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Techniques & Best Practices


ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
2005 Backpacking Light Trip Planning Spreadsheet Contest Entries
by BPL Staff
Reader submissions of spreadsheet files used for trip planning and gear lists. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only 24: Fall Equinox in the Hyalite Cirque of Montana's Gallatin Mountains
by Ryan Jordan
You have 24 hours to quickly engage in a Wild Place with minimal disruption to your job or your family. Where will YOU go? Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only 24: Garnet Mountain Forest Service Lookout, Montana
by Ryan Jordan
Episode 2: we focused on fast food preparation and the elimination of a whole lotta gear by hiking into a U.S. Forest Service lookout cabin. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
24 Hours: Packrafting the Grande Ronde River
by Ryan Jordan
A new installment of the "24" series - stories about "24 hour" overnight trips. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
24: Nine Months 'til Summer
by Ryan Jordan
Episode 3: The first big snowfall of the season (in September!) had us traversing the Hyalite-Cottonwood divide for snow hiking and camping. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only 5 Beginning Concepts for Winter Backpacking
by David Chenault
Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
A Case Study of Unsupported, Roadless, Long Distance Trekking:
Part 1. Pack Weight, Distance, and Caloric Balance

by Ryan Jordan
It seems obvious that backpack weight and daily mileage will be inversely proportional. But how many days, how many miles per day, and how much food weight are required in order to maximize the total distance traveled without resupply? And what happens when the theory is tested in the Arctic over 600 miles of America's most remote, roadless, uninhabited wilderness? Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Advanced Tarp Camping Techniques for Inclement Conditions
by Ryan Jordan
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ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only Adventures in Laminating Silicone-Impregnated Fabrics
by Jim Colten
Silnylon and spinnaker fabric have long been mainstays in making ultralight gear, but they require careful construction to avoid failures at seams or damage from abrasion. Laminating the fabric offers a solution to those problems. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
A Homemade Gear Sled (Pulk) for Backcountry Winter Travel
by Ken Knight
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ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
All the Gear a Guy Could Want
by Ryan Jordan
I like gear. I collect gear with an almost rabid enthusiasm, and I almost always have a place to put it. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only An Introduction to Nordic and Backcountry Ski Gear
by Alan Dixon and Mike Martin
A Primer to Backcountry Ski Travel – Why you can and should overnight ski in the backcountry Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only An Introduction to Nordic and Backcountry Ski Gear: Part 2 - Advanced Nordic Ski Mountaineering on UL Tele Gear
by Forrest McCarthy
It is natural for skiers, as their skills improve, to seek more challenging terrain. And, with access to mountainous landscapes, it is inevitable for a skier to enter the realm of ski mountaineering. An overview of UL backcountry ski mountaineering gear and discussion of proper gear choice. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
An Old Dog Learns New Tricks - How Lightweight Technology Keeps me on the Trail at 70
by Ron Hamm
How lightweight backpacking gear has kept the author on the trail at 70. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only An Ultralighter Paddles on the Dark Side: Packrafting a Remote Canyon "Heavy" Style
by Carol Crooker
Packrafters need to limit their gear so it fits on the bow of their six-foot-long craft. This means dehydrated food for dinner, sleeping under a tarp and wearing wet clothes dry. What is river running like when big rafts haul the food and gear...Can an ultralight packrafter be enticed to the dark side? Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
A Passion Found, Lost, and Rediscovered
by Tony Wong
Lightweight Testimony: Tony Wong Finds, Loses, and Rediscovers a Lightweight Passion. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Avalanche Safety for Backcountry Travelers
by Kevin Sawchuk
The winter can make popular locations your personal sanctuary; however avalanche safety and preparation are crucial to enjoying the pristine conditions. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Backcountry Cookfires: Overview and Techniques for Cooking Over an Open Flame
by Bill Stadwiser
Bill Stadwiser explores the practical and emotional rewards of cooking over wood in the backcountry. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Backcountry Fly Fishing: Lightweight Gear and Style
by Larry Tullis
Outdoor writer Larry Tullis brings a lightweight ethic to backcountry fishing. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Backcountry Fly Fishing with Tenkara: Ultralight Style and Simplicity
by Ryan Jordan
The literal translation of the Japanese word 'Tenkara' is 'from Heaven.' Fitting for a lightweight fly rod characterized by elegance, grace, and simplicity. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Backcountry Hygiene for Ultralight and Long-Distance Hikers
by Ryan Jordan, Ph.D.
A short primer on the topic of backcountry hygiene to help you minimize the risk of contracting stomach-borne illnesses while in the backcountry. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Backcountry Travel on Snowshoes for Lightweight Backpackers
by Don Ladigin
Backcountry Travel on Snowshoes for Lightweight Backpackers Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Backpacking and Hiking with an Umbrella
by Francis Tapon
Francis is an umbrella advocate, eschewing typical rainwear. Find out why he's backpacked over 12,500 miles with an umbrella... and decide if you should follow his lead. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Backpacking and the Bruin Mind
by R. Clinton Ohlers
Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Backpacking: Baby on Board
by Nick Meynen
Hiking through the French Pyrenees is challenging for any young couple hoping to enjoy some relaxation and romance in between climbing passes and breaking camp. The afternoon heat - often ending in a violent thunderstorm - brings more than one overloaded backpacker to boiling point. Now enter a six-kilo, breast-fed, three-month-old baby. Great family trip or a bad idea? Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only Backpacking: Baby on Board - Part 2: Trekking with a Toddler
by Nick Meynen
In Part 1, Fany and Nick embarked on a challenging journey with an unlikely companion: their 3 month old. Two years and another 750 km later, 30 month old Flora has completed the entire traverse. Thru-hiking with a toddler can be as rewarding as it is challenging. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Backpacking Light Trip Planning Spreadsheet Contest Winners
by Backpacking Light Staff
The winners of the Backpacking Light Trip Planning Spreadsheet Contest are a diverse group. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Backpacking versus Thru-hiking
by Francis Tapon
Thru-hiking is not simply a longer version of a backpacking trip. Considering thru-hiking a long trail? Make sure you know what you're getting into and set yourself up for success. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Backpacking with a Newborn
by Danny Milks & Kristin Tennessen
Don't lose hope - Backpacking is still possible with infants. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Bear Bag Hanging Techniques
by Ryan Jordan
A brief review of bear bag hanging techniques with a focus on minimizing weight and maximizing simplicity. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only BushBuddy Stove Tweaks
by Robert Birch
A few simple modifications to make your BushBuddy faster and even more covet-worthy! Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only Bushwhacking Gear: Heavyweight Fabrics and Compatible Construction Techniques to Improve Clothing Longevity for Off-trail Bushwhacking
by Roger Caffin
Thorns, scrub and sandstone can rip ultralight clothing to shreds. What materials and construction techniques hold up to serious bushwhacking? Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Buying an LED Torch: Headlamp Design Considerations to Help Guide Your Purchasing Decisions
by Rick Dreher
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ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Camera Selection Basics for the Lightweight Backpacker
by Franco Darioli
Features for a lightweight backpacker to look for in a digital or film camera. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Camping in the Snow
by Roger Caffin
Proper gear choices, site selection, and preparation techniques can make or break a winter excursion. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Can A Sane Person Truly Enjoy SuperUltralight Backpacking?
by Carol Crooker
SUL for the masses? Perspectives on comfortable gear - with a suggested gear checklist - for a non-technical canyoneering backpacking trip requiring less than five pounds of gear on your back. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Cleaning Up after a Backpacking Meal... using Honey?
by Jeremy Sustare
A simple (and tasty) trick to keep your camp kitchen clean. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only Clothing and Sleep Systems for Mountain Hiking, 1st Edition (August 2002)
by Ryan Jordan, Jim Nelson, and Alan Dixon
Clothing and Sleep Systems for Mountain Hiking, 1st Edition (August 2002) Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Completing a Thru-Hike
by Francis Tapon
What sets successful thru-hikers apart from the rest of the pack? Superfitnessawesomesauce? A trust fund? The best gear? The answer may surprise you. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Considerations for Selecting a Lightweight Backpacking Stove
by Will Rietveld
Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Considering Minimalist Footwear for Backpacking
by Ryan Jordan
While it sounds romantic to be able to trek in hemp-strapped huaraches or five-toed skins, the reality of wild places and the limitations of your body’s biomechanics may necessitate a different type of minimalist footwear. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Decision-Making and the Lightweight Pack
by Mike Clelland and Phil Schneider, edited by Mike Martin
Carrying a lightweight pack has consequences, but they might not be what you think. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Ditch Your Stakes: A Guide To Alternative Shelter Anchors
by Mike Clelland!
Mike Clelland! has gone stakeless! Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only Do It Yourself Projects to Reduce Canister Stove Weight
by Roger Caffin
Experiments from our readers and staff on trimming weight from winter stoves. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Done in a Day
by Kevin Sawchuk
Kevin Sawchuk shares his how-to on fast day hikes, and his why-to, too. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Effectively Using Hiking Poles: The Gas-Brake-Coast Method
by Skip Spitzer
Poking poles around for added stability is fairly intuitive, but the full promise of two more legs - greater endurance, building upper body strength, and reducing injury from stress or falls - requires some technique. Try Skip's straightforward and effective approach! Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Enjoying Backpacking with Kids: Part 1
by Luke Schmidt
Everything boils down to a few simple rules that can encompass a surprising range of scenarios! Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Enjoying Backpacking with Kids: Part 2
by Luke Schmidt
The kid-sized kit: Gear should not become an end in itself. The point is to get out and enjoy the woods with kids. Ultralight gear is exciting because it enables kids to do things they could not otherwise do! Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Essential Canister Stove Maintenance
by Roger Caffin
There you are, way out in the wilderness in bad weather, getting ready for dinner, and your canister stove fails. Now what? Rescue in the field is possible for many problems: learn rescue how-to and the technical details of why it has happened. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Every Ounce Counts
by Luke Ludwig
We asked, you answered: Lightweight Testimony Contest Winner! Read More...

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