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10 Skills Every Backpacker Needs to Know

We've created a plan to help you upgrade your trail time in all the ways that matter: bigger views, more solitude, easier miles, and more. Don't hang up your boots until you've mastered this definitive list of 10 skills and life-altering experiences.

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There are a few skills every backpacker needs to know, like pitching camp and making fire. But to really get the most out of your trip, you need to learn the intangibles too, like finding solitude and getting on the trail more. Here, we’ve pulled it all together into one concise guide.

Stay Dry


Learn how to cope with relentless rain, and you can experience some of the Earth’s holiest places—Alaska! Patagonia!—in comfort. Read the Full Article

Seek Solitude

Hiking trees
Bureau of Land Management

Want your very own Eden? Here’s how to go where—and when—others don’t. Read the Full Article

See More Wildlife

Gregory \”Slobirdr\” Smith

Get closer to the mystery of life: Put yourself spine-tingling distance from the fanged and clawed and horned. Read the Full Article

Camp Well

Tents in Gates of the Arctic
Paxson Woelber

Who says spiritual travelers must shun earthly comforts? You just worked all day to reach a magnificent high-country cirque. Now create a campsite to match. Read the Full Article

Get Out More

hiking new mexico a-shi-sle-pah wilderness study area
Bob Wick/BLM California

Have you ever heard anyone wish he or she spent less time outdoors? We didn’t think so. Read the Full Article

Never Get a Blister

blister first aid
Louisa Albanese

Your body is a temple? Then your feet are the altar. Treat them right, and enjoy every hike from the first mile to the last. Read the Full Article

Make Fire

Isaac Mao

When disaster strikes in the backcountry, don’t pin your hopes on prayer. Your ability to spark a flame could be the difference between survival and six-feet-under. Read the Full Article

Hike Farther

exercises you can do with a backpack

For hikers, pushing your limits will certainly yield more views—plus better fitness, confidence, and, perhaps, perspective. Read the Full Article

Find Your Way

AJ Cann

Join a long line of enlightened travelers who have navigated the wilderness—and discover a whole new world that lies beyond well-marked trails and guided trips. Read the Full Article

Go Higher

Jim Kelly

Once you’ve been to the mountaintop, few other experiences will compare. For soul-cleansing, skill-building, life-affirming thrills, put a big one on your bucket list. Read the Full Article

Want to master the basics of backpacking? Sign up for our Backpacking 101 class at AIM Adventure U. 

How to Pack for Backcountry Skiing

Get to know the winter safety gear you need in your pack.