Backpacking

Each year the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) compiles stats on how many people attempt and complete a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. They recently updated their numbers for 2017, which provides an opportunity to look at some overarching trends. More and more hikers are attempting a thru-hike…. Per ATC’s estimates, the number of hikers attempting  a northbound…

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A brand-new shelter along the Appalachian Trail (AT) has an unusual trait in common with its predecessor. For both, AMC helicoptered in prefabricated components that were then assembled on site, at AMC’s Speck Pond Campsite in Maine’s Mahoosuc Range. Last fall, AMC staff dismantled the old Speck Pond AT shelter, which had stood for 49…

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Lightweight, compressible, and long-lasting, a down-filled sleeping bag is a delightful addition to any camper’s or backpacker’s gear locker. The problem is that down-filled bags are almost always more expensive (sometimes way more expensive) than synthetic-fill options, a trend that has only gotten worse in recent years. Indeed, these days you can easily spend north of $400…

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There’s a general truism when it comes to ultralight tents. As manufacturers shave down the ounces, they often shave inches off the tent’s length. Which is fine if you’re less than 6 feet tall. But if you’re tall like me (6 feet 5 inches), there’s nothing fine about having your head and/or feet pushing directly against…

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Adapted from AMC’s Mountain Skills Manual If you’re lost in the woods, one not-so-well-known approach to locating a more familiar area is the find-me cross. This technique is quite effective, but you have to be self-disciplined to use it. After admitting that you’re lost, mark your location by building an obvious landmark using rocks or…

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It can happen to even the most seasoned hiker. You casually duck into the woods to relieve yourself, zip up your pants, and—uh, oh. Which way was the trail? If you’re a solo hiker who becomes disoriented—or, worse, injured—nobody is there to help. Don’t panic! You’ve got options. Before You Go Getting found starts before…

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I’ve always been fascinated by maps. I can’t go more than a day or two without picking one up and losing myself in the intricate details of a three-dimensional world flattened and scaled to fit on a page. As I was thinning out my stash one day—grudgingly admitting that 50 topographic renderings of Mount Washington…

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Nearly 75,000 acres. More than 115 square miles. That’s one-and-a-half times the size of Acadia National Park and five times bigger than Manhattan. It’s also the extent of the conservation and recreation land AMC owns and manages in Maine’s 100-Mile Wilderness region, thanks to the backing of you, our members, friends, and supporters. But what…

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It takes about 6 hours to travel from Washington, D.C., to Boston on an Amtrak Acela Express train. In August 2016, I traveled the same distance, but in lieu of fast-tracking my travel plans, I broke up my time on the rails into a 6-night, 7-day odyssey. I spent every night except the last tent…

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Part of an ongoing series on Northeast-based gear companies. I’ve long been attracted to the ultralight offerings of Mountain Laurel Designs, especially their diverse line of pyramid tents and packs. Even better, the company is based in AMC’s region, in Roanoke, Va., where they produce all of their gear. If you’re shopping for ultralight equipment—and want to…

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