Hiking: Most Popular Articles
Thank you for taking the time to nominate and vote for your favorite daypacks in the 2013 Reader's Choice
These are the essentials you should always have in your pack, even on short day hikes (and the start of a packing list for long hikes or overnight trips).
It's easy, stimulating, and good for you too: Hiking is a sport with all sorts of benefits for both body and mind. Inspire yourself to make it a part of your fitness routine with these five reasons you should go hiking.
Quality hiking gear can cost an arm and a leg, but it doesn't have to. Here are some of the best places (in-person and online) to check for cheap gear year-round.
Many hikers and backpackers use baby wipes for quick clean-ups on the trail. But they can be improved upon, and somebody finally has.
Hiking in the rain doesn't have to be a miserable experience. The key is to dress properly, pack properly, and bring the right comfort items.
Here's a look at five top Grand Canyon hikes on the South Rim. The day hikes range from easy routes along the South Rim to more challenging outings that give you a chance to see the world of the canyon's depths.
Do this quick, simple test anywhere -- in the store or on the trail -- to figure out if your trekking poles are the right size.
Hiking poles sure come in handy -- until you don't need them anymore, at which point they become a big nuisance. Here's how to attach them to your backpack so you can go back to hiking hands-free.
Basic urine etiquette for both men and women, plus how not to bare your backside to the world when you've gotta go.
An avid hiker gives a frank review of the minimalist Merrell Proterra Vim Sport -- the women's entry in this line of lightweight hiking shoes.
The very best hiking boots or shoes are the ones that fit you perfectly. No need to wait for Prince (or Princess) Charming to show up with a glass slipper -- I'll show you how to test your hiking shoes and boots for the right fit, right now.
Peeing in a bottle might come naturally to guys, but don't worry -- women can do it too. Here's how to handle going number one when you don't want to -- or can't -- crawl out of the tent.
Hikes in Joshua Tree National Park explore a landscape of desert forests and surreal rock formations. Joshua Tree hikes also lead to hidden palm oases and to areas filled with spring wildflowers.
Hiking at night makes even the most familiar of trails exciting and new again. It's also a chance to see (or at least hear) new animals. If you live near well-traveled trails, night hikes may be one of your best chances to enjoy your favorite hike without a crowd. We've already covered the basic principles of night hiking, but there's still time for a few final tips before you hit the trail.
Knowing how to cross a river is an essential hiking skill. Preparation is key and so too is the ability to assess stream flow and determine a course of action.
It's one of the most frustrating ways possible of spending a hike. That's what postholing is.
You voted for your favorite hiking gear in the 2013 Reader's Choice Awards and the results are in! Get them while they're hot, and stay tuned for the next round of voting in 2014!
Hiking is a grand adventure -- your feet can take you to the most amazing places (and amazing views).
No matter what kind of hiker you are -- obsessive overpacker or ultralight -- you won't get far without these four essentials.
A night hike lets you experience familiar trails in a whole different way and engages more of your senses. Here some basic tips for how to go on a night hike.
A concise, printable packing list to help beginner backpackers decide what to carry.
Sticking with a group is always the safest way to travel, and I definitely don't advocate hiking alone. But I'm as guilty of breaking my own rules as anyone who's ever given the same advice. So if you're determined to go it solo, here are the basics of cutting your risks as much as possible.
Congratulations -- if your commute to the trailhead involves a plane, you're officially hardcore. Here's how not to lose your hiking gear to airport security.
Mountain lion attacks on humans are quite rare. But the big cats do live in or near many popular hiking areas, so follow these safety tips when you're hiking in mountain lion country.
Basic safety measures can help prevent hikers from getting lost on the trail. But knowing what to do if you get lost will reduce your chances of making mistakes that worsen the situation.
Spend enough time outdoors and, eventually, you'll have to defecate while out on the trail. Here's how to do so politely.
It's a great idea to maintain a hiking log and now smartphone apps make it simple to keep track of treks and trails.
Do you have what you need to survive if a hike goes wrong? Here's a look at what I carry in my emergency kit, and why.
Summer means hiking in hot weather. With a bit of planning, you can still hike safely. But you definitely should pay attention to conditions and take precautions to avoid such dangerous ailments as heat stroke and dehydration.
Head out on Zion National Park's top 5 hikes. Take these trails and you'll experience Zion hiking at its very best.
Hiking downhill isn't always the easiest part of a trek. Learn tips for getting down even the steepest of hikes safely.
Hit the trail with these tips on how to start hiking. You'll find advice about hiking equipment and clothing, where to find trails, and how to build up your skills.
No doubt about it, hiking uphill is a challenge -- but it's one that you can meet, and even enjoy, by using these simple tips.
There's no reason to stop hiking in winter. You may not go out on the coldest afternoons but by knowing how to dress for winter hikes, you can take advantage of more moderate days no matter where you live in the country.
Getting lost on a hike is scary, but preventable. Here's what you can do beforehand to prepare for the possibility, and how to handle it once you realize you're lost.
Snowshoes are great when the powder's deep -- but how are you supposed to carry them once you hit hard-packed ground? Find out here.
Spring hikes can provide the best -- and worst -- of both winter and summer. Here's how to pack, plan, and dress so you stay warm and comfortable on the trail.
A look behind the scenes of the accessible hiking trails at Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center in Greenfield, New Hampshire.
Yes, you can hike -- and backpack -- while menstruating. Here are the answers to frequently asked questions about handling your period in the great outdoors.
Despite the headlines, bear attacks are rare. But before hiking in black bear or grizzly habitat, you should learn basic bear safety tips that will help minimize the danger.
If you like getting outside in the winter, a warm sweater will only get you so far. The real trick is learning to combine that sweater with other layers of clothing to keep you warm and comfortable as you hike, no matter how fast or slow you're going (or how long a rest you decide to take).
Odds are pretty good that you've already heard of the "ten essentials" -- the best-known (and pretty
Hiking in gaiters keeps snow and mud from creeping up your pants or down into your boots -- but how do you put them on? Find out which way is up and where to put all those buckles.
Minimalist hiking may be a trend now, but it was once as simple as traipsing around in water shoes. Here are the nuts and bolts of hitting the trail in barely-there footwear, plus where to look for minimalist shoes.
Lightning is the third-leading cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S. Because safe shelter can be hard to find during a storm, hikers need to understand lightning safety guidelines.
Did you pack the ten essentials? Here's a quick checklist to help you make sure.
Learn how to be a low-impact hiker with these 10 tips for hiking responsibly. Simple steps will reduce your impacts and help protect the environment and the trail experience for your fellow hikers.
Wondering if hiking poles are worth the effort? Here's how to decide, along with examples of when they're most likely to come in handy.
Don't get lost on your next hike! Use these six tricks to stay aware of your surroundings and lost-proof yourself.
After buying a new pair of boots, the first think many hikers do is buy insoles too. Aftermarket insoles will help correct a few fit problems, but they're not for everybody.
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If having waterproof hiking boots really an advantage? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Here's how to decide whether you should buy waterproof footwear or not.
How to pack a backpack efficiently -- keeping everything you need within easy reach, and organized so that it rides comfortably as you hike.
A collection of the most common mistakes made by hiking rookies -- and some experienced hikers, too.
If you forgot your sunblock, use a bandana to protect the back of your neck. Page 3.
A tent vestibule is a sheltered area just outside the tent door, which may come separately or be integrated into the tent's construction.
I poop, you poop, we all poop -- and eventually you're going to have to do it outdoors. How to Sh*t in the Woods, by Kathleen Meyer, is part
The best way to train for hiking is to actually do it -- starting with short hikes you can handle and gradually working your way up to tougher trails. Here's how to put together your own training hikes.
Are you wondering what a hard-shell jacket is, or about the difference between hard- and soft-shell jackets? Here's an explanation, plus the pros and cons of choosing a hard shell.
Wondering if your trail etiquette is up to snuff? As long as you're not doing any of these six things, you're just fine.
Are you a backpacker or a slackpacker? Here's the difference between the two.
I'm picky about my hiking pants, so it took a lot for Mountain Hardwear's Yuma pants to win my love. Check out what I like about them, and the few counts on which I think they could be improved.
Meant for digging cat (toilet) holes in the backcountry, the compact, fold-up U-Dig-It comes in handy for other purposes as well.
Lock Laces may not be marketed directly toward hikers, but they're a great addition to light hiking footwear.
Confused by all the different types of backpacking sleeping pads out there? Here's what you need to know about which type -- and size -- to buy.
Bushwhacking begins with a hiker bent on forging through head-high undergrowth and, almost always, ends in misery.
When it comes to choosing a backpack, your hiking style and the length of your planned trip will determine which size you need.
I've always complained about having to suck on hydration hoses -- so when I discovered the Geigerrig pressurized hydration packs, I had to give one a try.
A full review after hands-on testing of the CamelBak All Clear, which finished a strong second in the 2013 Reader's Choice Awards.
It's best to hike in groups -- but what if you don't have a group to hike with (or if you're trying to convince a friend to join your group)? Here are the nuts and bolts of how to take a friend hiking for the first time, and leave him or her enthusiastic about doing it again.
Hike smarter, not colder! Try these simple tricks for keeping warm on your next cool-weather hike.
Buying a sleeping bag is pretty straightforward, but there are a few important decisions you have to make along the way -- here's a guide to all of them in one place.
No waterproof boots? No problem. If you're faced with a stretch of mud or water to wade through, you can always use plastic bags to waterproof your feet instead. Page 2.
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve may be the single most beautiful spot along the entire 1,100-mile California coast. An extensive hiking trail network leads through its forests and along a rocky shoreline that's home to sea otters, harbor seals, and sea lions.
Under the wrong circumstances, wearing cotton can leave you uncomfortable or even hypothermic. Here's why, and what you should wear instead.
Every year, the National Park Service offers several opportunities for fee-free access to National Parks. Get the dates for all five opportunities in 2013 right here.
Wondering what a soft-shell jacket is? I explain the difference between a hard shell and a soft shell, and compare their relative merits.
A head-to-head comparison of two excellent ice grippers: Kahtoola Microspikes and the Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra.
These sites frequently offer hiking gear and gadgets at steeply discounted prices. But watch out -- the best deals go incredibly fast!
If you're reading this in the wilderness, faced with an emergency, you're screwed. But if you're researching wilderness survival skills BEFORE you hit the trail, good for you! Here's a list of hiking apps that contain useful information about outdoor survival techniques. Both iOS and Android.
An experienced hiker summarizes the pros and cons of the most common types of backpacking shelters, including bivy sacks, camp hammocks, tarps and tents.
There's nothing worse than trying to take a big step on the trail and hearing your pants rip -- or even just feeling them hinder your movement. Here's how to make sure that won't happen.
If you don't take proper care of your sleeping bag, it won't keep you as warm. Here are three tips for making sure this vital piece of gear remains in tip-top condition.
You have dozens of types of outerwear to choose from, and most of them cost a pretty penny. Here's how to try on hiking jackets, and make sure the one you buy fits both you and your needs.
Exposure is actually more of a climbing term -- but it has some potentially serious implications for hikers, too.
A quick definition of DWR, in the context of hiking and backpacking gear.
Find out what a tent footprint is, why you might -- or might not -- need it, and how to make one.
Porcupines generally are not aggressive, but they will defend themselves against perceived threats. Page 6.
Simple and easy-to-use, Endomondo is a helpful and versatile app for hikers.
If you can't wear cotton for a hike, what should you wear? Either wool or synthetics; here's how they measure up.
With mountain lakes, hidden canyons, and beautiful views of towering peaks, Grand Teton hikes let you explore the best of one of the country's most impressive national parks.
Moose are beautiful in a gangly sort of way, but they're also notoriously irritable and weigh more than half a ton. Here's how to avoid moose conflict in the first place, and what to do if a moose charges you.
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Winter hiking gives you a peek into a world of starry night skies, glistening new snow, fairytale ice formations -- and cold temperatures. Layering on the clothing is just one part of the puzzle; you also need to keep your head, hands, and feet warm.
Hiking with a dog is a great chance to give your dog exercise and keep him or her stimulated. Simple precautions and planning will ensure that both you and your dog are safe on the trail.
My picks for the best hiking boots, based on hands-on testing and feedback from others.
From the perfect hiking tales to enjoy on rainy days, to the single book you've allowed yourself during a backpacking trip, to how-to books that'll teach you basic (or advanced) tactics on the trail, here's my list of the best hiking-related books.
Waterproof hiking gear is pretty much what it sounds like -- but there are a few catches.
An experienced hiker reviews the Jenica Stretch jacket, from the UK-based company Craghoppers.
Like its water-bladder brethren, the BPA-free Vapur Element is the epitome of convenience. It flattens
Most heavy-duty hiking boots are built to last -- but lighter footwear and cheaper boots can wear out more quickly. Here are some of the more subtle signs that it's time to buy new boots.
At its heart, hiking is a simple sport -- but the best hikers have mastered, or at least dabbled in, a variety of outdoor skills.
Are you shell-shocked by the variety of features you have to choose between when you shop for hiking boots? No problem -- this glossary tells you what you need to know about every major part of the boot.
The midweight Woolx X552 top excels in fit, comfort and temperature regulation, and when paired with a soft-shell jacket is comfortable in 20- to 25-degree weather, as long as you're moving.
Wondering how to handle bodily functions in the outdoors? Here's a guide to both the how and the why.
Get your kids out on the trail and start them on a lifetime of adventure. Hiking connects kids to the natural world, gives them exercise, and creates active quality time for the whole family. Here's a look at some things to consider when you're hiking with kids.
Some of the most spectacular hiking trails have exposed sections, where the consequences of a fall can be severe. Handling such terrain isn't just a physical challenge -- it's a mental challenge too.
Dayhiking doesn't have anything to do with when you go hiking -- it's all about how long the hike takes. Learn what this common term means, why dayhikes are worth doing, and how to prepare.
A printable packing list for dayhiking in mild weather.
Of all the ice grippers I've tested over the years, three stand out as the best for hiking.
What exactly is a backcountry hike? Here's a breakdown of what backcountry, frontcountry and slackcountry mean for hikers.
Although not as common as they once were, you'll still find pit zips on many hard-shell jackets.
A quick, comprehensive review of REI's Mistral soft-shell pants. Overall they fit and move very well and are weather-resistant, but not weatherproof.
Don't throw out those old hiking boots yet! Here are four ways you can squeeze a little -- or sometimes a lot -- more life out of them.
From help in emergencies to apps that track hiking activity, smartphones are versatile tools for the trail. Here's a quick look at few uses for your phone, as well as some safety tips to keep in mind.
One reader wants to know: Can I camp at my favorite hiking trailhead? Get the answer here from About.com's Guide to Hiking.
Although marketed as an approach shoe for climbers, the La Sportiva Boulder X is also a great choice for hikers.
You won't get far on the trail if your pants are too tight or your boots don't fit your feet (I've done both -- it was miserable). Here's how to make sure your essential pieces of gear fit you and do their jobs well.
Hiking is more than just a stroll in the woods! Here are six healthy benefits you can expect when you spend regular time on the trail.
Wondering how to work your way through that boulder field? Here's a primer on everything from locomotion to routefinding and risk management.
Ticks pack a major ick factor -- but there's a lot you can do to avoid them. Find out how, along with what to do if you discover a tick that's latched onto you.
A collection of tips for staying warm on winter backpacking trips.
An experienced hiker reviews the 850 fill-power Patagonia down jacket -- a lightweight, packable, and overall excellent outer or mid layer for winter hikes.
Despite an initial problem with one of the zippers, the SmartWool PhD HyFi full-zip hoody is now my favorite mid layer.
Estimates of how much body heat you lose through your head alone range from 40 percent to 70 percent. And guess what: They're wrong.
With a population of just under 300,000, Anchorage, Alaska contains nearly half the state's entire population.
The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics focuses on seven core principles -- these tips show how you can use those principles for hiking responsibly.
It's the fine details that separate the many collapsible water bottles (aka water bladders) you can use while hiking. Here's a quick rundown of the pros and cons for several types, plus links to full reviews.
The best outer layers you can wear for hiking are weatherproof -- but what, exactly, does that mean? -- find out here.
You're always told to file a trip plan -- but what exactly does that mean? Here's a guide to what information you should leave with a trusted contact person, just in case.
Scrambling is usually a rock climber's territory -- but every so often hikers may find themselves scrambling, too. And that means handling a few concerns that climbers usually don't have to worry about.
Problem laces? Not enough cushioning in the soles? Here's a collection of methods for tweaking your hiking boots to solve these and other common problems.
While we humans sometimes post signs warning about bear activity, the bears themselves leave plenty of clues that they're around. Page 4.
For women who want to urinate standing up, in closed quarters, or without having to drop their pants, urine directors -- a.k.a. pee funnels -- are the way to go.
A candid review of Arch Flex insoles from a hiker who, as a general rule, doesn't like insoles very much.
Do your toes get cold while you're hiking? These tips will help you keep them warm.
Do your hiking boots constantly come untied? Good news -- this is an easy problem to fix.
My picks for the best light hiking shoes, based on extensive hands-on -- okay, feet-on -- testing.
Find out where Liquid Solutions' Sof-Flex Sport bottle makes the grade, and where it falls short.
Aside from practical considerations like wildlife safety or handling emergencies, hiking as part of a group is just plain fun. But even your best friend's temper can fray if she's tired, footsore, and a long way from home. Here are some suggestions to help you all get along on the hiking trail.
There are zillions of hiking socks out there -- I'm reviewing them all, one pair at a time.
Do you want to be a through-hiker? Here's what that means, and a list of some of the best places to do it in the United States.
If you pack a lot of technology on the trail, the Mophie Powerstation PRO acts as an effective, compact on-the-go charger.
Water filters and purifiers accomplish the same purpose by different means. Here's an explanation of the differences between the two.
A candid, thorough review of the Asolo Stynger GTX hiking boot for women.
Wondering why you should bother with winter hiking? Here are six great reasons to make tracks in the snow.
If you're prepared, you don't have to stress -- you can just enjoy your hike. Use these tips to be proactive about safety on the trail.
Hiking in winter takes you into beautiful, untouched landscapes -- but it also exposes you to some backcountry hazards. Learn which hazards of winter hiking you should watch out for, and how to prepare to manage them.
The Scarpa Kailash GTX isn't built for extra-wide feet like mine, but I couldn't pass up the chance to at least take a closer look at them.