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Backpacker Magazine

I received my latest issue of Backpacker Magazine this week and was thrilled to see my favorite Illinois trail, the River-to-River Trail written up.

They only featured a section of the trail, but I was AMAZED at how much information they got wrong in this short write-up.

They listed High Knob as a small town. Wrong--it's a hill, the highest point on the trail.

They state you must cache water near Garden of the Gods, because there is none. Wrong--there's a public campground .2 miles off the trail. I've filled my water bottles with potable water there many times.

Finally, they route you to Camp Cadiz for pick-up. Wrong--that section of the trail has been closed and rerouted for 4-5 years. It's not maintained, and it's not well-marked.

I'm curious if anyone else has ever read a BPM article and thought, "That's not the trail I hike!" or if this is an anomaly?

I stopped getting that magazine yrs ago and haven't look back. I do remember when backpacker magazine put hiking cards in the magazine. The ones I saw weren't even close to what the trail was really like.

Have you contacted the editors to tell them of your findings?  I read articles at their online web link now and then.

Which area are you talking about at this link? Its for Illinois 

I must have signed up on their website for some reason a few years back because they email me all the time.  I read everything with some skepticism, but definitely apply a double dose to most stuff I read on their site.  They seem to be more about looking the part than really providing good information.

As long as backpacker mag has been around, I am betting the kids that run it now just are'nt as knowledgeable about actual hiking, maybe? Like park rangers that are only called back country rangers by title not by wilderness knowledge. I have met many over the years in a parks I have hiked in that new only what they had been told or read.

I never signed up to outside or backpacker, I just read the online mags.

I still get the print magazine.  Since I am familiar with a lot of the southern Sierra, I can say that their trip ideas are hit and miss.  Sometimes they do a good job, but other times they vastly understate the difficulty of the route.  Sometimes they have trips that involve some significant off trail over tricky class 2 passes with a lot of very loose talus, and they don't even mention that.

Their writers are also not dendrologists.  They often have difficulty correctly identifying the trees on the routes.  The outdoor writer with the Fresno Bee has the same problem.


Dare I say I was considering GOTG to be my fall solo trip?

That said, I do wind up going, I'm coming straight to you, Jeffery, and sending my monthly copy of "Backpacker" straight to the recycling bin.

Goes to show you, better to ask the folks who've done it than those who're assigned to it for a quick-'n-easy magazine feature.

Heck, quite simply, sometimes it's best to ask the natives. I'd find it hard to believe a staff writer from the Land of Lincoln would make that big a goof. Or several of them.

I subscribed to it when it was a monthly and when it first came out.

It had some good information a the price.

They raised the price... ok still some value.

Then it was no longer a monthly magazine (every other) by effectively doubling the price.

The value wasn't there and the information was at times spotty. Could get better information from here (then Rec Hiking/backpacking on news service)

Ah well. 

I only look at anything these days in towns online. My job pays for everything. But soon I will be heading outdoors to live free again, money stays in the banks in town. In 40 years I will be either 97 or dead from exposure. Food for scavengers 

When Backpacker first came out it was bi-monthly, 6 issues a year.  I have a set of the first 10 years of the magazine.  I don't know what they publish now.  They may have gone to monthly during the 80's.

I got a chuckle out of the description on their site of the LHHT. Especially where they say take a dip in Machine Run...

"Start day four with a quick splash in Machine Run"

Uh, yeah...

Machine Run is a dried up creek bed full of rocks. I cannot remember a time when there has actually been enough water in it to dip anything including(but not limited too) the inlet hose for my filter. 

Nevertheless, I have been a subscriber for quite some time. 

I often find myself completely disagreeing with their gear reviews quite regularly when it comes to a product that I own and have experience with. 

I find a lot of their reviews more manufacturer driven as opposed to consumer driven. 

The info?

Well that is questionable at times as well. 

I hope none of my favorite trails are even mentioned in "Backpacker."

The rag reads like it is written in New York by journalists.

I  wonder why those of you who subscribe to Backpacker but find so many problems with info that you still subscribe. As I said I look at the free online edition once in a while.

GaryPalmer said:

I  wonder why those of you who subscribe to Backpacker but find so many problems with info that you still subscribe. As I said I look at the free online edition once in a while.

 Well, it's the first time I've subscribed to it, and it was only $12 for a 2-year subscription. Until I read the R2R description, I was unaware of the content.

R2R you mean the Grand Canyon? I have hiked the R2R hike many times, once (the first time) in 7 hours , but usually taking my time and staying at the three public/hikers campgrounds along the way. There are so many side trips and it makes the hike more enjoyable.

There was a guy who worked on the south rim who could run the 23 miles R2R in 3 hours. 

October 30, 2020
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