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Hiking: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
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 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).
A printable packing list for your first...
A concise, printable packing list to help beginner backpackers decide what to carry.
How to pee outside without looking (or feeling)...
Basic urine etiquette for both men and women, plus how not to bare your backside to the world when you've gotta go.
4 ways 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.
Go hands free! How to attach snowshoes to your...
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.
Hiking 101: How to put on gaiters
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.
Postholing: How to survive the miserable trap...
It's one of the most frustrating ways possible of spending a hike. That's what postholing is.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
What's in your hiking emergency kit? (Here's...
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.
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.
The fine art of poopiquette, or how to poop...
Spend enough time outdoors and, eventually, you'll have to defecate while out on the trail. Here's how to do so politely.
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.
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.
11 fun trail activities for hikers
Hiking is a grand adventure -- your feet can take you to the most amazing places (and amazing views).
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.
Fall Foliage Hikes in Maine
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.
How to waterproof your feet with plastic bags
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.
The four 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Is that you, Yogi? A gallery of bear tracks,...
While we humans sometimes post signs warning about bear activity, the bears themselves leave plenty of clues that they're around.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Taboo! 7 things a hiker should never 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How to keep the inside of your tent dry
Learn how to keep the inside of your tent dry, even in a rainstorm.
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.
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.
The 9 best dayhikes near Anchorage, Alaska
Some of Alaska's best dayhikes are right on the fringes of the state's biggest city.
The best ice grippers: Hillsound Trail Crampons...
A head-to-head comparison of two excellent ice grippers: Kahtoola Microspikes and the Hillsound Trail Crampon Ultra.
Quick hit: Lock Laces for hiking shoes
Lock Laces may not be marketed directly toward hikers, but they're a great addition to light hiking footwear.
Here's why you shouldn't wear cotton when you...
Under the wrong circumstances, wearing cotton can leave you uncomfortable or even hypothermic. Here's why, and what you should wear instead.
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.
How to handle wild animal encounters
Learn how to deal with common wild animals you may encounter while hiking in your area.
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.
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.
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.
Here's what to carry on an overnight hike
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >Packing for your
What to do if you get lost on a hike
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.
What to Do if You Get 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.
Want a lighter pack? Ask yourself these three...
Tired of hauling a heavy pack on all your hikes? Use these three questions to lighten your load.
Pretty much everything you ever wanted to know...
Waterproof hiking gear is pretty much what it sounds like -- but there are a few catches.
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.
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.
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.
The REI Flash 58: An ultralight pack that more...
A backpacker's review of the ultralight Flash 58 pack from REI. It's light and flexible in all the best ways.
6 tips for happy spring hiking
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 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.
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.
Slackpacking may be cushy, but it's still a hike!
Are you a backpacker or a slackpacker? Here's the difference between the two.
A ten essentials checklist for hikers
Did you pack the ten essentials? Here's a quick checklist to help you make sure.
Get the list: The top 8 hiking boots
My picks for the best hiking boots, based on hands-on testing and feedback from others.
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.
4 nifty things you can do with a bandana
From trail marker to sun protection, bandanas have nearly unlimited uses on the trail.
Brrrr no more! 17 ways to keep warm on a winter...
A collection of tips for staying warm on winter backpacking trips.
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.
From Dayhiker to Backpacker in 3 Easy Steps
Wondering how to make the switch from dayhikes to overnight outings? Here's how to get the right gear, pack it into a stable load, and make your first dry run before you hit the backcountry.
Arrrghhh! Mosquitoes! Here are 10 ways to keep...
Learn about mosquito-borne illnesses, and the first of several tricks to keep mosquitoes at bay.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
Easy fixes for bootlaces that always come untied
Do your hiking boots constantly come untied? Good news -- this is an easy problem to fix.
Meet the GRAYL, a truly unique water filter
The GRAYL French press water filter might not be right for backpacking, but it's tops for dayhikes where water is within easy reach.
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.
A hiker's survival guide to bushwhacking
Bushwhacking begins with a hiker bent on forging through head-high undergrowth and, almost always, ends in misery.
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.
How to hike on scree
Scree -- also known as talus -- is pretty much purpose-engineered to make your hike difficult. Use these tips to cross scree fields safely.
2013 Reader's Choice Awards: Finalists for Best...
A closer look at each of the finalists for best backpacking boots in the 2013 Reader's Choice Awards.
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.
A hiker's review of the STABILicer Hike ice...
An Alaskan hiker reviews the STABILicer Hike ice cleats for security of fit and on-trail performance.
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.
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.
So what's a rainfly?
A rainfly is the waterproof layer between your tent and the world.
Four ways to avoid hypothermia on the trail
Hypothermia kills; use these four tricks to keep it from setting in.
9 rookie hiking mistakes to avoid
A collection of the most common mistakes made by hiking rookies -- and some experienced hikers, too.
6 ways a garbage bag could save your life
Six ways garbage bags can save your life, or at least make you more comfortable, during a hiking emergency.
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.
Best for hiking in aggressive terrain: The La...
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >A couple of months
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.
What to Look for in a Sleeping Bag
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.
How to pack a backpack -- it matters more than...
How to pack a backpack efficiently -- keeping everything you need within easy reach, and organized so that it rides comfortably as you hike.
The best boots for hikers with wide feet
A wide-footed hiker names seven of the very best boots and brands for men and women with wide feet.
How to "Leave No Trace" when you hike
class="no-js" itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/Article" > itemprop="description" >The best hikers
Not sure what a shank is? Check out the...
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.
How to avoid an embarrassing "pants malfunction...
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.
Terrain traps and why you should care (yes, you!)
Terrain traps may look innocent, but they could be the death of you.
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.
FAQ: Guided dayhikes from Corcovado National...
Learn what to expect and how to prepare for a visit to the Sirena ranger/biology station in Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica.
Mud happens. Here's how to handle it
Spring usually brings mud, and heavy rain can turn things to goop in any season. Learn how to cope with whatever mud nature throws at you.
Here's what will (and won't) attract bears into...
Learn which items are most likely to attract a bear into your backcountry camp.
5 Great Grand Teton Hikes
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.
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.
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.
Don't like sleeping bags? Try these 6...
Not a fan of conventional sleeping bags? These six backpacker-friendly alternatives will keep you warm at night without leaving you feeling claustrophobic.
Gear Review: The Craghoppers Jenica Stretch...
An experienced hiker reviews the Jenica Stretch jacket, from the UK-based company Craghoppers.
Do you love hiking with your dog? Make sure you...
Dayhiking with a dog? Here's a short list of the extra gear your dog needs to stay happy and healthy on the trail.
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.
Can bear spray expire? Yes!
How much attention should you pay to the expiration date on your can of bear spray? Find out here.
Let's talk about underwear for hikers
Cotton underwear can make you mighty uncomfortable on the trail. Learn what you should wear instead.
A quick explanation of durable water repellent...
A quick definition of DWR, in the context of hiking and backpacking gear.
Boulder hopping 101
Wondering how to work your way through that boulder field? Here's a primer on everything from locomotion to routefinding and risk management.
Hiking With a Dog
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.
Approach Shoes for Hikers: La Sportiva Boulder X
Although marketed as an approach shoe for climbers, the La Sportiva Boulder X is also a great choice for hikers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The FAQ on Hiking Poles
Answers to a slew of common questions about hiking poles, including sizing, shopping suggestions, how to carry them and how to use them.
Get the list: 4 of the best light hiking shoes
My picks for the best light hiking shoes, based on extensive hands-on -- okay, feet-on -- testing.
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!
How to convince your friends that hiking is fun
It's best to hike in groups -- but what if you don't have a group to hike with? Here's how to take a friend hiking for the first time and make sure he has fun.
The difference between backcountry, frontcountr...
What exactly is a backcountry hike? Here's a breakdown of what backcountry, frontcountry and slackcountry mean for hikers.
Like studded tires for your feet: Icebug's...
Icebug's studded SPEED-L BUGrip boots are an excellent option for hiking in icy Alaskan conditions.
7 daily deal sites for scoring great hiking gear
These sites frequently offer hiking gear and gadgets at steeply discounted prices. But watch out -- the best deals go incredibly fast!
The best headlamps for hikers
An experienced hiker picks the headlamps that provide the best combination of portability and lighting.
5 ways to tweak your hiking boots
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.
Think you might need a guide? Here's how to...
Whether at home or traveling abroad, here are three reasons you might want to take a guided hike.
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.
3 Ways to Keep Your Electronics Charged While...
Portable electronics are great -- until they run down in the middle of nowhere! Here are three ways to keep them charged, even in the backcountry.
4 ways to keep everything in your pack dry
These four tricks will help you keep the contents of your pack dry in case of rain.
Eye-catching gear from Day 3 of the 2014...
It's round three! A collection of the most interesting gear at Day 3 of the 2014 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market.
How not to get lost on a hike
Don't get lost on your next hike! Use these six tricks to stay aware of your surroundings and lost-proof yourself.
The everything guide to 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.
The number one practice that can save your life...
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.
5 hazards of winter hiking
Hiking in winter takes you into beautiful, untouched landscapes -- but it also exposes you to some unique backcountry hazards.
Gear Review: U-Dig-It Folding Hand Shovel
Meant for digging cat (toilet) holes in the backcountry, the compact, fold-up U-Dig-It comes in handy for other purposes as well.
5 reasons to leash your dog in the backcountry
Hikers almost never keep their dogs leashed in the backcountry -- but sometimes they're not under voice control, either. Here are five reasons you should keep that leash handy.
Printable packing list for a dayhike
A printable packing list for dayhiking in mild weather.
What Kind of Hiking Socks Do I Need?
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.
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.

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