without shelter
Go back far enough, and we’re all descended from hunters, one way or another. Yet the rift between hikers and hunters grows bigger every year. But are the unarmed missing out on an important part of the wilderness experience? Can shooting a deer actually make you a better backpacker? Rifle in hand, Bruce Barcott looks for an answer–and a target–in eastern Washington.
My F*&^ing Family
We like to think that a camping trip can bring anyone together–even three siblings harboring five decades’ worth of betrayals, resentments, and maybe one case of semi-accidental poisoning. Will a backpacking trip in the Rockies bring this family together–or tear them apart? By Steve Friedman
THE PEAK: Mt. Marcy
Take the scenic–and sporting–route to New York’s highest summit.
THE MANUAL: Predict Weather
Can crickets tell you the temperature and a cup of coffee forecast storms? Here’s how to become a backcountry meteorologist.
Health: Medicine Man
Feeling forgetful? Learn whether climbing those Fourteeners caused brain damage.
DIRTBAG/GOURMET RECIPES: Fondue
Add rich cheese and gourmet flair to your backcountry repertoire.
GEAR SCHOOL: Snowshoes
Get expert tips on picking the right size, shape, and style for optimal performance–and get out more this winter.
Ultimate Backcountry Beds
The perfect sleep systems for every season.