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.

9 Essential Ultralight Backpacking Skills

9 Essential Ultralight Backpacking Skills

Ultralight backpacking requires an extreme form of self-reliance where backpackers compensate for bringing less gear by having more advanced backcountry skills. While many other backpackers and day hikers have these same skills, “going ultralight,” or the less extreme “lightweight” is more committing, since ultralight backpackers carry less navigational, comfort, and convenience items in their packs. …

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10 More Winter Hiking and Backpacking Hacks

10 More Winter Hiking and Backpacking Hacks

Winter hiking, backpacking, and camping in snow and mountainous terrain requires additional skills and experience that are hard to come by unless you do it and make a few mistakes along the way. I was fortunate to have some excellent mentors who taught me the basics and I picked up …

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10 Winter Hiking and Backpacking Hacks

10 Winter Hiking and Backpacking Hacks

There is really no substitute for experience when it comes to winter hiking, backpacking, and camping. You can read about it in books and watch videos, but the best way to learn is to go out with an experienced friend who can teach you the ropes. Here are a few …

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Vapor Barrier Socks Using Reynolds Oven Bags

Reynolds Oven Bags make excellent vapor barrier socks for very cold winter hiking

Reynolds Oven Bags can be used as vapor barrier socks for cold winter hiking. They prevent foot perspiration from degrading the insulation inside your boots and freezing overnight when winter camping. This is especially valuable if your insulated boots do not have removable liners. Vapor Barrier Clothing If you’re not …

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Winter Traction and When to Wear It

Winter Traction and When to Wear It

Winter hikers use three different kinds of traction devices in winter: microspikes, mountaineering crampons, and snowshoes. Microspikes and mountaineering crampons are used to provide traction on ice and packed snow while snowshoes are mainly used to provide flotation on top of unconsolidated snow.  However, putting on microspikes, mountaineering crampons, or snowshoes …

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Wilderness Navigation and Route Planning

Wilderness Navigation and Route Planning

Wilderness navigation requires planning routes across terrain that doesn’t have pre-defined trails or roads to follow. While following a route using a map and compass, GPS, map-to-terrain association or just dead reckoning is required, those tools and techniques don’t provide you with the skills to plan good cross-country routes. Part art and part …

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Winter Weather Forecasting in Mountainous Terrain

Winter Weather Forecasting in Mountainous Terrain

If you’re going to hiking or backpack in mountainous terrain in winter, you should learn about the prevailing weather patterns and forecasting tools that are are available for planning hikes and other backcountry tours. The weather in valleys seldom matches the weather at higher elevations, especially in terms of temperature …

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