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Backpacker November 2016

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

3 min
editor’s note

Comfort Zone THE TAGLINE FOR THIS MAGAZINE is “Get Out More.” Not “Get Out More in Summer.” Not “Get Out More When The Sky Is Clear.” Just Get Out More, and that means we want to help you enjoy the outdoors in every season, whatever the conditions. Admittedly, it takes a certain kind of person to reject the luxury of central heat and Netflix when rain is falling or snow is swirling. The comforts of modern living are undeniably appealing at such times. But I learned long ago that there’s such a thing as being too comfortable. Stay inside, and just think of what you’ll miss: Cold fall nights that make the stars pop in the sky. Snow that quiets the wilderness and creates a brand-new landscape where you can be the first…

1 min
meet the testers

Donna CampbellPack tester At Cape Chignecto, Nova Scotia, we had some 24 feet of snow, so we were literally snowshoeing in the treetops. With gusts up to 50 mph, windchill was -14°F. TIP The insulation of your pad is just as important as the rating of your bag. Maren Horjus, Destinations Editor, ski & boot tester If anyone finds an Oakland Raiders pom-pom beanie in the Turkey Chute couloir in Grand Teton National Park, please send me a message. TIP Take the extra five seconds to stow valuable items in zippered pockets when you’re transitioning; stuff-it pockets are worthless if/when you tomahawk. Scott Yorko,Gear Editor, insulation and splitboard tester While hammering to the top of Dragon’s Tail couloir in Rocky Mountain National Park, one loose binding screw became three missing screws and…

1 min

Gear in the Wild gwhotravels Grand Canyon National Park Reader Glenna Goldman and her boyfriend Jake Geiger (pictured) were on a three-month road trip this summer when they stopped for a three-day, 34-mile backpacking trip from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. Notably absent: the epic crowds. “We only saw about four other people until we got to the Bright Angel Trail,” she wrote. Tag your ’grams #bpmag for a chance to be featured here. Cold Comfort Winter’s just around the corner, and that means that trails across America will soon be covered in a blanket of the white stuff. But BACKPACKER readers aren’t putting their boots in storage. We asked our Facebook followers: How do you keep moving in the snowy season? Toddling Terrors Babies are adorable. When we posted “5 Reasons Why You Should Adventure With Your…

1 min
1 toast autumn.

NANTAHALA NATIONAL FOREST, NORTH CAROLINA A flannel, a flask, and a fall landscape. The ingredients of a perfect moment come together atop Blackrock Mountain in North Carolina’s o­en-overlooked Plott Balsam Range this time of year. This one comes a­er 4.8 miles of tough ridge-and-forest hiking (there’s a campsite .1 mile beyond), and the strength of its beauty comes with a message: Be here, now. So what if the hike ahead is rough? (It’s especially so if you continue the loop to 5,000-foot The Pinnacle for an 11.3-mile day.) So what if winter is coming? It’s not here yet. That’s the beauty of moments like this. They’re a freeze frame in a motion picture that rushes past so fast you forget what it’s like to feel chilled air and a sunwarmed rock.…

3 min
2 shifting sands

Alkali Flat Trail WHITE SANDS NATIONAL MONUMENT, NEW MEXICO A snow_eld in the middle of one of America’s hottest, driest landscapes? Not a chance: Those blindingly white dri_s make up the largest gypsum dune_eld in the world at 275 square miles. The national monument stretches on seemingly forever until abutting the 8,000-foot San Andres Mountains. See it on the 5-mile Alkali Flat Trail, the longest established path through the park. Follow the red markers north and west, circling the remnants of Lake Otero (buried beneath the white sand since the last Ice Age) for the whole loop. Spy the San Andres range to the west, the Sacramentos to the east, and the Tres Hermanas to the southwest, while keeping an eye out for badgers, kangaroo rats, and pocket gophers burrowing in the…

1 min
no. 3 grow it out.

Put that razor away, guys: No Shave November—Movember’s hairier evolution—is upon us. Let your facial hair loose for 30 days and see where you rank among the best of the outdoor beards. The NonBeard Actually, maybe you should have shaved a. er all. The Guide A good stubble says, “I’m competent with everything but a razor.” The Neck Beard Your beard may have slid off your face, but it still counts as SPF 70. The Amish Hey, at least you can still eat yogurt and ice cream with ease. The Everest Add some icicles and you’ll look like you just finished a two-month expedition to the world’s high point. The ThruHiker What takes some men six months to grow takes you one. Mind the hidden bits of last week’s oatmeal.…