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Backpacker April 2017

Published nine times a year, Backpacker is a magazine of wilderness travel, offering practical, "you can do it, here's how" advice to help you enjoy every trip. Filled with the best places, gear, and information for all kinds of hiking and camping trips, each issue delivers foldout maps and stunning color photography.

United States
Pocket Outdoor Media, LLC

in this issue

4 min
gear wars

“ NOT A CHANCE,” said one editor. “ My legs felt like they were trapped in a gunny sack.” “But look how small it packs,” said another. “Are you sure you didn’t wear your pants to bed?” “How can you keep it on the list at that price?” added a third staffer. “If it stays, I want another vote on the pack.” We were in a campsite in Colombia’s Páramo de Ocetá last fall, si. ing in a narrow valley with white and yellow wild flowers on one side and a waterfall on the other. It was beautiful. It was a place where you relax with friends, ogle the scenery, and reminisce about the day’s highlights. Instead we were arguing. A stranger who happened by at this moment might even think we were…

2 min

Give Your Gear a Second Life Done with your gear before your gear is done? Finish your spring cleaning and do some good at the same time by donating your gently-used gear to one of these organizations. (Find tips for getting it clean at backpacker.com/springcleaning). Boy Scouts of America . scouting.org Girl Scouts .girlscouts.org Big City Mountaineersbigcitymountaineers.org Gear Forward .gearforward.org Sierra Club .sierraclub.org Yes We Can There are more canned craft beers on the market than ever before. The downside: Choosing the best can start a campfire war. When we shared Jonathan Shikes’ roundup of the 10 best canned beers for hikers (backpacker.com/cannedbeer), our Facebook fans chimed in with their own picks. Union Jack IPA Firestone Walker Brewing Company –Brent Toellner Two Hearted Ale Bell’s Brewery –Ken Quire Stowaway IPA Baxter Brewing Co. –Jeremy J. Scully Elevated IPA La Cumbre Brewing Co. –Nick Karnezis Cali Creamin’ Vanilla…

16 min
editors' choice awards

WHERENEXT.COM DO IT The high-alpine tundras of Colombia’s páramos are uniquely beautiful, like a blend of Scottish highlands and Galapagos bizarreness set at 12,000 feet. The land is largely free of visitors, so get there while it’s still on the down-low. COST $480 for a five-day trek (up to 6 people, BYO supplies) GUIDE pure-colombia.com REI CO-OP MAGMA 850 IF YOU’VE BEEN WAITING TO GET A PREMIUM DOWN BAG BECAUSE OF PRICE, STOP WAITING. WARM. LIGHT. COMFORTABLE. Every quality you want in a sleeping bag, and the Magma nails them all. And it adds one more you don’t usually find when you get everything else you want: affordable. “This is the bag I’d buy if I could only have one,” says Editor-in-Chief Dennis Lewon, who used the Magma during five days of soggy, chilly hiking…

17 min

Most stable BLACK DIAMOND Blitz 20 Our take This daypack weighs less than a pound, but carries loads better than many burlier packs we tested this year. Credit the tapered design, which centers the load in the small of your back without a bulky hipbelt. The pack got high marks for supporting up to 20 pounds, and the shape never interfered with high steps or arm swings while alpine climbing. “The barely-there silhouette let me slip through narrow slots and tight trees,” a tester says. The packbag is made from a single piece of lightweight material that wraps around the bottom, which eliminates seams and helps the Blitz achieve rock-bottom weight. Bummer: no external bottle pockets. The details The 210-denier nylon with Dynex ripstop is 10 times stronger by weight than steel. It held…

PACK_Osprey copy
1 min
design school

MOST VERSATILE Exped Skyline 15 Our Take This daypack can handle dense loads, and an innovative suspension lets you switch between a back-hu ging fit for better stability and a trampoline-style carry with enhanced ventilation. $129; 2 lbs. 5 oz.; 17 liters; 1 size; exped.com VERSATILITY The most unique feature about the Skyline? You can choose stability or ventilation simply by changing tension on a strap (tighten it to create a trampoline-style backpanel). A tester who hiked the Jordan Trail in temps that reached 113°F says, “I wore the packbag close to my back when I was boulder hopping, but for the straightout desert crossing, venting mode gave me some relief.” Note: The Switch suspension is available on larger capacity models as well. LOAD TRANSFER A plastic framesheet and two thin, steel stays provide better-thanexpected load capacity…

1 min
up close

LIGHT AND TOUGH The North Face Alpine 50 Our take The North Face’s FuseForm Cordura nylon packcloth is the most advanced fabric we’ve seen. It fuses different fabrics together in the weaving process, eliminating the need for seams. The result: stronger Cordura thread on the bottom of the pack to combat abrasion, lighter stuff on the upper half that sees less abuse, and fewer seams overall. The construction saves weight without sacrificing durability. Testers raved about the material being tough as proverbial nails on the bottom but flexible and light on top. Ding: Some testers wished for more cushioning in the thin, EVA foam shoulder straps, which were uncomfortable carrying more than 40 pounds. The details The low-profile shape helped this pack hug our backs. A Yosemite guide says that it rode better…