Manuscript Submission Guidelines
This online resource is designed to inform authors of the style and keywords used by Backpacking Light and to line out the required parameters for photo, podcast, and video submissions.
Based on the Chicago Manual of Style: 15th Edition
Present tense is preferred.
Numbers and Units of Measure
- In technical or scientific text, physical quantities and units of time are expressed in numerals, whether whole numbers or fractions, almost always followed by an abbreviated form of the unit. However, a unit of measurement used without a numeral should always be spelled out, even in scientific contexts.
- 50 km (kilometers)
- 4.5 L (liters)
- 240 V (volts)
- 85 g (grams)
- Use hyphens sparingly, but wisely. Hyphenate age terms and numbers or measurements when spelled out before a noun.
- A thirty-year-old woman
- A fifty-mile trek
- In technical or scientific text, use of the degree symbol (°) is unnecessary, as it is implied.
- Place punctuation inside quotes, as a general rule.
- Use a comma in compound sentences (two nouns and two verbs).
- Commas should separate each item in a list of three or more and should always be placed before the conjunction (and, or).
- Use "space dash space" between words, rather than an em or en dash (standard in internet publishing).
- Do not make gear possessive.
- "McHale Subpop pack," NOT "McHale's Subpop pack"
- Do not use apostrophes with plural numbers unless the number is actually a possessive.
- In the 1990s
- The 1990's growth
Key Word Guidelines
Please make all efforts to use key words in a style and manner consistent with Backpacking Light Magazine.
||waistbelt (use hipbelt)
||Graupel (snow pellets)
||water resistance rated
||durable water-repellent finish (in text)
||spring, summer, fall, winter (not capitalized)
||DWR (in specs)
||waterproof/breathable (in text)
||north, south, east, west (not capitalized)
||WPB (in specs)
||Epic (rather than EPIC)
||set up (v)
||watts (in text)
|30 denier (in text)
||W (in specs)
|30d (in specs)
||men's M (in specs
||men's medium (in text)
Photo Submission Guidelines
Photos comprise a significant and increasing proportion of Backpacking Light editorial content. They are frequently the most important part of a given article or feature and are extremely important for reviews, DIY articles, and many technical inquiries. Photographs are also of incalculable value in conveying the beauty of places we visit and the excitement of our various adventures. Along with increasing the skills of our readers, we must always be mindful that we’re ambassadors for our sport and are key to attracting new backpackers. To that end, please keep in mind the following:
- Take and submit more shots than you think you need to give the editors a choice. Provide sufficient notes to assure we correctly identify and caption every place, thing, and person.
- If submitting illustrations, they must be publication-ready, and you may be asked to edit them further after review.
- Think about the story you are trying to tell with each photo and ensure that the resulting photos look as though they belong together.
- We encourage - but do not require - high-resolution settings be used when shooting for the Online magazine.
- Format: .jpg or .jpeg
- Minimum Image Resolution: 72 dpi
- Color Format: sRGB
- Preferred Length of Longest Side: 800 pixels
Number your photos sequentially in the order you want them to appear in the article, regardless of file type/extension. Include a list of numbered captions to correspond with the photos.
- 001.jpg, 002.tif, 003.jpeg, 004.bmp
Audio Submission Guidelines
- Format: .mp3
- Minimum Bit Rate: 64 kbps (can be lower for call-in audio due to quality).
- File Size: unimportant.
- All podcast audio will be cut to a twenty-minute maximum unless otherwise specified.
Video Submission Guidelines
Please contact Backpacking Light if your video falls well outside these parameters. Video quality is changing quickly, and we may be able to work beyond these very general guidelines.
- Format: .mv4 or .mov (other formats might be OK, but please check prior to submitting)
- Aspect Ratio: 4 x 3 is preferred, but we will accept 16 x 9.
- Frame Size: as large as possible, up to HD (1280 x 720)
- Minimum Frame Rate: 24 frames per second.
- Minimum Bit Rate: 1372 kbps or more.
- File Size: less important than quality - go for higher quality over a smaller output.
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