Information for Authors
Submit Your Story Proposal Online Now!
Backpacking Light only accepts story proposals online via the link above. You can use this form to respond to content solicitations, as well as for the submission of unsolicited content proposals. New to writing and just want to get your feet wet? Start here!
What Kinds of Content Does Backpacking Light Publish?
Backpacking Light places the highest priority on well-written, well-researched, investigative pieces that critically examine industry trends, technologies, history, and controversial topics. Specifically, the greatest emphasis will be put on articles that promote our core mission:
To promote self-sufficient ("backpackable"), multi-day backcountry travel in a lightweight style.
In addition, please see below for an overview of content types available for solicitation.
General Editorial Solicitation
Following is a detailed description of content types we solicit. If you have a story idea consistent with any of these categories, we are particularly interested in hearing from you.
Note About Word Counts: Word counts below represent recommended minimum word counts.
Learn about the gear of lightweight backpacking.
- Gear Lists. Context-specific gear lists, annotated with text that focuses on the rationale behind gear selections and a description of how gear systems are integrated. Word Count: 500.
- Reviews. In-depth performance reviews of selected lightweight backpacking gear. Word Count: 2,000.
- Make Your Own Gear: Detailed instructions for sourcing, manufacturing, and finishing homemade backpacking gear. Project-oriented. Word Count: 2,000.
- SpotLites: Snapshots of new lightweight backpacking gear (focused on statistics and author commentary rather than performance testing) as previewed throughout the year and from Outdoor Retailer Summer and Winter Markets. Word Count: 500.
- State of the Market Reports: In-depth assessment of a product category, with a summary of available products, their applications, technologies, features, and performance. Word Count: 5,000.
Learn how to go light in the wilderness.
- New To Lightweight: Instructional articles focusing on educating beginning lightweight backpackers. Word Count: 2,000.
- Techniques and Best Practices: Intermediate-to-advanced instructional articles focusing on field techniques for maximizing the performance of lightweight backpacking gear and/or employing lightweight techniques. Word Count: 2,000.
- Ask Us: Short columns focused on specific topics in an “ask an expert” format, focusing on technique. Word Count: 500.
Make Your Own Gear
Learn how to make your own lightweight gear and apparel.
- Techniques for MYOG. General instructional techniques that can be applied across a broad scope of project types. Word Count: 1,500 to 2,500.
- MYOG Projects. Specific projects using lightweight materials and designs, from start to finish. Projects include plans and patterns, step by step instructions, detailed photographs and/or diagrams throughout the process, and a discussion of design principles and applicability of the item in a lightweight kit. Word Count: 1,500 to 5,000+.
Develop the rationale to guide your choices for gear and technique.
- Test Reports: Reports of original tests performed by BPL Staff that present real data collected from controlled conditions, and the analysis of that data in a way that educates the user, dispels myths, or otherwise validates/invalidates common claims. Word Count: 2,000.
- Research Reviews: In-depth scientific reviews of particular topics that are designed to present an objective view of opposing arguments, and draw conclusions from available research to validate/invalidate those arguments. Word Count: 5,000.
- Science, Theory, and Mathematics: Application of scientific or mathematical principles and assumptions to advance rational theories that guide gear choices, techniques, or applications. Word Count: 2,000.
Stay abreast of emerging trends and philosophies.
- Commentary: Insightful and provocative opinions about wilderness philosophy, issues, and techniques. Word Count: 500.
- Trend Reports: Consolidation of available market data, practices, and behaviors, and analysis of that data in a way that identifies and discusses the impacts of market trends. Word Count: 1000.
- Media Reviews: Reviews of books, websites, digital media, and other materials of interest to wilderness recreationalists. Word Count: 500.
- Philosophical Essays: Introspective writing in the classic essay format by which a perceptive hypothesis is proposed, discussed, and brought to closure, focusing on lightweight backpacking or wilderness philosophy. Word Count: 500.
Learn about, and from, the history and people of lightweight backpacking.
- Interviews: Provocative discussions about experiences and opinions with key figures within, and outside, the lightweight backpacking community. Word Count: 2,000.
- Biographies Biographical sketches of key figures in the lightweight backpacking community that focus on a recounting of their past accomplishments and current activities. Word Count: 1,000.
- Documentaries and Historical Features: More detailed chronologies of events, with a focus on the people involved in those events, of interest to the lightweight backpacking community. Word Count: 2,000.
Learn about, and from, the experiences of lightweight backpacking.
- Wanderlust: A narrative about the experience of the relationship between a hiker and a wild place in the context of a lightweight trek. In addition to the narrative, the column will include a sidebar of interesting facts, 7 or more high-resolution photographs and a map of the route. Word Count: 1,000 to 2,500.
- Trip Reports: Written in the classic style of a mountaineering “TR”, trip reports provide factual accounting of trips taken in ultralight style by members of the lightweight backpacking community. Preferred style: third person (e.g., the author writes about the trip of another party). Word Count: 1,000.
- Notes from the Field: A first-person narrative that expands on the trip report format by including a discussion of pre-trip rationale for choices made, during-trip experiences, and a post-trip summary and analysis. Word Count: 2,000.
- Photo Essays: A series of 7+ high quality photographs featuring a lightweight backpacking trek and annotated in the first person. Photographs should focus on the use of gear in the field, the people involved, and only the most exceptional scenery. The photos and captions should tell a concise story in terms of either chronology or theme. Word Count: 1,000.
- Featured Routes: An objective description of a wilderness route suitable for a lightweight backpacking style. It should be written in the first person, and include subjective commentary reflecting the author’s experience on that route. Photos should be included as a supplement to the text, focusing on scenic elements of the route. Artistic maps will supplement the piece. Word Count: 1,000.
- Maps: Detailed, artistic maps with topographic elements that feature significant and original wilderness routes, annotated with a discussion of a particular party’s traverse of the route. Photos to accompany the map should focus on scenic elements of the route. Word Count: 1,000.