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The Overlook: Backpacking in a Time of Uncertainty

Is backpacking suddenly...hard? Ben Kilbourne understands, and discusses how to deal with it during uncertain times.

Life in the Dog House: A Survey of the One-Person Tent, With History

Some observations on cheap one-person shelters, including on their design, proliferation, and history, and comparison between some shelters.

Learning Curve: Learning to Suffer

BPL columnist Maggie Slepian unpacks suffering in endurance sports.

Gratitude and Recovery After Outdoor Trauma

BPL author Rex Sanders meditates on gratitude and 2020 as he recovers from a traumatic brain injury during the time of COIVD and wildfires.

Unpacked: When Gear Owns You

A recent multi-sport adventure got BPL columnist Mark Wetherington thinking about gear and our relationship to it.

Standards Watch: Tent Designer Mike Cecot-Scherer Talks Standards

Rex Sanders interviews long-time gear designer Mike Cecot-Scherer about a range of common gear standards.

The Overlook: Understanding Livestock Grazing in Wilderness Areas

BPL columnist Ben Kilbourne uses a close encounter to examine the practice of livestock grazing on public land.

A Gear Confession

Chances are, you've got something in your pack that could be lighter, but it works for you. Maggie Slepian shares her heaviest items.

Learning Curve: A Shoulder Season Reminder

BPL columnist Maggie Slepian reminds new and old hands alike to prepare for shoulder-season backpacking accordingly.

Unpacked: “Free Outside” by Jeff Garmire Book Review

BPL columnist Mark Wetherington reviews the book “Free Outside” by fellow BPL member and author - and Colorado Trail FKT holder - Jeff Garmire.

Learning Curve: Breaking Loose

I fell into a rut, like many of us when an activity is familiar and comfortable. It took connecting with a more experienced backpacker to show me I had the knowledge and skills to push myself into new territory.

The Overlook: Othering in the Outdoors

BPL columnist Ben Kilbourne was on a trail run when he suddenly found himself in a mask-related confrontation. What happened next got him thinking.

Standards Watch: Steve Seeber Interview

In this installment of Standards Watch, Rex interviews testing and standards development expert Steve Seeber.

Adapting to Changing Wildfires: Part Three

In part three of his series on modern wildfires, Rex Sanders uses video and animation to help you visualize just how crazy this wildfire season has been.

Adapting to Changing Wildfires: Part Two

In part two of his essay series on modern wildfires, Rex Sanders explores how backpackers must adapt to the new normal.

Adapting to Changing Wildfires: Part One

In the first part of his series on modern wildfires, Rex Sanders runs through the most common dangers associated with wildfires - and what you can do about them.

Book Review: “The Cold Vanish: Seeking the Missing in North America’s Wildlands”

Backpacking Light columnist Mark Wetherington is no stranger to risk assessment. But this non-fiction account of search-and-rescue operations in North America gave him chills.

Q & A with Shilletha Curtis

Shilletha Curtis was awarded a Backpacking Light Diversity Grant in 2020 to help her prepare, acquire gear, and train for her next dream: hiking the Triple Crown. We caught up with Shilletha for a quick interview.

Learning Curve: In Over Your Head

The Learning Curve is a new column by outdoor journalist Maggie Slepian. In this installment, she talks about how easy it is to find yourself in over your head in the outdoors.

Improving R-values For Consumers

Sleeping pad R-values are not useful for many consumers, and the guidance from pad makers, retailers, and gear reviewers is inconsistent and prone to misinterpretation. This is a proposal for improved labeling and marketing of R-values.

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