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Hiking: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
How not to freeze your butt off on winter hikes
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).
2013 Reader's Choice Awards: Finalists for Best...
Essential specs for all five finalists in the
What to pack for your first dayhike
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).
Are your hiking poles the right length?
Do this quick, simple test anywhere -- in the store or on the trail -- to figure out if your trekking poles are the right size.
How to Dress for Winter Hikes
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.
A printable packing list for your first...
A concise, printable packing list to help beginner backpackers decide what to carry.
5 Top Joshua Tree Hikes
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.
How to make sure your hiking boots fit
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.
How to Hike in the Rain Without Being Miserable
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.
How to Attach Hiking Poles to Your Backpack
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. Page 2.
Your picks for the best daypacks: 2013 Reader's...
Thank you for taking the time to nominate and vote for your favorite daypacks in the 2013 Reader's Choice
11 Places to Score Inexpensive Hiking Gear
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.
Go hands free! How to attach snowshoes to your...
If your pack is wide enough, side compression straps are one of the best ways to carry snowshoes.
New to hiking? Here are your gear essentials.
No matter what kind of hiker you are -- obsessive overpacker or ultralight -- you won't get far without these four essentials.
5 Reasons You Should Start Hiking
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.
Keep your head, hands and feet warm on a winter...
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.
What is Postholing?
It's one of the most frustrating ways possible of spending a hike. That's what postholing is.
What camping gear the TSA will (and won't)...
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.
A great minimalist hiking shoe: The Merrell...
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.
How to Pee While Hiking
Basic urine etiquette for both men and women, plus how not to bare your backside to the world when you've gotta go.
The 2014 About Hiking gift guide
Must-have gear picks that even the pickiest, best-equipped of hikers will love.
The best ice grippers for winter hikes
Of all the ice grippers I've tested over the years, these stand out as the best for hiking.
What's in your hiking emergency kit? (Here's...
When choosing an emergency knife to carry on my hikes, I look for two or three criteria -- depending on whether it folds.
Winter is coming! Here's how to keep warm on...
Hike smarter, not colder! Try these simple tricks for keeping warm on your next cool-weather hike.
Can Women Pee in a Bottle While Backpacking?
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.
11 fun trail activities for hikers
Hiking is a grand adventure -- your feet can take you to the most amazing places (and amazing views).
Hiking 101: How to put on gaiters
Are you confused about how to put on hiking gaiters? Here's a guide to which part goes where.
Pit zips -- what they are and why they're still...
Although not as common as they once were, you'll still find pit zips on many hard-shell jackets.
Thinking of getting lost on a hike? Read this...
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.
How to waterproof your feet with plastic bags
Didn't expect that mud or soggy ground? Hole-free plastic bags are a great way to waterproof your feet.
Determined to hike alone? Here's how to do it...
Sticking with a group is the safest way to travel -- but if you're determined to go it solo, here's how to cut your risks as much as possible.
The solution(s) to cold toes on the trail
Do your toes get cold while you're hiking? Here's how to identify and troubleshoot the most common causes of cold feet and toes.
Safe Hiking in Mountain Lion Country
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.
Hard-shell jackets: What they're good for and...
Get the scoop on what a hard-shell jacket is, when it's preferable to a soft shell, and how hard shells are changing with the times.
Soft-shell jackets: The most breathable...
Wondering what a soft-shell jacket is? I explain the difference between a hard shell and a soft shell, and compare their relative merits.
Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra vs. Kahtoola...
A head-to-head comparison of two excellent ice grippers: Kahtoola Microspikes and the Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra.
How to keep the inside of your tent dry
Learn how to keep the inside of your tent dry, even in a rainstorm.
Hiking and menstruation: Totally not a big deal
Yes, you can hike -- and backpack -- while menstruating. Here are the answers to frequently asked questions about handling your period in the great outdoors.
When waterproof boots are appropriate, and when...
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.
4 things you should know before your next night...
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.
Why not to wear cotton on a hike
Under the wrong circumstances, wearing cotton can leave you uncomfortable or even hypothermic. Here's why, and what you should wear instead.
Your picks for the best backpacking stove --...
A look at vital specs on each of the finalists for
A walk through the ten essentials for outdoor...
A visual slideshow of the ten essentials, plus discussion on what gear actually satisfies each essential need.
5 reasons you should wear merino wool
If you can't wear cotton for a hike, what should you wear? Either wool or synthetics; here's how they measure up.
Minimalist hiking: Only appropriate sometimes...
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.
How to Poop While Hiking
Spend enough time outdoors and, eventually, you'll have to defecate while out on the trail. Here's how to do so politely.
Top 5 Grand Canyon Hikes
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.
Hiking Safety: How to Cross a River
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.
What size backpack do you need?
When it comes to choosing a backpack, your hiking style and the length of your planned trip will determine which size you need.
De-stink on the trail: Action wipes really work!
Many hikers and backpackers use baby wipes for quick clean-ups on the trail. But they can be improved upon, and somebody finally has.
How to Go on a Night Hike
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.
How to Start Hiking
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.
A ten essentials checklist for hikers
Did you pack the ten essentials? Here's a quick checklist to help you make sure.
Do you have the right size snowshoes?
Snowshoes aren't quite one size fits all -- here's how to make sure you get the right pair.
Snowshoeing 101 for hikers
Once winter hits, hiking in snowshoes is one of the best ways to get around. Don't worry, it's even easier than it looks.
Taboo! 7 things a hiker should never, ever do
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.
Who knew it'd be this good? The Patagonia down...
An experienced hiker reviews the 850 fill-power Patagonia down jacket -- a lightweight, packable, and overall excellent outer or mid layer for winter hikes.
Pretty much everything you ever wanted to know...
Waterproof hiking gear is pretty much what it sounds like -- but there are a few catches.
Quick Review: Lock Laces for Hiking Shoes
Lock Laces may not be marketed directly toward hikers, but they're a great addition to light hiking footwear.
Look out for that moose! Moose safety for hikers
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.
How to make sure your hiking jacket fits
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.
How to navigate downhill slopes gracefully
Hiking downhill isn't always the easiest part of a trek. Learn tips for getting down even the steepest of hikes safely.
A Zip-Up Gaiter? Is It Worth It?
A review of the first zip-up gaiter I've ever encountered: The Hillsound Super Armadillo Nano Gaiter.
The Best Books for Hikers
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.
Make hiking uphill look easy... okay, easier
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.
A quick explanation of durable water repellent...
A quick definition of DWR, in the context of hiking and backpacking gear.
Look like a pro next time you go snowshoeing:
At its most basic, hiking in snowshoes is just like going out for a walk -- but there's still room for some fine-tuning.
2013 About Hiking Readers' Choice Awards
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!
Weatherproofing: Real protection against the...
The best outer layers you can wear for hiking are weatherproof -- but what, exactly, does that mean? -- find out here.
Slackpacking may be cushy, but it's still a hike!
Are you a backpacker or a slackpacker? Here's the difference between the two.
Getting Lost While Hiking
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.
Where to look for hiking buddies
Fond of hiking, but your friends aren't? Or maybe they're just all too busy to hit the trail. Here are some great places to find new hiking buddies.
Get the list: The top 8 hiking boots
My picks for the best hiking boots, based on hands-on testing and feedback from others.
Brrrr no more! 17 ways to keep warm on a winter...
A collection of tips for staying warm on winter backpacking trips.
Get more use out of your hiking poles with...
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.
Your picks for the best backpacking packs:...
A compilation of vital specs for all five finalists in the 2013 Reader's Choice Awards category for
Gear Review: Arch Flex Insoles
A candid review of Arch Flex insoles from a hiker who, as a general rule, doesn't like insoles very much.
Gear Review: Deuter ACT Lite 45 + 10 SL
A hiker's review of the Deuter ACT Lite 45 + 10 SL women's backpack -- a supremely comfortable pack at a reasonably light weight.
The real meaning of exposure for hikers
Exposure is actually more of a climbing term -- but it has some potentially serious implications for hikers, too.
5 hazards of winter hiking
Hiking in winter takes you into beautiful, untouched landscapes -- but it also exposes you to some unique backcountry hazards.
Here's what to carry on an overnight hike
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Packing for your
What is Bushwhacking?
Bushwhacking begins with a hiker bent on forging through head-high undergrowth and, almost always, ends in misery.
What's a tent vestibule?
A tent vestibule is a sheltered area just outside the tent door, which may come separately or be integrated into the tent's construction.
Nifty Things You Can Do With a Bandana
If you forgot your sunblock, use a bandana to protect the back of your neck.
Printable packing list for a dayhike
A printable packing list for dayhiking in mild weather.
Happy feet: Top picks for hiking socks
There are zillions of hiking socks out there -- I'm reviewing them all, one pair at a time.
The best headlamps for hikers
An experienced hiker picks the headlamps that provide the best combination of portability and lighting.
How to Train for a Long, Tough Hike
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.
Bear Safety for Hikers
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.
Your picks for the best water filters: 2013...
A look at critical specs for the five finalists for a 2013 Reader's Choice Award for best water filter/purifier.
A Glossary of Hiking Boot Features
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.
Clean water at the push of a button: The...
A full review after hands-on testing of the CamelBak All Clear, which finished a strong second in the 2013 Reader's Choice Awards.
Scrambling for hikers: How not to go rock...
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.
Here's an awesome hard shell: the Mountain...
Get the lowdown on the Mountain Hardwear Spinoza, a hard shell jacket for climbing and hiking.
A hiker's guide to answering nature's call
Wondering how to handle bodily functions in the outdoors? Here's a guide to both the how and the why.
Packed weight vs. Trail weight: What the heck...
Why do tents have so many different listed weights? Find out what minimum trail weight, packed weight and fly pitch weight mean.
Hiking Apps for Wilderness Survival
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.
Garbage bags can save your life in a hiking...
Six ways garbage bags can save your life, or at least make you more comfortable, during a hiking emergency.
That thing about losing most of your body heat...
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.
Book Review: How to Sh*t in the Woods
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
How to Find Hiking Pants That Fit
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.
A great midlayer: The SmartWool PhD HyFi hoody
Despite an initial problem with one of the zippers, the SmartWool PhD HyFi full-zip hoody is now my favorite mid layer.
All About Hiking Boots and Shoes
How can I tell if my boots fit? Should they be waterproof? When do I need to replace them? Find the answer to these and other common questions about hiking footwear.
Need hiking gear fast? Here's where to rent:
Need hiking gear fast? Rent it! Includes nationwide gear renters and a state-by-state listing of local providers.
A great do-it-all value in a shell: The REI...
The REI Motility offers surprisingly good performance -- and even more surprising four-way stretch! -- at a solid value.
9 rookie hiking mistakes to avoid
A collection of the most common mistakes made by hiking rookies -- and some experienced hikers, too.
Thru-hiking 101
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.
How to handle exposed terrain on a hike
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.
How to handle even the gnarliest hiking terrain
Varied terrain -- and distance from home -- are two of the biggest characteristics that separate hiking from walking. Learn how to navigate the irregular terrain you're likely to encounter on the trail.
Should I buy insoles for hiking? Maybe.
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.
Avoiding theft at trailheads
Hiking trailheads are common sites for vehicle break-ins. Find out what you can do to protect your car and your belongings.
6 great reasons to try winter hiking
Wondering why you should bother with winter hiking? Here are six great reasons to make tracks in the snow.
Hey hikers! Have you mastered these 11 skills?
At its heart, hiking is a simple sport -- but the best hikers have mastered, or at least dabbled in, a variety of outdoor skills.
Terrain traps and why you should care (yes, you!)
Terrain traps may look innocent, but they could be the death of you.
Lighter and warmer than wool: These socks are...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >This has been
3 Rules for Packing Your Backpack
How to pack a backpack efficiently -- keeping everything you need within easy reach, and organized so that it rides comfortably as you hike.
How to still be friends at the end of a long hike
Even your best friend's temper can fray if she's tired, footsore, and a long way from home. Here's how to maintain hiking friendships, even in challenging situations.
The 9 best dayhikes near Anchorage, Alaska
With a population of just under 300,000, Anchorage, Alaska contains nearly half the state's entire population.
How to stay oriented, even in the fog
Hiking in the fog can be a magical experience -- but it's also a great way to get thoroughly lost or walk right off a cliff. Here's how to keep oriented.
5 signs you need new hiking boots (aside from...
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.
10 Tips for Responsible Hiking
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.
Where Are You Hiking? Backcountry vs....
What exactly is a backcountry hike? Here's a breakdown of what backcountry, frontcountry and slackcountry mean for hikers.
Foot care, during and after long hikes
You won't get far if your feet aren't happy. Learn how to take care of them during and between hikes.
A primer on water purification methods
Water filters and purifiers accomplish the same purpose by different means. Here's an explanation of the differences between the two.
Make sure you know your footprint from your...
Do you know a fly from a footprint? Before you pitch your tent for the first time, brush up on each of the parts and their functions.
Lightning Safety for Hikers
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.
A review of the Osprey Exos 38 "SuperLight" pack
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >The 2 lb., 5 oz.
Safe Hiking in Hot Weather
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.
Like studded tires for your feet: Icebug's...
Find out how well Icebug's studded SPEED-L BUGrip boots work for hiking in icy Alaskan conditions.
Best for hiking in aggressive terrain: The La...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >A couple of months
Functional women's hiking pants that look good:...
Mountain Hardwear's most popular hiking pant not only offers great fit and function, it even looks good doing it.
Everything you need to know about snowshoeing
Don't let winter stop you in your tracks! Here's everything you need to know about hiking in snowshoes, from buying your first pair of snowshoes to tips for enjoying more adventurous outings.
Tips for Planning a Romantic Valentine's Day Hike
Have you done a Valentine's Day picnic and feel ready for the next step? Welcome to Romantic Hiking (with food) 101.
The best fit tests you'll ever need for hiking...
You won't get far on the trail if things don't fit! Use these tests to make sure you'll get the right footwear and clothing fit for the trail.
How to handle those scary wildlife encounters
Learn how to deal with common wild animals you may encounter while hiking in your area.
Is That You, Yogi? A Gallery of Bear Tracks,...
Click through to see the difference in front and rear prints of a brown bear, left in fresh snow.
Snowshoe Hiking - How to Get Up if You Fall
Hiking on snowshoes is a great way to log trail time in snowy weather -- but what if you fall? Here's how to avoid floundering around in deep snow.
You Asked: Which Is the Best Urine Director?
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.
Daily Deal Sites That Feature Hiking Gear
These sites frequently offer hiking gear and gadgets at steeply discounted prices. But watch out -- the best deals go incredibly fast!
Trailguru and MapMyHIKE: Two Easy-to-Use Hiking...
It's a great idea to maintain a hiking log and now smartphone apps make it simple to keep track of treks and trails.
Help! My Hiking Boots Keep Coming Untied!
Do your hiking boots constantly come untied? Good news -- this is an easy problem to fix.
Vapur Element Collapsible Water "Bottle"
Like its water-bladder brethren, the BPA-free Vapur Element is the epitome of convenience. It flattens
Which is Best? Water Filters vs. Water Purifiers
My breakdown of which type of water filter -- or purifier -- I'd choose in which circumstances.
Why the balance between waterproof/breathable...
Why the balance between waterproofing and breathability matters so much for hikers.
Don't get swept away! Flash flood safety for...
Flash floods are fast and dangerous, and they can happen anywhere, at any time -- although they're most common in dry lands that are quickly inundated by water.
Hiking Boot Review: Scarpa Kailash GTX
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.
How to Get in Shape for Hiking
Hiking is great exercise in its own right -- but if you want to get ready for a tough hike, some cross-training may be in order!
What breathability means, how it's measured,...
Why breathability matters for hikers, how it's measured, and what it means in terms of choosing outerwear.
Hiking With Smartphones
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.
6 ways hiking can benefit your physical and...
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.
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