Hiking: Most Popular Articles
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).
Essential specs for all five finalists in the
A concise, printable packing list to help beginner backpackers decide what to carry.
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.
Thank you for taking the time to nominate and vote for your favorite daypacks in the 2013 Reader's Choice
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.
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.
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.
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.
No matter what kind of hiker you are -- obsessive overpacker or ultralight -- you won't get far without these four essentials.
Hiking is a grand adventure -- your feet can take you to the most amazing places (and amazing views).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Many hikers and backpackers use baby wipes for quick clean-ups on the trail. But they can be improved upon, and somebody finally has.
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.
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.
A look at vital specs on each of the finalists for
Basic urine etiquette for both men and women, plus how not to bare your backside to the world when you've gotta go.
With its vast open spaces and forests, Maine is one of the country's prime destinations for fall color hikes. Here's a look leading destinations for autumn foliage hikes in Maine.
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.
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.
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.
Sticking with a group is 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's how to cut your risks as much as possible.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hiking downhill isn't always the easiest part of a trek. Learn tips for getting down even the steepest of hikes safely.
Spend enough time outdoors and, eventually, you'll have to defecate while out on the trail. Here's how to do so politely.
Odds are pretty good that you've already heard of the "ten essentials" -- the best-known (and pretty
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.
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.
Yes, you can hike -- and backpack -- while menstruating. Here are the answers to frequently asked questions about handling your period in the great outdoors.
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.
A tent vestibule is a sheltered area just outside the tent door, which may come separately or be integrated into the tent's construction.
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.
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.
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 having waterproof hiking boots really an advantage? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Here's how to decide whether you should buy waterproof footwear or not.
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.
An experienced hiker reviews the 850 fill-power Patagonia down jacket -- a lightweight, packable, and overall excellent outer or mid layer for winter hikes.
Did you pack the ten essentials? Here's a quick checklist to help you make sure.
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.
My picks for the best hiking boots, based on hands-on testing and feedback from others.
Exposure is actually more of a climbing term -- but it has some potentially serious implications for hikers, too.
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.
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.
Of all the ice grippers I've tested over the years, these stand out as the best for hiking.
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.
Although not as common as they once were, you'll still find pit zips on many hard-shell jackets.
It's a great idea to maintain a hiking log and now smartphone apps make it simple to keep track of treks and trails.
Wondering what a soft-shell jacket is? I explain the difference between a hard shell and a soft shell, and compare their relative merits.
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Packing for your
My breakdown of which type of water filter -- or purifier -- I'd choose in which circumstances.
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.
How to pack a backpack efficiently -- keeping everything you need within easy reach, and organized so that it rides comfortably as you hike.
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!
Hike smarter, not colder! Try these simple tricks for keeping warm on your next cool-weather hike.
Despite an initial problem with one of the zippers, the SmartWool PhD HyFi full-zip hoody is now my favorite mid layer.
It's one of the most frustrating ways possible of spending a hike. That's what postholing is.
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.
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
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >A couple of months
Are you a backpacker or a slackpacker? Here's the difference between the two.
Bushwhacking begins with a hiker bent on forging through head-high undergrowth and, almost always, ends in misery.
Brown bear tracks are characterized by their relatively flat curve across the front of the footpad.
When it comes to choosing a backpack, your hiking style and the length of your planned trip will determine which size you need.
If you can't wear cotton for a hike, what should you wear? Either wool or synthetics; here's how they measure up.
Waterproof hiking gear is pretty much what it sounds like -- but there are a few catches.
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.
Yes, there's right way and a wrong way to carry bear spray. Here are four methods that let you reach it in an instant. (That's the right way!)
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.
There are zillions of hiking socks out there -- I'm reviewing them all, one pair at a time.
No compass or GPS? No problem. Use these tips to stay oriented and find your way home.
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.
A compilation of vital specs for all five finalists in the 2013 Reader's Choice Awards category for
Six ways garbage bags can save your life, or at least make you more comfortable, during a hiking emergency.
Under the wrong circumstances, wearing cotton can leave you uncomfortable or even hypothermic. Here's why, and what you should wear instead.
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.
These sites frequently offer hiking gear and gadgets at steeply discounted prices. But watch out -- the best deals go incredibly fast!
If you forgot your sunblock, use a bandana to protect the back of your neck.
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 candid review of Arch Flex insoles from a hiker who, as a general rule, doesn't like insoles very much.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It's the last day of Outdoor Retailer's 2014 Summer Market! Check out the most eye-catching gear (and snacks).
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.
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.
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.
A collection of tips for staying warm on winter backpacking trips.
A review of the first zip-up gaiter I've ever encountered: The Hillsound Super Armadillo Nano Gaiter.
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.
A look behind the scenes of the accessible hiking trails at Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center in Greenfield, New Hampshire.
Scree -- also known as talus -- is pretty much purpose-engineered to make your hike difficult. Use these tips to cross scree fields safely.
Lock Laces may not be marketed directly toward hikers, but they're a great addition to light hiking footwear.
With a population of just under 300,000, Anchorage, Alaska contains nearly half the state's entire population.
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.
Do your toes get cold while you're hiking? These tips will help you keep them warm.
A look at critical specs for the five finalists for a 2013 Reader's Choice Award for best water filter/purifier.
Tired of hauling a heavy pack on all your hikes? Use these three questions to lighten your load.
Have you done a Valentine's Day picnic and feel ready for the next step? Welcome to Romantic Hiking (with food) 101.
Although marketed as an approach shoe for climbers, the La Sportiva Boulder X is also a great choice for hikers.
A collection of the most common mistakes made by hiking rookies -- and some experienced hikers, too.
Wondering how to handle bodily functions in the outdoors? Here's a guide to both the how and the why.
An experienced hiker summarizes the pros and cons of the most common types of backpacking shelters, including bivy sacks, camp hammocks, tarps and tents.
The best outer layers you can wear for hiking are weatherproof -- but what, exactly, does that mean? -- find out here.
A rainfly is the waterproof layer between your tent and the world.
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.
A full review after hands-on testing of the CamelBak All Clear, which finished a strong second in the 2013 Reader's Choice Awards.
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.
A quick definition of DWR, in the context of hiking and backpacking gear.
Learn how to keep the inside of your tent dry, even in a rainstorm.
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.
A head-to-head comparison of two excellent ice grippers: Kahtoola Microspikes and the Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra.
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.
A social trail is the unplanned result of constant foot traffic. Learn more about the concept here.
A book review of Snow Sense by Jill Fredston and Doug Fesler. Should hikers care about avalanches? Yes -- and Snow Sense is one of the best tools for learning how to avoid them. Avalanches aren't random, folks!
Simple and easy-to-use, Endomondo is a helpful and versatile app for hikers.
A hiker's review of the Deuter ACT Lite 45 + 10 SL women's backpack -- a supremely comfortable pack at a reasonably light weight.
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!
Headlamps are great tools for getting around at night, doing camp tasks -- or blinding other hikers. Don't do that last one.
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.
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.
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.
A printable packing list for dayhiking in mild weather.
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.
Screeing is a dangerous -- but fun -- way of descending a scree slope. Find out why it might not be worth the thrill.
A collection of the deadliest -- and most avoidable -- mistakes you can make on a hike.
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.
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.
Don't get lost on your next hike! Use these six tricks to stay aware of your surroundings and lost-proof yourself.
An experienced hiker reviews the Jenica Stretch jacket, from the UK-based company Craghoppers.
Get an overview of how to prevent and handle bear encounters, plus links to further information.
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.
There's a reason you'll find aisle upon aisle of socks in most outdoor gear shop. Here's how to pick through the crowd and find hiking socks that fit your needs.
Tips for finding the best outdoor clothing in thrift shops and secondhand stores.
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.
My picks for the best light hiking shoes, based on extensive hands-on -- okay, feet-on -- testing.
Choosing a good campsite is mostly common sense, but you need to watch out for these safety and comfort factors too.