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Trouble in Paradise: Altitude Illness in SEKI

Serious illness in remote areas can end poorly. Knowing your group's fitness level, experience, and lightweight ethic are key parts to a successful self-rescue and a happy ending.

Philmont Scout Ranch: How Light Can You Go?

After taking a Wilderness Trekking course from Andrew Skurka and Don Wilson, I wanted to try the Philmont Scout Ranch in a UL style. By stepping out of my existing comfort zone, I discovered a whole new one.

Selling Lightweight: How Retailers Can Help Your Pack Weight

The interactions between retailer and consumer can have a dramatic influence on the gear carried and experience had by a consumer. We examine the tools both retailers and consumers can use in evaluating gear and determining the best lightweight options for individuals.

Walking on Fire: A Light-Hiker’s Guide to Wildfire Awareness, Survival, and Evasion (Part 3 of 3)

We've covered several skills of assessing and avoiding fire. Whether passing through, sheltering in, or simply going near a fire area, there are particular hazards beyond immolation to be aware of.

Walking on Fire: A Light-Hiker’s Guide to Wildfire Awareness, Survival, and Evasion (Part 2 of 3)

We can now distinguish parts of a fire, know some basics of wildfire behavior, and are familiar with the fundamental suppression method. We come to the crux question: how do you get away?

Walking on Fire: A Light-Hiker’s Guide to Wildfire Awareness, Survival, and Evasion (Part 1 of 3)

As light hikers, we cover large distances and travel more deeply into remote areas than many other wilderness users. As a result, we're more likely than most wilderness users to encounter uncontrolled and unreported fires. How do you assess the fire and anticipate its movement? What do you do?

The Performance of Alcohol Fuels for Backpacking Stoves
Part Two: Water/Alcohol Blends

The performance of a particular alcohol stove fuel is generally related to the amount of heating energy in that fuel, which changes when you blend water into different alcohols. But how does it change, and which blend should you use?

The Performance of Alcohol Fuels for Backpacking Stoves
Part One: Three Straight Alcohols and Alcohol Blends

Light alcohol stoves are very popular, but there is a lot of confusion over what sort of alcohol should be used and whether blending different alcohols together has any effect. In this, Part One, we comprehensively examine the performance and safety of three common alcohol fuels and of a range of blends.

Train Yourself to Hike a 30-Mile Day

You have been invited on a summer backpacking trip that will cover 30 miles in one day, including 2,000 feet of elevation gain and loss, and your anticipated pack weight will be 15-20 pounds. You have 15 weeks to prepare. What is the best way to get your body and mind ready for such an outing?

My UL Frenzy: Twenty-Five Weekends of Backpacking in the White Mountains and Beyond

2008: A Year of Change. Follow Jim Bailey on his rabid quest to hike every possible weekend between March and November, despite living in New England with its record-breaking weather.

Tools and Techniques to Sew Like a Pro

While practice is the real key to improving the quality of your homemade gear, there are some tools and techniques that can help you along the way. Knowing which tools to have and how to best use them will maximize the quality of the gear you build.

Video: Packraft Wet Reentry

Wet reentry is one of the most common rescues you'll perform while packrafting. Be sure to work the kinks out of your technique ahead of time so this self-rescue tool will be honed when you need it.

Packraft Wet Reentry Photo Demo

Foot entrapment among submerged rocks is the leading killer of whitewater boaters. Think about it: the most common way to die while boating is by doing something OUTSIDE your boat!

Podcast: Packrafting Safety Tips from the Experts Part 3

Seven packrafters with a total of over thirty-five years of experience under their bums share the safety gear they won't be without, skills that have kept them coming back for more, common - and dangerous - mistakes, and real life rescue stories.

Essential Canister Stove Maintenance

There you are, way out in the wilderness in bad weather, getting ready for dinner, and your canister stove fails. Now what? Rescue in the field is possible for many problems: learn rescue how-to and the technical details of why it has happened.

Podcast: Packrafting Safety Tips from the Experts Part 2

Seven packrafters with a total of over thirty-five years of experience under their bums share the safety gear they won't be without, skills that have kept them coming back for more, common - and dangerous - mistakes, and real life rescue stories.

Podcast: Packrafting Safety Tips from the Experts Part 1

Seven packrafters with a total of over thirty-five years of experience under their bums share the safety gear they won't be without, skills that have kept them coming back for more, common - and dangerous - mistakes, and real life rescue stories.

Pitching a Tent in the Snow

Want to try tenting in the snow, but haven't done it before and not sure how? Haven't time in the evening to build a snow cave or an igloo just for one night? We walk you through the basics of what gear you need, how to choose a good site, how to create a platform, and how to pitch your tent (or a tarptent if you are brave).

Testimony: How I Fell for Lightweight Backpacking

Fate stepped in and pushed me down some steps in November 2006, breaking my fibula at the ankle, requiring surgical repair. I asked my surgeon if I could backpack the following summer, and he said "If you can get your pack down to thirty pounds, you can backpack." My lightweight journey was launched in earnest.

Vapor Barrier Liners

Backpacking Light's Andrew Skurka on Vapor Barrier Liners: What they are, how they work, and when to use them.

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