Published nine times a year, Backpacker is a magazine of wilderness travel, offering practical, "you can do it, here's how" advice to help you enjoy every trip. Filled with the best places, gear, and information for all kinds of hiking and camping trips, each issue delivers foldout maps and stunning color photography.
Dirt Cheap • Your opinions, photos, and feats
OPEN SESAME. • This Month's Top Trips & Picks
MIRACLE IN THE DESERT
…IN WHICH WE HONOR THE BEST HIKING CLUBS IN THE COUNTRY.
WINTER WONDERLAND • Whether you’re after mellow snowshoe flats or steep powder runs, you’ll get both—as well as a four-burner stove and a full-size bed—in Gothic, Colorado.
WOO YOUR VALENTINE. • Humans aren’t the only species making moves this month.
TAKE THE BAD WITH THE GOOD.
ON THE ROCKS: GLYPHING • Embark on nature’s treasure hunt to find rock art—and clues of the past.
GIMME SHELTER • Are left-behind supplies trash or treasure? We settle the debate.
DEFEND ATCHAFALAYA BASIN, LOUISIANA.
COAST TO COAST
MARCH 8: INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY • It's not that we don’t appreciate badass outdoor women every other day of the year, but International Women’s Day is a fine time to share their stories. Go to backpacker.com/radicaloutdoors-women to read more.
ONE-STOP SHOPPING • Get the best of three national parks on these tours de force.
GO THE DISTANCE • How to Thrive Outdoors
Prep For the Long Game • You don’t have to be a planner to start a thru-hike, but you’ll turn into one if you want to finish. Such is the wisdom of Amanda “Zuul” Jameson, who has thru-hiked the Pacific Crest, Continental Divide, and Grand Enchantment Trails and now helps fellow trekkers dial in their gear.
Which Long Trail is Right for You?
HOW TO ACT IN TOWN • The beer, the pizza—the showers. Town days to thru-hikers are like Rumspringa to the Amish. Just remember, Jameson says, “You are an ambassador for the trail.” Behave right to make sure thru-hikers are always welcome.
OUT OF FOOD • Even former Appalachian Trail speed record holder Jennifer Pharr Davis made some big planning mistakes.
BE SILENT ON A GROUP HIKE • Does the peacefulness of solo hiking translate into a social setting?
HOT ‘N’ SPICY • Follow these flavorful recipes and you won't need to dump Tabasco on your dinner.
LOST IN AN ICE CAVE • In August 2018, Spencer Christiansen, 31, and his wife Jess, 24, spent nearly two days lost in Wyoming’s Darby Ice Caves.
NAVIGATE A CAVE SYSTEM
INTO THE TRENCHES • The sign at the trailhead said “get muddy—stay on the trail,” but the “trail” was a moat, and I was wearing trail runners. I know I wasn’t supposed to, but I opted for the strip of grass beside it. Is that really such a big deal? –Mud-averse in Milwaukee
DRINK TO THAT • Gear Picks and Tips
Waterworks • Ultralight, ultrafast, and ultraeffective—the best new water treatment devices do the job better than ever.
ADVENTURE HOUND • You have good gear. Why shouldn’t your best friend?
SECOND SKIN • My favorite pair of pants helped me ease into the wild.
FIELD NOTES • The latest word from our testers
REACH YOUR PEAK
LEGS • To reach the best places in the backcountry, you have to rely on your own two feet.
CORE • The muscles of your torso and back work hard to carry the load comfortably mile after mile.
ARMS • Recruit your arms to overcome terrain challenges or just give the legs a break.
CARDIO • Oxygen feeds your muscles. Manage your heart rate and breathing and you can hike (almost)...