Backpacking Skills

Instructional articles and FAQs for backpacking on-trail and off. Written by highly experienced backpackers and guides who walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

Best Camouflage for Stealth Camping

People often ask me what kind of shelter is best for stealth camping. The answer varies depending on the type of stealth camping you want to do. If you’re out backpacking and decide to stay at a site where camping is uncommon due to heavy day use (be sure to …

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Ultralight Tarp Practice

Ultralight Tarp Pitch Pratice

I got some more practice today setting up a tarp and I’m finally feeling confident enough that I could actually use it as a shelter on a section hike if required. This time around, I practiced with an 8 x 8 ft square silnylon tarp that I own for hammock …

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Protec IT Band Wrap

Protec ITB Compresion Strap

Illiotibial Band Syndrome (ITB) can really slow down hikers and backpackers. I know, I’m suffering from it this sumer. But about 2 months ago, I bought myself a Protec Illiotibial Band wrap that has kept the condition under control and helped me hike some of the hardest miles on the …

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Following a Poorly Blazed Trail

White Blaze

I’ve hiked a lot of trails in New England where the trail blazing is erratic. Sometimes this is due to a shortage of tail maintainers and sometimes it’s deliberate, in order to create a greater sense of wilderness. Regardless of the cause, it can be unnerving, particularly when bad weather …

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Tarp Set Up Basics

On Sunday,  I spent a few hours in the woods by my house setting up tarps in a variety of configurations and it's fair to say that I need a lot more practice. I'd read about setting up tarps before trying it today, but it seems like I had to …

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Setting Up a Tarp

Ultralight Bivy Sack under a floorless Silnylon Square Tarp

When hiking on a long trail, it is important to bring along a fall back shelter system in case a shelter or hut is already full or if you run out of gas between between shelters. I address this by bringing a tarp, which lets me shave some additional weight …

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Iliotibial Band Syndrome: A Hiker’s Guide

Single Leg Toe Touch on a Bosu

On my last two section hikes, I experienced a cramping sensation in my left outer thigh on high mileage days. I attributed this to an electrolyte deficiency and brought along some extra salty items to compensate on my last trip. But the pain got worse and has persisted off trail. …

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Weight Saving Tip: Tent Footprints

Tent Footprint

If you are serious about lowering your backpacking base weight, you need to weigh and examine each item on your gear list and ask yourself if you can substitute it with a lighter weight alternative. For example, if you have a tent made by one of the larger commercial manufacturers, …

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Easy Backpacking Coffee Options

Tasters Choice Instant

A lot of backpackers really like having coffee in the morning. In fact, I have friends who are so fanatical about it that they roast there own coffee at home and bring coffee presses to make it on the trail. I like hiking with them because they're willing to carry …

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Snickers with Caffeine?

Snickers with Caffene

Snickers are a great trail food. They're easy to find if you're in town doing a resupply and they stand up pretty well in a hot food bag. They also contain a good mix of sugar and nuts that will give you a quick boost and then last a while. …

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