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Techniques & Best Practices


ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only The Best Backpack in the Whole Wide World
by Darin Banner
MYOG: A pack that weighs less than a pound, carries 30 pounds while transferring load to the hips, and is ideal for multi-day ultralight expeditions. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only Martin Titanium Knife
by Ryan Jordan
Weighing about the equivalent of half an ounce (16 M&M's) this knife has a 2.75 inch blade that easily guts fish and small game. Better yet it self-sharpens. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only MYOG: Backpack fabrics, features, and dimensions
by David Chenault
Making your own gear is a frustrating and expensive yet very rewarding process. Making your own pack allows you to tailor it to your needs and is a fantastic way to learn about gear. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only The Updated Foot-Care Kit
by Darin Banner
While moleskin still is an effective means to treating hot spots and blisters, new technology is emerging that is far more effective at treating sore feet. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only Technical Canyoneering for the Ultralight Backpacker
by David Chenault
Canyoneering is challenging as it offers an opportunity to tackle a variety of terrain using new gear. Combining canyoneering with backpacking is a recipe for a legendary trip. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Still My Favorite Cook Kit
by Darin Banner
An Esbit cook system is very lightweight, fuel efficient, and ideal for warm-weather, solo cooking. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only Training for Backpacking
by David Chenault
Training for backpacking (a fun activity) need not be complicated or painful. Get in a routine and make each session count. Your long trips will thank you. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only The Care and Feeding of Lindal Valves
by Roger Caffin
Lindal valves are what makes your stove work (or not work). Their proper care can keep your stove running for years. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Learning to Packraft: Ten First Steps for Backcountry Travelers
by Ryan Jordan
This article identifies the first steps on a path to packrafting competence for those specifically interested in actually carrying their raft on their back into remote environments! Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Overboots as Mukluks: Basecamp Footwear for Ski Mountaineers
by Ryan Jordan
Hardshell double boots, common amongst ski mountaineers using modern alpine touring or telemark equipment, make for miserable discomfort during extended stays in camp. Adding a pair of thin neoprene overboots at less than a pound allows one to kick off the plastics and enjoy basecamp slippers while keeping feet warm and dry in the coldest weather. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Vaseline-soaked Cotton Balls
by Georgieann Lilgreen
Vaseline fire starters are a very versatile tool and can light a fire in almost any weather condition. Better yet, you can make them from very inexpensive materials from the comfort of your own home. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Wilderness Trekking School - Ultralight Boot Camp Photo Essay
by Ryan Connelly (Photos by Emily Beers)
The ultralight boot camp is exactly like it sounds; it prepares you to meet unexpected challenges in the wilderness. Plus it's a lot of fun and the scenery is stunning. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only MYOG: A flexible frame for ultralight backpacks
by David Chenault
Ultralight packs are great for your back, but for strapping outdoor gear onto your pack a frame is nice. Lightweight frames are hard to come by. The solution: make your own. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Lightweight Stove Systems for Group Cooking Part 3: Performance of Inverted Canister and White Gas Stoves For Boiling Water and Melting Snow at Subzero (F) Temperatures
by Ryan Jordan
A series of tests exploring the winter performance of inverted canister and integrated canister stove systems for large water volumes and snow melting. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Learn to Packraft! Episode 2: Stillwater Basics
by Ryan Jordan
Episode 2 of "Learn to Packraft!" provides an overview of stillwater packrafting gear and techniques. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Lightweight Stove Systems for Group Cooking Part 2: Exploring the Effects of Cold Temperatures, Canister Inversion, Snow Melting, and Heat Exchanger Systems
by Ryan Jordan
A series of tests exploring the winter performance of inverted canister and integrated canister stove systems for large water volumes and snow melting. 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 Lightweight Stove Systems for Group Cooking Part 1: Basic Framework for Selecting A Cooking Pot and Predicting Fuel Needs
by Ryan Jordan
A series of tests exploring the winter performance of inverted canister and integrated canister stove systems for large water volumes and snow melting. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Simplifying Expedition Food With Single Serving Sized Packages
by Ryan Jordan
Single serving packages can simplify shopping, packaging, and preparation of meals. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Make Your Own Gear
Members Only MYOG: Contoured Side Panels for Improved Load Carry in Frameless Packs
by David Chenault
Overpacking is a major issue with frameless packs. Implementing side panels can help distribute your load in a more effective way. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Techniques for River Corridor Camping
by Ryan Jordan
Tarp camping is tricky enough. Couple that with unstable ground and strong winds and that perfect campsite can quickly become a nightmare. Learn all the tricks to stay dry and happy. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only Techniques for Talus
by Ryan Jordan
Talus can be tricky but with a few tips and a new approach you'll be all set for some Talus Dancing. And boy what fun it is! 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 & Best Practices
Members Only Hydration for Lightweight Backpackers
by Kevin Sawchuk
Dehydration is more than water loss - it's about the salts too. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Learn to Packraft! Episode 1: An Introduction to Packrafting
by Ryan Jordan
Episode 1 of "Learn to Packraft!" introduces you to the wonderful sport of packrafting! Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only The SUL Mindset, Part 2: Less vs. Lighter
by Ryan Jordan
So take your normal gear, just take way less of it! One important goal of SUL is to take less stuff, not buy new stuff. If you have to buy new stuff, then I think that regardless of your pack weight, consider that you may have transcended away from the ultralight philosophy and into ultralight hypocrisy. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Mountain SuperUltraLight Backpacking – Going SUL in the Mountains with Adequate Shelter, Insulation, and Rain Protection. Part 3: M-SUL Base Weight Gear Lists
by Will Rietveld
Gear lists that demonstrate how easy it is to “make weight” for M-SUL and at the same time have all the shelter, insulation, and rain protection you need to stay dry, warm, and comfortable in the high country. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Mountain SuperUltraLight Backpacking – Going SUL in the Mountains with Adequate Shelter, Insulation, and Rain Protection. Part 2C: Selecting the Lightest, Most Functional Gear - Cooking, Water, Trekking Poles, and Accessories
by Will Rietveld
Adapting SUL for mountain conditions, where frequent weather extremes necessitate more capable gear. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only The SUL Wanderer (Video Series) - Episode 2: Food & Water
by Ryan Jordan
The second episode of Backpacking Light's new video series, "The SUL Wanderer" tells stories and teaches techniques about "SuperUltralight Backpacking" - the style of backpacking that focuses on the extremes of light weight, compactness, and simplicity for wilderness travel. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
The SUL Wanderer (Video Series) - Episode 1: Gear
by Ryan Jordan
The first episode of Backpacking Light's new video series, "The SUL Wanderer" tells stories and teaches techniques about "SuperUltralight Backpacking" - the style of backpacking that focuses on the extremes of light weight, compactness, and simplicity for wilderness travel. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Mountain SuperUltraLight Backpacking – Going SUL in the Mountains with Adequate Shelter, Insulation, and Rain Protection. Part 2B: Selecting the Lightest, Most Functional Gear - Rainwear, Insulation, Headwear, Handwear, and Footwear
by Will Rietveld
Adapting SUL for mountain conditions, where frequent weather extremes necessitate more capable gear. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only SUL BikeRaftFishPacking (BFRP)
by Ryan Jordan
An SUL approach to multisport: bikepacking, packrafting, and tenkara fly fishing. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Mountain SuperUltraLight Backpacking – Going SUL in the Mountains with Adequate Shelter, Insulation, and Rain Protection. Part 2A: Selecting the Lightest, Most Functional Gear - Backpack, Shelter, Sleeping Bag, Sleeping Pad
by Will Rietveld
Adapting SUL for mountain conditions, where frequent weather extremes necessitate more capable gear. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Mountain SuperUltraLight Backpacking – Going SUL in the Mountains with Adequate Shelter, Insulation, and Rain Protection. Part 1: Concepts and Scope.
by Will Rietveld
Adapting SUL for mountain conditions, where frequent weather extremes necessitate more capable gear. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only Lightweight Fry Bake Gear and Technique (Video)
by Ryan Jordan
If you're a fan of fry-baked meals in the backcountry, and you are reading this article, it's not likely you're one who gets real excited about carrying the two-pound classic Banks' Fry Bake. Here are some options for lighter gear and techniques for fry-baking as a solo traveler, or in smaller groups. 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
Members Only Pack-and-Paddle Wilderness Route Planning: Predicting Stream Flows
by Ryan Jordan
Guidelines for evaluating watershed geography and streamflow to help ask the question: is this creek runnable in a packraft? Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only Spring Raftpacking (and Packrafting)
by Ryan Jordan
In the high country, runoff doesn’t always coincide with what we all consider to be backpacking season, where trails are dry and the days are sunny. That being the case, here are some tips for trekking, packrafting, and camping in the spring snow and muck. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Packing for Adventure Travel: Ultralight Tips to Integrate Wilderness and Urban Kit
by Ryan Jordan
Packing to combine adventure travel and wilderness recreation. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Spring Snow Trekking Gear List
by Ryan Jordan
Ryan shares his ideal gear list for late-winter, early-spring trekking. By utilizing a snow shelter and making a few adjustments to your kit, you can push the limits of your conventional 3-season gear. Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques
Members Only Winter Firebuilding Techniques (Video)
by Ryan Jordan
Ryan Jordan presents some tools and techniques for dealing with wet wood for firebuilding in winter conditions. 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
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 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
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 & 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 5 Beginning Concepts for Winter Backpacking
by David Chenault
Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Tarp Camping Techniques for Inclement Conditions
by Ryan Jordan
Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Backpacking and the Bruin Mind
by R. Clinton Ohlers
Read More...
ARTICLES Techniques Techniques & Best Practices
Members Only Staying Dry in a Bivy Sack: Techniques for Managing the Moisture Balance Between External Precipitation and Internal Condensation
by Mike Martin
This article was originally published in issue 7 of the Backpacking Light Print Magazine. It has since been revised and updated by the author for web publication. Read More...

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