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From Sentry Peak Pass, looking across the upper Middle Fork valley towards the next pass on the Wind River High Route, Photo Pass.

Repeating myself: Section-hike (don’t thru-hike) the Wind River High Route

The Wind River High Route is world-class and represents a “best of” backcountry experience in one of the wildest mountain ranges in the country. A similar statement could be made about the Sierra High Route, Kings Canyon High Basin Route, and Glacier Divide Route. A thru-hike of any one of these routes is likely to be a lifetime memory. But for nearly everyone, […]

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My group foot care kit for hiking and backpacking. For solo trips, I carry fewer items and less of each item.

Gear List || Backpacking Foot Care Kit for blisters & maceration

How many hiking and backpacking trips have been set back, or even ruined, by blisters, maceration, and other podiatric problems? Quite a few — including some of mine, unfortunately. To minimize these issues, I carry a dedicated foot care kit. I consider it a separate entity than my backpacking first aid kit. It contains several […]

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A gear explosion in Amanda's 600 square foot apartment. It did not go over well when she arrived home from work.

A backpacking gear list: Its importance and core functions

On a trip planning checklist, what’s the most time-consuming task? Making travel plans, preparing food, selecting a route — yes, they can all rank up there. But gear selection probably tops the list, especially for new backpackers and for veteran backpackers without experience in a particular location or season. A gear list will make this process much easier, for current […]

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The permit station at Road's End in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park

Permit directory: Wilderness & backcountry camping in the Sierra Nevada

The Sierra Nevada mountains are world-class, encompassing two National Parks (Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings), the John Muir Trail, and a half-dozen Wilderness Areas like Desolation, Golden Trout, and Emigrant. The heart of the range extends from the Kern River in the south, to Lake Tahoe in the north. Backcountry use is accordingly significant, by residents of […]

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pack-backpack-thumbnail

How-to || Pack a backpack: Load distribution, organization, waterproofing, & canisters

When packing my backpack, I have two primary goals: Minimize its effect on my center of gravity, and Keep oft-needed items easily accessible so that I can hike uninterrupted. I’ll start by discussing these goals in-depth. Then, I will address special considerations like bear canisters and backpack styles. Center of gravity When not wearing a […]

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Cold Spring Shelter, May 2002

Five-star campsites || Part 4: Four examples of classically bad campsites

In the previous two posts I discussed the ideal features of backpacking campsites, on both a zone- and spot-level. There are many of them, probably too many to remember. So in this final installment I will discuss four classically bad campsites. Despite having multiple and severe problems, I regularly see backpackers camping in these types of locations. If […]

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A room with a view. Gore Range, Colorado.

Five-star campsites || Part 2: Ideal features of camping zones

Recall from Part 1 that I assess backpacking campsites on two levels: zones and spots. The zone-level features of a five-star campsite never change. But spot-level features depend on whether I am sleeping on the ground or in a hammock. In this post I will discuss zone-level features. Safety This one should be obvious, but it’s […]

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