For Beginners

Campsite Regulations: The 200 Foot Rule

Fire Ring Containing Burnt Wood

I recently met a pair of new backpackers, Bill and Elena, and they asked me my opinion about the 200 foot rule. This is a  a backcountry camping rule in many federally regulated forests. Check your local regulations for specifics because they vary accross different federal and state jurisdictions. If you hike …

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Camping Gear Checklist

Campsite Setup Checklist -1

My wife has expressed a willingness, even a desire to go car camping with me. But we both get anxious when we have to pack up for a multi-day car camping trip, so I created this checklist of all the stuff we need to bring. It really helped minimize the …

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How Big is Your Headlamp?

Fenix LD01 Flashlight

“If you need a headlamp (in the beginning of June), you’ve messed up your trip planning,” said a very experienced hiker I know. Even so, I still carry one in summer because there are many things that you can’t control on a hike that can prevent you from pitching camp or cooking …

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How to Find a Lost Hiker

Where the hell are they?

This is a scenario we all dread: you’re on a group hike and one of the hikers in your group disappears. How can you prevent something like this from happening? What can you do to find them? Prevention Keep your group together during a hike. If you’re the trip leader …

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The Benefits of Peakbagging

Peakbagging Friends on Northwest Hancock Mountain

A lot of hikers look down at peakbagging as a motivation to get out and hike. I certainly viewed it with suspicion until I learned more about it. I got my first glimpse into the joys of peakbagging when I was hiking two National Scenic Trails – the Long Trail …

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What is the Footing Like in the White Mountains?

Above Treeline - From Adams to Madison

I’m co-leading a Backpacking Fundamentals trip in two months with Andrew Skurka, and one of our students contacted me over the weekend for help with his homework. He’s been assigned the Footing section of the Environmental Conditions Assessment we have students collaborate on before the trip. The purpose of the Environmental …

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Leave No Trace Camping

Compressed Leaves Where I Slept Under My Tarp

One of my facebook readers left a comment yesterday, questioning why anyone would bury the ash generated by a wood stove (see my Solo Wood Stove Review) when it would naturally dissipate on its own. Burying my ashes is one of the things I do to practice Leave No Trace …

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