Backcountry Camping


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All you need is a long weekend to get out, get lost, and find yourself again. From Asheville to Seattle, we’ve researched the best three-day wilderness trips within road-tripping distance from a city.

A shortage of places to camp is hurting the environment and limiting diversity in the outdoors. But there are some innovative solutions on the table.

The MiniMo is a newer version of the original Flash model: it has a “wider, shorter pot that still holds a liter of water and boils it in just a few minutes,” wrote tester Graham Averill. “Also cool: the stove and pot click together into one apparatus,…

The Mega Mat Duo is the most comfortable mattress we’ve used for car camping, hands down. It’s a 10-centimeter-thick air pad with memory foam insulation. It’s pricey, but it’s the closest we’ve come to feeling like we were in our bed at home while camping.

Contributor Andrew Skurka tested Zoleo’s Satellite Communicator last year, and he liked how it measured up to the competition: “It’s priced, constructed, and engineered well, and it provides a significantly improved messaging experience for both the user and their contacts,” he wrote.

Just because you’re car camping doesn’t mean you can’t snuggle. Kelty’s popular love seat is like a camp couch, made from quilted 600-denier polyester and reclined for added comfort. The adjustable armrests have cupholders (a must, really). Be warned: the Discovery ain’t light at 15 pounds, but the added coziness…

This practical, sturdy headlamp pumps out 250 lumens and weighs 2.9 ounces. The Cosmo is surprisingly feature-rich considering its affordable price tag: it has three different output settings, a red light mode, and can be dimmed or brightened with the touch of a button. It’s one of our…

A classic among backpackers, the PocketRocket is one of columnist Graham Averill’s favorite camp stoves: “I refuse to get rid of my PocketRocket, because this featherweight beauty works every time, even after years of use,” he wrote. “I can use it with any cookware, unlike some stoves…

With cruise traffic set to be at an all-time low this summer, you’ll be able to have the 49th state all to yourself

In addition to providing comfort on frigid nights at camp, a zero-degree bag like the Oberon “will keep you warm should you need to wait out a blizzard on the side of the road,” our tester wrote. Columnist Wes Siler also recommends keeping it…

This sleeping pad was our top choice for winter camping in our 2020 Winter Buyer’s Guide. Our tester spent a week in Wyoming’s high country with the Trail Boss and confirmed it’s one of the warmest and toughest pads out there. It’s built with heat-reflecting PrimaLoft Silver insulation wrapped…

When you stop resisting the information sharing that causes crowd flocking, you can use it to create advocates who will protect the trails

Every mountaineer knows that getting to the summit isn't a requirement, but it sure is sweet if you do

Like the LifeStraw, MSR’s TrailShot lets you drink straight from the source, but it’s also good for filling a water bottle. Drop the long straw in the stream and squeeze the hand pump to get the magic started. It works fast, treating a liter of water in 30 seconds.

With more than 200 miles of trails, there's a lot to explore in this iconic Wyoming attraction. It's our 62 Parks Traveler's 25th stop on her journey to visit every U.S. national park.

There are more powerful headlamps out there, but it’s the ultralight design of the 200 that makes it especially intriguing for runners. BioLite ditched its external battery design for a more streamlined design where the light and battery are combined in the front panel, and the brand did it without…

A tale about two-wheeled island hopping in the midnight sun

In our Gear Guy’s roundup of backcountry ski packs, he wrote: “If I were to choose a pack for a winter worthy of Game of Thrones, this would be it.” The Bergtagen is a lightweight, high-volume option that’s ideal for trips in the mountains. We especially liked the hip…

An off-trail adventure through perhaps the prettiest chunk of the lower 48

In 2018, we called this shell “the holy grail of waterproof jackets.” “It feels softer than a soft shell but as waterproof as any hard shell I’ve used,” one tester wrote. If you want a jacket that covers all the bases with weatherproofing, breathability, and stretch, look no further…

Mountain-bike world-famous slickrock at our 62 Parks Traveler's 14th stop on her journey to visit every U.S. national park in a year

Outside tester Andrew Skurka wrote a long-term review of the UberLite and found it ideal for three-season conditions. This pad is as comfortable as the NeoAir XLite, but cuts down weight by 3.2 ounces and isn’t as noisy when moving around. Plus, its insulation is warm enough for temperatures…

Follow these steps to spend less time stressing over the details and more time on the trail

They're a connection to our wildest selves

These innovative technical pieces make wilderness camping more fun and less work

The places we love will outlive us, and isn't that just a little bit wonderful? It's our 62 Parks Traveler's 11th stop on her journey to visit every U.S. national park in a year.

From camp grounds to house blends, these brewers can handle anything

We haven’t found a better bang-for-your-buck camping bundle than this one. With a four-person tent, two sleeping pads and sleeping bags, this package is ideal for the budget-conscious camper and backpacker. “You’ll be hard-pressed to find a less expensive tent that’s worth bringing into the backcountry,” our Gear Guy…

Helinox nails the backpacking camp seat with its Chair Zero, which is light (one pound) and compact enough (collapsing to the size of a Nalgene bottle) to justify taking on multi-day trips but comfortable enough to use while car camping. The shock-cord aluminum poles require minimal setup, and the chair…

Wander amid 200-million-year-old stone logs in Arizona. It's our 62 Parks Traveler's ninth stop on her journey to visit every U.S. national park in a year.

Trash-compactor sacks are the most inexpensive way to keep your gear dry

If you've done everything in your power to salvage it, and it's still not working like it used to, maybe it's time for something new

It's the ultimate social-distancing tool, getting you outside for some solo relaxation

Light enough for backpacking and bright enough to illuminate an entire campsite, this is exactly what you need when it's safe to get back out there again

Welcome to America's newest national park, with endless and huge sand dunes to explore. It's our 62 Parks Traveler's fifth stop on her journey to visit every U.S. national park in a year.

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