This weekend I got frustrated by the lack of easy-to-find and up-to-date national- and state-level coronavirus trends. Specifically: How many cases and deaths have been reported each day? And, What is the rate of change? So I created my own, using data from the New York Times, which they’ve made publicly available on Github and…

What is the optimal backpacking footwear for high routes, Alaska, and early-season conditions? Each year I field this question from dozens of clients, so here I’d like to provide a list of proven winners (and a few losers). These recommendations are relevant to anyone planning a trip to similar locations or in similar conditions, whether…

On most trips and in most locations, to navigate I rely primarily on my: Paper topographic maps, Watch (good), ABC watch (better), or GPS watch (best), and Magnetic compass. As both a backup and supplement to these tools, my smartphone has a GPS app like CalTopo (good) or Gaia GPS (better) along with downloaded map…

For at least five years, CalTopo has been my preferred map-making platform, and I use it exclusively for personal trips, guided trips, and guidebooks. The service was launched in late-2011 by Matt Jacobs, and its functionality eventually matched and then greatly surpassed my prior go-to, National Geographic TOPO! desktop software, which has since been discontinued.…

Nearly six years ago, Cody Roman Dial went missing in Costa Rica on what was supposed to be a four-day solo hike through Corcovado National Park. Twenty-two torturous months later, his family — including mother Peggy, sister Jazz, and father Roman, the legendary Alaskan adventurer — and friends finally got closure, when a local miner…

I spent the morning updating three important backpacking gear lists: First Aid Kit Foot Care Kit Gear Repair Kit Since I originally posted posted them in October 2016, I’d tweaked them occasionally but hadn’t done a wholesale revision until now. “Wholesale” is probably an overstatement — they were all very solid still. If you sporadically…

Due to extended use, hard use, and sometimes human error, backpacking clothing and equipment will break, tear, and wear out. Personally, in the field I’ve experienced: Torn trekking pants, rain gear, puffy jackets, sleeping bags, and backpacks; Leaking seams on shelters; Bent, splintered, and fractured trekking pole shafts; Cracked sunglasses; Punctured and cracked water bottles; Dead headlamp batteries; Slow leaks in air sleeping…

How many hiking and backpacking trips have been set back, or even ruined, by blisters, maceration, and other podiatric woes? Quite a few — including some of mine, unfortunately. To eliminate or minimize these issues, I carry a dedicated foot care kit. This kit is a separate entity than my backpacking first aid kit. While…

A first aid kit is rightfully considered by most backpackers to be a must-have item. To check this box, you have two basic options: Purchase a prepackaged commercial version like the Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight that has been vetted by medical professionals; or, Create your own, based on the specifics of your group, itinerary, and…