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Readers’ Choice Awards 2009

Discover the best hike in every state, as voted by BACKPACKER readers. Plus: your essential gear, most desirable tentmate, worst-ever adventure movie, and our picks for the best reader-submitted photos.

Your partner is hanging from a cliff with no way to go up or down. You’ll both likely die if you don’t cut the rope. You …
Cut the Rope 50%
Don’t Cut the Rope 50%

The strangest item in your pack is …
Teddy bear
Superman cape
Pirate flag
United States Constitution*
*A random selection of the unusual stuff you carry

The most miles you’ve ever hiked in a single day …
12% Less than 10
35% 15
28% 20
17% 25
8% More than 30

You’d rather hike in …
The snow 36% (Read "How to Navigate in the Snow" for tips on winter navigation.)
The rain 29%
30-mph wind 17%
Stay in my tent, thanks 10%
100°F heat 8%

If you could have a job as a full-time hiker, your minimum salary requirement would be …
Minimum wage 24%
$50,000 %50
$75,000 16%
$100,000 10%

In the wilderness, strangers once came upon you …
#1) Using a cathole
#2) Skinny-dipping
#3) Having sex

At what age did you go on your first backpacking trip?
5 or younger 4%
6-10 15%
11-15 31%
16-20 19%
21 or older 30%
Never been on a backpacking trip 1%

Go to for a guide to hiking basics.

The worst way to die in the backcountry is …
Bear attack 19%
Swarmed by bees 15%
Drowning 15%
Dehydration 14%
Freezing 10%
Fall 7%
Avalanche 7%
Mountain lion attack 6%
Snake or spider bite 6%
Lightning strike 1%

Which creature would you least want to find in your tent?
Skunk 47%
Black widow 26%
Porcupine 15%
Scorpion 12%

Who would you most like to share a tent with?
Here are your top 4 picks:
1. John Muir
2. Kristin Hostetter
3. Edmund Hillary
4. Ernest Shackleton

You can take only one of the following on your next backpacking trip. Which do you choose?
Book 29%
Chocolate 27%
Camp chair 14%
Cocktail 11%
iPod 11%
I’ll give up nothing 8%

The all-time best adventure book isA Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson

The best state for backpackers to live in is… Colorado

1 in 4 readers say the best national park for backpackers is …Yosemite

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