Category Archives: Skills

How to Prevent Chafing While Hiking

Take clothing with seams, add body parts, a shoulder harness and hipbelt attached to a heavy pack, heat, humidity, and what do you have? The ideal recipe for chafing. This irritating red rash caused from rubbing can turn a pleasant hike into a miserable one. Chafing is simply damage to the skin caused by excessive […]

How to Prepare Your Mind for Your First Solo Backpacking Trip

Many of the most impactful moments in my life have come when I’ve chosen to let go and embark on a journey on my own. Pedaling my bike for the first time without my father’s hands on my shoulders. Getting the car keys to hit the open road without someone backseat driving. Waving goodbye to my […]

15 Things We Wish Someone Had Told Us Before Our First Overnight Hike

This may come as a surprise to you, but Backpacker’s editors weren’t always authorities on all things hiking. In fact, we were beginners once, too, and made our fair share of newb mistakes. Here’s everything we wish we knew before hitting the trail for the first time, so you can embark on your inaugural overnight wiser […]

Learn How to Use a Compass and Never Get Lost Again

Sure, not all who wander are lost. But when you’ve been walking in circles for hours and your day hike is stretching into an overnight, that saying is cold comfort. The solution? Don’t get lost in the first place. Learning how to use a map and compass is something all hikers and backpackers need to […]

5 Trail Etiquette Rules

With recreational trails springing-up all over communities, many people are taking an initiative to get active. This has also created more interest in the hiking and backpacking community as more people are getting outdoors. Every so often it’s a good idea to put out a reminder of these trail etiquette rules so newbies can learn to […]

How to Get Back on the Right Path When Lost

Even the most experienced hikers have likely dealt with getting lost a time or two. Perhaps the hiking trails were poorly marked or you had to make an unexpected detour. Whatever the reason, follow these simple safety tips for being lost, and you’re more likely to safely find your way back to the right path. […]

Hiking Tips & Skills

Venturing out on foot in the great outdoors is one of the best ways to experience the world. Walking and hiking through even the most familiar region immerses you in the culture and natural beauty of a destination, connecting you to your surroundings in a truly unique and extraordinary way. An accessible activity with minimal gear requirements, […]

How to Cross a Raging River Safely in the Backcountry

“OK, if you insist,” the ranger at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks’ backcountry office said skeptically as he handed over our permit. “Just remember: The trail crosses several creeks, and they’re going to be running higher than normal because of the rain.” He meant this as a warning, but when all that stands between you and […]

A Guide to Hiking Skill Levels

What Level of Hiker Are You? When determining what hike to undertake, it is common to see people focus on the grade of the hike rather than their skill level of that of their group. Most people start out on grade 1-2 hikes which are suited to people with limited experience in the bush. They then advance […]

5 Unexpected Things That You’ll Always Find in a Mountain Guide’s Backpack

We’ve all heard of the ten essentials, but in more than a decade of working as a mountain guide, I’ve learned that the things that save a trip aren’t always what you’d expect. From conveniences to mission-essential repair kits, there are a few unexpected things stashed alongside our compasses and emergency bivies. Here are five […]