Backcountry Camping


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Sprays, lotions, wipes, apparel, and devices to keep mosquitoes, ticks, and flies at bay

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…

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.

The Roo Double camping hammock is optimized for adventure. It’s durable, tear resistant, comfortable, and strong enough for two campers—or a baby elephant. Your pick. Diamond ripstop nylon adds reinforcement to protect against tearing and ripping and results in the 500-pound weight capacity.

There’s a lot to know before parking your van or pitching a tent on public lands. Here’s how to do it right.

The Vesper is the quilt we’ve been relying on for bikepacking trips for the past year and it’s kept us warm in temperatures down to freezing thanks to the 900-fill hydrophobic down and the elastic straps that loop around the back of your pad to keep it in place. We…

Those instructions on the brownie box? Feel free to ignore them. This simple technique will get you a chocolatey dessert in just a few minutes.

Challenge yourself, choose your own pace, and embrace nature all by yourself

Alaska’s Kobuk Valley National Park is an overlooked gem. It offers up the great caribou migration, stargazing and miles of solitude, and massive dunes you’d expect to find in the Sahara. This is the 40th stop on our 62 Parks Traveler's quest to visit every national park in the U.S.

I always loved hiking but hated sleeping in a tent. When I stopped using one, I found new joy on the trail.

Gates of the Arctic in northern Alaska is one of the last truly wild national parks. There are no roads or trails, and the park boasts the stunning Brooks Range, six wild and scenic rivers, and gets fewer than 3,000 visitors a year. Our 62 Parks columnist was awestruck by her 39th stop on her quest to visit every national park in the U.S.

Instead of hanging a bear bag to store food in the backcountry, columnist Andrew Skurka recommends using a hard-sided bear canister, like the BV500. He called bear hangs “less reliable, less efficient, and less safe than other food-protection techniques, notably hard-sided canisters.”…

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.

You deserve better than freeze-dried stroganoff

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,…

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…

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

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

They're a connection to our wildest selves

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