Outdoor Skills

Move from Gym to Crag with the Access Fund

Want to make the transition from rock gym to crag? The Access Fund offers up advice for responsible outdoor climbing practices that help preserve climbing access.

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How to Hang Your Bear Bag: Tips from Leave No Trace

Know how to hang a bear bag properly in the backcountry and keep bears (and your food) safe? Leave No Trace gives a refresher on this essential skill.

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Q&A: iRunFar's Bryon Powell on Ultra Running Gear and Inspiration

In a second installment, we catch up with Bryon Powell of iRunFar to talk about his favorite ultra running gear, barefoot/minimal footwear, product testing and reviews, and what inspires him on the trail.

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Do or Die: 5 Unique Survival Tips from American Alpine Club

If your expedition goes sour, first aid training and compass skills might not be enough to pull you from a life-threatening morass. The American Alpine Club shares five of its favorite backcountry survival tips and tricks.

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Q&A: iRunFar's Bryon Powell on Ultra Running and "Relentless Forward Progress"

We catch up with Bryon Powell of iRunFar to talk about the growing popularity of trail and ultra running, best and worst ultra moments, picking a first race, coaching tips, and his book "Relentless Forward Progress."

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How to Paddle a Canoe: Strokes and Techniques

Learn how to use that canoe paddle properly. From the J stroke to the sweep, draw, and pry, here are the basic paddling strokes and techniques you need to know for any canoe trip.

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Soak your worries away in trailside hot springs

Hot springs and winter hiking, snowshoeing, or skiing are a match made in heaven. Check out these five hot springs, and some tips and tricks for making the most of your hot spring experience.

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Safe Travel in Avalanche Terrain

Ninety percent of all avalanche victims die in slides triggered by themselves or by a member of their group. However, avalanche conditions are predictable and there are techniques you can learn to help minimize your risk in avalanche terrain.

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Hunting Season Safety Tips

A little extra caution is prudent if you plan on hiking, running, paddling or biking through natural areas where hunters are likely to be present.

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Learning Wilderness First Aid

Are you prepared to deal with a backcountry medical emergency?

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How to Wash Your Down Sleeping Bag

You've invested in a down sleeping bag you'll use for years to come. Now, treat it well on the trail and at home. Proper care and cleaning will help your bag last for many seasons. And a clean bag will have improved loft to keep you warmer.

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Guide to Lightweight Backpacking

Is your backpack so heavy that you need help lifting it off the ground? If so, perhaps it's time to learn about lightweight backpacking and how to reduce the weight of your pack to a more comfortable 10 to 15 percent of your body weight »

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Tread Lightly to Protect Climbing Access

Slip into stealth mode and follow these easy guidelines to help protect climbing access every time you’re at the crag.

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Lightweight Backpacking: Stove Systems

Consider the pros and cons of different lightweight backpacking stoves and how to think about stoves and cooking from the perspective of a lightweight backpacker.

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Lightweight Backpacking: Backpack Makeover

Consider a backpack that weighs between 1 and 3 pounds and can carry 20 to 30 pounds of gear. Learn how to size one, how to choose a pack made with durable fabrics, and how backpack suspensions work.

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Lightweight Backpacking: Sleeping Bag Makeover

Lightening your load? Learn how to choose a sleeping bag under three pounds. Evaluate different sleeping bag and quilt designs, insulation, temperature ratings, sizing, and more.

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Lightweight Backpacking: Shelter Makeover

Learn how to reduce the weight of your current tent and what to look for in a new tent if you decide to replace yours, in this second piece from our introduction to lightweight backpacking. Also, consider some alternative ultralight shelters.

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An Introduction to Lightweight Backpacking

Is your backpack so heavy that you need help lifting it off the ground? Do you let out a cougar scream when you finally get it onto your back? If so, perhaps it's time to learn about lightweight backpacking and how to reduce the weight of your pack to a more comfortable 10 to 15 percent of your body weight.

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Avoid Ticks On and Off the Trail

Avoid ticks and prevent tick bites while hiking. Search for ticks on your body after being outside, especially in wooded and grassy areas. Read the CDC's advice on avoiding ticks and preventing tick bites.

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It's "Don't Fry Day": Shirt, sunscreen, hat required

Today, the Friday before Memorial Day, is designated "Don’t Fry Day" by the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention.

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Barefoot Hiking: How high can you summit?

Thinking about joining the barefoot running and hiking movement? Check out our article "How to Run or Hike Barefoot on the Trail" for advice on getting...

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How to Run or Hike Barefoot on the Trail

Interested in trail running or hiking barefoot or with minimal footwear? Consider the following information to determine how to start safely, where to go, and whether to go truly barefoot or minimally shod.

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How to Cross Streams and Rivers

Though steam and river crossings deserve special consideration in spring, crossing moving water is not only inconvenient, but also potentially hazardous, year-round. Here are some basic tips for getting across moving water when hiking and backpacking.

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Leave No Trace: Be ready to get muddy

What effect does a footstep have? The answer is, it depends. A footstep means different things to a tree sapling and meadow grass, to leaf litter and cryptobiotic soil, to a gravely riverbank and muddy springtime trail.

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Get to your hike by bus, train, or bike

Want to reduce the environmental impact of your trip to the trail, avoid road stress, or just don't have a car? Consider bikepacking, bike shuttling, a carpool, train, or bus to get you to your hike.

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Time for Spring Gear Cleaning

Despite the snowpack you may see on the ground, spring is officially here. Whether you've been using your gear hard all winter or it's been sitting in...

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Deep Snow Safety in the Backcountry or the Resort

Skiing or riding in the backcountry requires a certain level of snow safety knowledge, skill, and appropriate gear.

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Outdoor Retailer: How to use a snow density gauge

Donny Roth — a professional ski guide, ambassador for Brooks-Range Mountaineering, and Trailspace member — explained how to use a snow density gauge for avalanche assessment.

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How to Recycle Old Outdoor Gear

Depending on who you're talking to, today is either America Recycles Day or Zero Waste Day. If you can't donate or pass on old backcountry gear, what are your recycling options once your gear reaches the end of its trail life? Here are a few.

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Hunting Happens: Be safe and respectful

Here's your annual reminder that hunting seasons are open or opening across the country (tomorrow kicks off deer season for Mainers).

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Hike Safely During Hunting Season

Many areas that hikers, backpackers, and trail runners, frequent, are also popular with hunters. Both hunters and non-hunters need to be educated and do their part to keep the outdoors safe. Follow these safety reminders during hunting season.

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Tell a spooky ghost story outdoors

Hikers who disappear without a trace, haunted huts, Sasquatch sightings, mysterious lights and visions in the woods, UFOs. If you want to scare the gorp out of your friends, learn how to tell a good ghost story.

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Bear Aware: "Man vs. Wild" video game

Bummed that Bear Grylls didn't pick you for his "Fan vs. Wild" series? You know you would have been awesome on the show — eating worms for breakfast...

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Invasive species: Facing the backcountry threat, limiting the spread

Mountain pine beetles have devastated forests from Colorado to Canada over the past decade, but this year the trees aren't the only species at risk.

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Trekking Poles: Fit, Maintenance, and Tips (Part 4)

You've purchased a brand new pair of shiny trekking poles. Now that you have them in hand, how do you get the most value out of them? Proper fit, maintenance, and correct use are all key.

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Human Waste Disposal in the Backcountry: How to pee and poop in the woods

Most hikers, backpackers, and climbers know that answering the call of nature in the backcountry can present an interesting (sometimes embarrassing) challenge. At the very least, it may cause uncertainty. As some suggested practices change, here are guidelines for taking care of business miles from indoor plumbing.

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Outdoor Gear Spring Cleaning

As we make the transition from winter to spring, do you have a spring cleaning regimen for your outdoor gear? Clean gear makes for better functioning and longer-lasting gear. And well-organized gear gets you outside faster, with the right stuff.

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AllAboutBirds.org: learn your ornithology from Cornell

I am a very amateur birdwatcher, but I watch and notice birds every day: in my yard, on hikes and runs, out the car window.

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Hiking Etiquette 101

If you've hiked or backpacked, you've probably observed someone breaking one of the exalted but unwritten rules of hiking and trail etiquette.

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Layers of fun: Winter hiking essentials

Don't let cold weather keep you off the trails. Proper layering and a few savvy gear decisions are all you need to keep hiking year-round.

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Lessons Learned

I'm back from an excellent weekend at my avalanche awareness course. FYI, if you tell relatives and friends you're going to avalanche class for the weekend,...

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Gear does not an expert make

Earlier this week I made the statement: it's not about the gear. It's what you do with it, the choices you make, and the experience (yours and the one...

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It's not about the gear. Really.

I'm about to say something that may sound like sacrilege on a backcountry gear site, let alone during the annual shopping season: It's not about the gear.

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The Lure of a Long Trail: Planning a Thru-Hike (Part 4 of 4)

In the last of four columns on planning a thru-hike, two trail angels offer advice based on the hundreds of thru-hikers they've befriended and assisted along the Pacific Crest Trail.

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Can you pass these survival quizzes?

Because one quiz is never enough to keep you alive -- here's a series of them to test your survival knowledge.

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How to Fix a Leaky Sleeping Pad

Ever woken up to the cold, uncomfortable ground after your sleeping pad sprung a leak? Learn how to repair holes, tears, or punctures in your air mattress, in the field or at home, with just a few materials and a little time.

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How to place a bomber ice screw

Do you know the proper angle for placing an ice screw? It's 10-15 degrees upward (that is, with the ice screw pointing up into the ice).

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The Lure of a Long Trail: Planning a Thru-Hike (Part 3 of 4)

In the third of four columns on planning a thru-hike, Triple Crowners — hikers who have completed the AT, PCT, and CDT (that’s nearly 8,000 miles of trail) — offer advice to first-timers on how to stay safe and have fun.

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Practice your avalanche beacon skills

It's November and for most of us there's not much significant snowfall — yet. But, you can prepare now for ski season by practicing locating a partner's...

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The Lure of a Long Trail: Planning a Thru-Hike (Part 2 of 4)

Planning a thru-hike? Sorting through a deluge of advice and wondering which to pay attention to? In the second of four columns, PCT veteran Barbara Egbert discusses: reasons to thru-hike a long trail, daily obsessions, finding water, and more tips from successful backpackers.

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