Backpacking Resources

Part of Mark’s Backpacking Guide

Getting Started

Individuals’ Notes / Sites

  • Andrew Skurka – An accomplished long distance hiker who works as a guide and educator. His website has a number of excellent articles.
  • pmags – Paul Magnanti. Paul comes from the dirt bagging tradition, e.g. be thrifty and focus on the experiences in the field, don’t over optimize and don’t waste your time and money trying to fine “the perfect”.
  • Hiking Life – Cam Honan’s guide to hiking with good details about hiking all across the world. Cam is one of the most accomplished long distance hikers
  • Paul’s Wagner’s Backpack the Sierra – Mix of trip reports / route recommendations, practical tips, etc. Not excessively focused on gear.
  • Frank Revelo’s Biking/Hiking pages. Humble, thoughtful. One of the most pragmatic, almost stoic approach I have seen.
  • Nick Gatel’s PopupBackpacker balanced posts by someone with decades of experience
  • Adventure Allan by Alan Dixon.. a long time contributor to BPL website. Somewhat gear centric, but also some good material on technique as well.
  • Deputy_Sean from /r/ultralight
  • SGT Rock Going Light: and other pages. Gear reviews are somewhat dated but a good bit of practical advice. Was quite influential in the early 2000s. Made the most fuel efficient alcohol stove I ever used.
  • Erin & Higs: have some great trail journals about treks in Alaska
  • TrailQuest Ultralight Hiking Page: Notes from Brawny from the early 2000s.  Somewhat dated, but there is still useful content.
  • Yogi’s pages… best known for her PCT guide.
  • Doing Miles… Amy and James have a number of nice trip reports
  • GearSkeptic… I generally don’t like videos but this is one of the exceptions. Good analysis using experimental method. Occasionally I think his lab experiments don’t capture some of the nuances of in the field use, but still extremely valuable.
  • slowerhiking… a lovely site by an Austrian couple who has been backpacking for decades
  • Hiking in Finland: Hendrik Morkel site with a European take (gear and trips).
  • Section Hiker: Philip Werner is one of the more prolific blogs about light weight backpacking. I don’t always agree with Philip analysis, but a worthwhile site.
  • Cleverhiker by  Dave Collins which is primarily a gear review and trip guide site. Doesn’t have the depth of experience many of the above sites have, but typically has decent survey of gear.
  • Freedirtmonger:


  • Lighten Up! Complete Ultralight Backpacking by Don Ladigin is the best book to help someone who is a traditional backpack thing about lightening their load. If I could write well, this is exactly the sort of book I would hope to write. Rather than getting bogged down in specific products which would become dated, Don looks at general principles which are easy to apply.
  • The Backpacker’s Handbook by Chris Townsend (now in 4rd edition) is the best general book I have found. Balanced and informative without being as voluminous as The Complete Walker. I wish I could find a shorter book that I could recommend.
  • Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills edited by Steven M. Cox, Kris Fulsaas is the classic guide to mountaineering. Pack full with useful information about mountain environments, snow techniques etc.
  • Hiking and Backpacking by Buck Tilton. Part of the Knack: Make it Easy series. Easy to follow with plenty of pictures. I tend to go a bit lighter weight than what this book discussions, but it’s a good, gentle introduction.
  • The Complete Walker IV by Colin Fletcher is the classic book, comprehensive, through. Great discussions about technique. Interesting discussions about gear. My only regret is that ultra-light gear (other than tarps) are not covered well.

Online Communities

  • (BPL) In 2000 this was the best site for people who wanted information about light weight backpacking. In the last few years I feel like they have been stumbling a bit (ugly UI / too many ads, etc) as they have tried to figur out how to be profitable. This site has a mix of articles that are free and availible to a paid subscription, and a forum community which is free. This is one of the best places to learn about what is on the cutting edge of backpacking, be in new materials, gear, or technique. The subscription is worth it if you are in the process of trying to lighten your load.
  •… Dedicated to the Appalachian Trail, but there are sub forums which cover topics which are widely applicable.
  • reddit subreddits related to backpacking… useful because people can up/down vote postings which generally (but not always) brings the more useful information toward the top of the threads. A thread about good online resources.
  • Trail Journals: Community site where people who are hiking long trails keep journals / diaries
  • The Lightweight Backpacker Forums… one of the oldest forums focused on light weight backpacking. I fear they are mostly dead now.


Research Articles

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