Culture

16 Great Songs for Backpacking

From folk songs to oldies to rock 'n roll, this eclectic list will inspire your next trip.


What list would be complete without the deep voiced-melodies of this iconic American musician? \

What list would be complete without the deep voiced-melodies of this iconic American musician? “I’ve been everywhere, man. / Crossed the desert’s bare, man. / I’ve breathed the mountain air, man. / Of travel I’ve had my share, man. / I’ve been everywhere.” [image: Henrich Klaffs/Flickr]

Fiddles rule this Americana folk classic that evokes a restless spirit and greener grasses. We’ll sing along to “Rock me mama, like the wind and the…

Fiddles rule this Americana folk classic that evokes a restless spirit and greener grasses. We’ll sing along to “Rock me mama, like the wind and the rain,” on every trek, every time. [image: Pete Chappell/Flickr]

Don’t be shy, you know the words.  The pounding bass line, charming Scottish accents, and devoted mileage will assuredly press you onward: “But I…

Don’t be shy, you know the words. The pounding bass line, charming Scottish accents, and devoted mileage will assuredly press you onward: “But I would walk five hundred miles / And I would walk five hundred more / Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles / To fall down at your door.” [image: Owen Byrne/Flickr]

The optimist’s creed: “Oh I've been smiling lately, dreaming about the world as one / And I believe it could be, some day it's going to come / Cause…

The optimist’s creed: “Oh I’ve been smiling lately, dreaming about the world as one / And I believe it could be, some day it’s going to come / Cause out on the edge of darkness, there rides a peace train.” [image: Bill McElligott/Flickr]

“Just as fast as my feet can fly / Come away, come away if you're goin' / Leave the sinkin' ship behind.” It’s CCR: of course it’s on your…

“Just as fast as my feet can fly / Come away, come away if you’re goin’ / Leave the sinkin’ ship behind.” It’s CCR: of course it’s on your backpacking playlist. [image: Fantasy Records/Wikimedia]

“Rocky Mountain High” would have  but Denver spoke to America as a whole, which is why we love this line: “Almost heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge…

“Rocky Mountain High” would have but Denver spoke to America as a whole, which is why we love this line: “Almost heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River.” We’re on board. [image: ABC Television/Wikimedia]

For anyone who’s ever gone to nature to clear their head, Bob Dylan’s acoustic classic is a thought catalyst: “If your time to you is worth savin’ /…

For anyone who’s ever gone to nature to clear their head, Bob Dylan’s acoustic classic is a thought catalyst: “If your time to you is worth savin’ / Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone / For the times they are a-changin.’” [image: Jean Luc Ourlin/Flickr]

Vedder's steady strums and raspy cries were one of the best parts of the Into the Wild film soundtrack. Memories arise with the solitude of nature:…

Vedder’s steady strums and raspy cries were one of the best parts of the Into the Wild film soundtrack. Memories arise with the solitude of nature: “Gonna rise up / Burning black holes in dark memories / Gonna rise up / Turning mistakes into gold.”

W.B. Yeats’ poem “The Song of Wandering Aegnus” is put to song in Herring’s sweet folk melody, reflecting the enchantment of wilderness: “I went out…

W.B. Yeats’ poem “The Song of Wandering Aegnus” is put to song in Herring’s sweet folk melody, reflecting the enchantment of wilderness: “I went out to the hazel wood / Because a fire was in my head / And cut and peeled a hazel wand / And hooked a berry to a thread.” Bonus: Committing a Yeats poem to memory en route does the literary soul good. [image: Michael Watts/Flickr]

This light-hearted jingle will keeping your boots marching and your mind musing: “Let me out of this cage, before I swell up with rage / Let me sing…

This light-hearted jingle will keeping your boots marching and your mind musing: “Let me out of this cage, before I swell up with rage / Let me sing to old age before I’m done / Let me shout to the skies that I’m too young to die / And that fate will never stop me from trying.” [image: Danielle McNiven/Flickr]

Smooth vocals and peppy percussion take on the age-old adventurer’s dilemma: staying vs. going. “I don't know what it is I'm after / I just hope I…

Smooth vocals and peppy percussion take on the age-old adventurer’s dilemma: staying vs. going. “I don’t know what it is I’m after / I just hope I find it when I go / If I’m honest I say I love the distance / So daily I pack a bag and leave.” Our opinion? Get outside every chance you get. [image: Hitherby48/Wikimedia]

Dance up the mountains with this folksy ballad: “I’m a man on fire / Walking through your street...Only one desire / That’s left in me / I want the…

Dance up the mountains with this folksy ballad: “I’m a man on fire / Walking through your street…Only one desire / That’s left in me / I want the whole damn world / To come dance with me.” Warning: you may have an uncontrollable urge to twirl strangers you meet on the trail. [image: Ultra5280/Flickr]

Happiness in the form of song, complete with gibberish, whistle solos, and tempo to make the most exhausted feet skip on ahead. When the summit…

Happiness in the form of song, complete with gibberish, whistle solos, and tempo to make the most exhausted feet skip on ahead. When the summit couldn’t seem further, Rusted Roots picks you up and sends you on your way. Side effects: compulsory frolicking and a goofy grin. [image: Mark H. Anbinder/Flickr]

Headed south? “Mountain Music” is drenched in genteel spirit and folk country grit, sufficient to inspire a “swim across the river / just to prove…

Headed south? “Mountain Music” is drenched in genteel spirit and folk country grit, sufficient to inspire a “swim across the river / just to prove that I’m a man,” or “spend the day bein’ lazy / just bein’ nature’s friend.” [image: Mary McCoy/Flickr]

“Shackled and drawn, shackled and drawn / Pick up the rock son, carry it on / I’m trudging through the dark in a world gone wrong,” reminds us why we…

“Shackled and drawn, shackled and drawn / Pick up the rock son, carry it on / I’m trudging through the dark in a world gone wrong,” reminds us why we escape to trail in the first place: freedom. The jaunty beat will quicken a weary gait and evoke an iron lung sing-along to Springsteen’s gospel for wild unrestraint. [image: Takahiro Kyono/Flickr]

Not every day on the trail is bliss—but whenever the sun shines, Travis Tritt is your man. “And it's a great day to be alive / I know the sun's still…

Not every day on the trail is bliss—but whenever the sun shines, Travis Tritt is your man. “And it’s a great day to be alive / I know the sun’s still shinin’ when I close my eyes / There’s some hard times in the neighborhood / But why can’t everyday be just this good.” [image: Chuck Redden/Flickr] https://open.spotify.com/playlist/spotify:user:abbeydufoe:playlist:2P3IQ5miIZseg4TDzPzkOU