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Backpacker Magazine
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Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
Backpacker Magazine on 05/17/2012 04:47:32 MDT Print View

Is it my imagination, or is Backpacker becoming rather light on content and heavy on ads? There aren't very many hiking articles - it seems more and more to be lists of trails, a little gear, some short coverage of some tips, but I don't seem to see the depth that I used to see in the magazine.

I stopped reading Outside several years back when it seemed to turn more into a men's only outdoor magazine, and all the writers I enjoyed - David Quammen, Tim Cahill, and Jon Krakauer among them - disappeared.

That's why I'm so glad I found Backpacking Light!

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Backpacker Magazine on 05/17/2012 06:18:32 MDT Print View

Sad isn't it? Was a good read in the 80's, early 90's. Dorn and crew have not done a good job. I get a subscription free with my PCTA membership. It's hardly worth that sometimes. I have gone through a copy in 5 minutes and found nothing of value or interest.

A paragraph is also not a review.

They have a lot of work to do there.

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Re: Backpacker Magazine on 05/17/2012 08:49:33 MDT Print View

"light on content"?

Perhaps it is their way of addressing the "light" backpacking trend? If one tore out all the ads the magazine might be light enough to carry while backpacking.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
reviews = ads on 05/17/2012 09:42:35 MDT Print View

Most of the reviews are little better than ads!

I don't think the Backpacker staff ever met a piece of equipment they didn't like!

Robert Kelly
(QiWiz) - MLife

Locale: UL gear @
As long as I remember that the business of Backpacker mag is selling ads, on 05/17/2012 09:58:47 MDT Print View

I get less PO. I still find some of the trail descriptions helpful and use them to make a list of trails I might want to try some day. Last year I did a Wind River Crest trek with some friends that was pretty much right out of Backpacker and it was great. I agree that the gear info is not that helpful to me.

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
magazine and economy on 05/17/2012 11:14:47 MDT Print View

Basically if you look at all the magazines they have become super thin and less content because of the bad economy. When the economy is bad less advertising is being placed by companies because they have no room in their lean budget to run advertising.
This is not a Backpacker magazine problem only look how thin TIME,NEWSWEEK, other magazines have become. Magazine thickness are very good bad or good economic times are coming down the pike indicators.

I had a couple editor friends one worked at Transworld Skateboard magazine the other Power Edge skateboard magazine.
The way it works with magazine publishers is the more color advertising they sell that means they can put in more color photos on the opposite page,the black and white advertising allow black and white written parts of articles to go along with the photos. This may not hold true in larger magazines because all they do is color, but it holds true in smaller niche magazine. Less advertising they have to print less content in the magazine also.

Now if the magazine does not sell enough advertising they have to drop some or a lot of the content, lay off people. Then magazine goes in to survival mode trying to survive the bad economic times till money starts pumping in from advertising again and they can grow their product again.

Edited by socal-nomad on 05/17/2012 11:24:30 MDT.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Re: Backpacker magazine on 05/22/2012 07:28:37 MDT Print View

I saw a big change when Jon Dorn took over and not for the better, who's son is he anyway? I liked it alot better when John Veiman was head editer. Nice to see a cast iron dutch oven get a editers choice award this year

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Outside the same on 05/23/2012 19:46:57 MDT Print View

I was getting some service work done on my Civic and in the lounge I flipped through 'Outside' magazine. I felt it had quite a few ads.

aaron eshelman
(djaaronreed) - MLife

Locale: Central Rockies
Backpacker? on 06/02/2012 11:17:41 MDT Print View

Backpacker magazine seems to be less of a backpacking magazine and more of how to "survive" the endless, savage and cruel outdoors!

With the main articles usually being a survival story, or a harrowing flee from robbers, or a test of manhood, etc. I'm losing a little faith in it's direction. I will say that as long as they post maps and trip reports, I will keep my subscription! This is what I most look forward to anymore, just ideas on where I would someday like to go to...

Charles Compton
(tyemax2) - M

Locale: SF Bay Area
Sad for Backpacker on 08/28/2013 11:29:44 MDT Print View

I went up into the attic and found some old issues from the 90s. Yes, the have fallen off the wagon here. Barely any articles anymore.

Outside is slightly better, but they have a serious MACHO thing going on. Their latest issue was full of Muddy Buddy race tips :-(

Think I'm going to let my subscriptions lapse on both of them..

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Sad for Backpacker on 08/28/2013 13:23:47 MDT Print View

They email Outside to me weekly (?)

I don't remember even signing up for it

They have interesting articles sometimes, like "the 9 best foods for athletes" which could have just been called "the 9 best foods"

Matthew Perry
(bigfoot2) - F

Locale: Oregon
Friends Don't Let Friends Read Backpacker Magazine on 09/01/2013 20:52:18 MDT Print View

I started reading Backpacker Magazine in 1979, when I was 9 years old and had just joined the Boy Scouts. I used to read my older brother's copies. Yes, it has gotten MUCH worse over the years. It started in the mid 90's to go down hill and really escalated with Dorn's promotion to editor. Although, they did do an entire "What to wear when you are between expeditions" issue in the 80's, complete with swimsuits and hair dryers.

Here is a look at what Backpacker used to be like when they were actually a good magazine:


Edited by bigfoot2 on 09/01/2013 20:54:02 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Backpacker Magazine on 09/02/2013 20:45:05 MDT Print View

Mainstream backpacking gear? Not interested.
Trip reports lacking detail? I would rather look to the internet.
Generic survival tips - already know all of that.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Backpacker magazine and survival tips on 09/08/2013 14:25:41 MDT Print View

The reason they started an annual survival issue was one of their interns lost her life on a trip (don't recall, but don't think the trip was official).

The new survival issue is out and love the cover photo. Still every year is overkill and I wish for more destinations ... plus a return to advocating more wilderness and wildlife.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Backpacker magazine and survival tips on 09/08/2013 14:58:17 MDT Print View

Another issue chucked into the recycling. Can't pass it on. That would be like a recommendation. Don't want that.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Rappelling on Duct Tape on 09/13/2013 09:25:33 MDT Print View

When they recommend and have staff rappelling on duct tape twisted into a cord?

Tim Drescher
(timdcy) - M

Locale: Gore Range
Re: Rappelling on Duct Tape on 09/17/2013 06:19:38 MDT Print View

I decided not to renew after I saw how they introduced the new chief editor: updating his Facebook status on top of some east coast mountain.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: Rappelling on Duct Tape on 09/17/2013 22:56:32 MDT Print View it comes: "OMG! I go into the wilds to leave all technology behind!!!!"

PS: Most don't. Some of us even like to multitask on our smartphones while enjoying the views.

Tim Drescher
(timdcy) - M

Locale: Gore Range
Re: Re: Re: Rappelling on Duct Tape on 09/18/2013 06:54:18 MDT Print View

It does sound pretty easy to catch a cell phone signal in Seattle, but I tend to go where a facebook app would prove useless. Snort.

Ps. There are many other content related reasons why I won't be renewing my BPer membership.

Edited by timdcy on 09/18/2013 10:46:32 MDT.