Backpacking

When it comes to cooking in the backcountry, canister stoves—those that run on a compressed propane-butane blend—have been my go-to backpacking option for years. For me, their convenience and ease-of-use—attach stove, ignite, boil, simmer, done—more than outweighs the minor drawbacks of the canisters’ small additional weight and expense. These stoves do create one significant hassle, however….

Read More....

I just returned from a trip to Northern California, where I completed a high-elevation overnight hike in Yosemite National Park. Unfortunately, the broad-spectrum sunscreen I had in the car failed to make it into my pack, which I realized only when I entered the open landscapes above 10,000 feet, where UV exposure is much greater…

Read More....

It’s always good to know where you are. If you’re hiking on trails, here are the techniques I use to keep track of where I am at all times. Have the best trail map available Locate, purchase, and carry the most detailed, up-to-date, and accurate trail map for the area you’re visiting. Whenever possible, spend…

Read More....

It was at AMC’s Gorman Chairback Lodge, somewhere around 1:30 in the morning, when I overheard a visitor ask a friend with whom he was traveling, “Do we have butt cream?” It wasn’t all that unusual a query, really. You see, this duo was part of a European team competing in the 200-mile Untamed New…

Read More....

I recently wrote about the Ten Essentials, which includes quite a few extremely, ahem, essential items. But which is the least useful? From my perspective, it’s the one I’ve carried for more than 20 years and barely ever used: a compass. Why do you need a compass? A compass allows you to very quickly orient…

Read More....

Invest in waterproof, tear-proof trail maps. Tyvek and plastic are significantly more durable than paper. If you do carry a paper map, fold it to highlight your area and place it inside a waterproof map case or a heavy-duty resealable freezer bag. Always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both sunburn-inducing UVA and skin-damaging…

Read More....

The 10 Essentials are more than just a list. They are the basics of survival. Carry them and you will always be equipped for the unexpected. First developed in the 1930s by the Mountaineers, a Seattle-based nonprofit, the original 10 Essentials consisted of a list of specific items—knife, map, compass, matches, etc. Today, several different…

Read More....

I spent my morning walking the dog and serving as an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet for my local mosquito population. It got me thinking about the little buzzers and prompted several crucial questions in my head. I now have the answers. Death by mosquito draining? For an average person, losing two liters of blood becomes life-threatening….

Read More....

I took my daughter on her first hike before she was 6 weeks old. My husband, Jim, and I picked the shortest route to the summit of Mount Cardigan, the West Ridge Trail, which winds a mile and a half up through forest to sloping granite ledges and a view that sweeps across New Hampshire’s…

Read More....

Lightweight. Low-impact. Usable almost anywhere trees grow. Hammock camping has a lot of advantages over tents and shelters—but what do you need to know before stashing one in your pack and heading for the backcountry? First, you want to make sure that a hammock is right for you, and that you’re comfortable with each piece…

Read More....