Shangri-Lite at 62 – Haute Route at 20 Pounds or Less

On the Haute Route, a 21-pound pack is over-inflated. At sixty-two well-used years, I submitted myself to random weight checks to remain sub-twenty pounds and passed most of them. Making the formula feasible are the huts and hotels which always appear just when you've had enough.

Ultralight Backpacking in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca

With dozens of peaks above 6,000 meters (nearly 20,000 feet), Peru’s Cordillera Blanca range is one of the highest, most rugged sections of the Andes, and the most heavily glaciated of any mountains in the planet’s equatorial zone. It is a well-known mountain climbing destination, and hundreds of kilometers of hikeable trails have made the range increasingly popular among trekkers.

Photo Essay: Packrafting the Madison River

Stretches of the Madison River can be described as a "booze cruise," where innertube flotillas of relaxing college students and drift boats of fly-fishers fill the river. The Bear Trap canyon isn't one of those stretches, especially during spring snowmelt.

Packrafting Utah’s Escalante River in Late March

At 1.6 cfs in the Escalante, would there be more packrafting or raft-packing for our intrepid explorers?

Therapeutic Ultralight: Using Lightweight Backpacking to Help Troubled Boys

Getting emotionally disturbed boys working together to take a backpacking trip is a big job... with many setbacks, limited gear, and almost no budget.

Aniakchak Adventure

Packrafts open up the lunatic fringe of National Parks. We hiked into the Aniakchak Caldera and Surprise Lake to packraft down the Aniakchak to the Pacific Ocean.



John Muir’s Birthplace – a Photo Essay

John Muir will be forever linked with the High Sierra and California, but it was far from there that his life began, in the little coastal town of Dunbar on the southeast coast of Scotland.

Uncovering the Truth: Underground Doping in the Long Distance Hiking Community

When Jason Goldman* (not his real name) completed a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail in less than 100 days, not too many people paid attention: it had been hiked faster by others. But this was Jason's third thru-hike of the PCT. His previous two were completed in 183 and 174 days, respectively...


Backpacking Light (, an internet-based community of hikers known for their pro-wilderness values, is forging partnerships with organizations such as the pro-trails Blue Ribbon Coalition ( to join forces in the fight for American Wilderness preservation.

Metamorphosis #4: Monocle

It is amazing how removing so much from one's hands puts so much at one's fingertips.

Metamorphosis #3: Walking the Edge

At the onset of my affiliation with Backpacking Light, my base weight stood at a whopping sixty pounds. After several months worth of hand-wringing and basic re-education in the art of backpacking, I'd dropped my base weight to nineteen pounds.

Metamorphosis #2: A Change in Attitude

Compared to the expertise written into surrounding pages, a nineteen-pound base weight must look like an embarrassingly tight pair of pants. With another ten pounds in food and water, my thirty-pound pack still needs heavy trimming.

Metamorphosis #1: Confessions of a Heavyweight Backpacker

At the trailhead, I saddle up: I don't carry my pack. It rides me. My steel-toed boots thunder along the trail, resonating tremors deep into the ground of high country tundra. My shirt clings heavily with perspiration, the soles of my feet cry out for air, and my shoulders ache for reprieve. My name is Nathan Boddy, and I have a backpacking problem.

Backpacking in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Photo Essay

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, situated in the southwestern Highlands, is Scotland's first national park, encompassing a beautiful area of mountains, forests, rivers, and lochs surrounding Loch Lomond itself, the largest lake in Britain.

Grand Canyon Rim-2-Rim-2-Rim

While perhaps a touch extreme, running Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim (RRR) is not uncommon within trail running circles. But within hiking circles, this trek does not seem to garner much attention, when there are few trips, mile-for-mile, hour-for-hour, that compare. In one day, you pass through 1.6 billion years of geology (four times) and span the grandest Big Ditch in the world (twice).

The Unbearable Heaviness of Business and the State of Outdoor Retailer

There is a cost of doing business in the outdoor industry, especially as a collective whole. Can social media alleviate some of that cost, or is it simply a mechanism for increasing the clutter of information coming from OR?

Winter in Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

The Cairngorm Plateau consists of bare, stony undulating terrain and can seem benign in clear, summer weather. However it's edged with cliffs and steep slopes, and poor visibility is common as clouds sweep across the slopes. Join Chris Townsend as he crosses the Plateau on a freezing winter day.

Podcast: Alpacka Packraft Safety Design Features

Designer Sheri Tingey talks about the history of safety design in Alpacka packrafts and the latest tweaks she's made to the boats to improve whitewater performance and safety.

Tea House Trekking: Lightweight to Everest Base Camp

Join Ron Rod as he explores Nepal in July: monsoon season.

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