For an adventure that firmly grounds you in Zion National Park’s backcountry where few day hikers roam, The Zion Traverse, also called the Trans-Zion Trek, isn’t so much a single trail as it is a group of connected trails. If you can imagine yourself hiking through a stunning maze-like landscape of steep echoing canyons, soaring Navajo sandstone monoliths, high-plateaus pocked with pine and juniper, high-desert flora, seeps and springs, and a fascinating geology, then this is a trip for you.
One of the more logistically complicated hiking options in the park, the Zion Traverse offers lots of rewards for the effort. Stealth and observant hikers will catch glimpses of rare Zion snails (living in the hanging gardens throughout the park’s narrowest canyons), pinyon mice, mountain lions, bobcats, canyon tree frogs, golden eagles and great blue herons. As hard as the route is — and it is strenuous — some endurance runners run the entire 47 miles in under 8 hours. The Zion Traverse is someth..
The MiniMo Cooking System by Jetboil is one of the most efficient and convenient integrated stove systems on the market. With all the cooking components you'll need in a compact package, its fast boil times will ensure you have a hot meal quickly after a long day on the trail. Some features we love in the MiniMo are its convenient push button ignitor, sturdy metal handles, wide pot shape, and secure lid with pour spouts. Weighing 14 oz, the MiniMo isn't the lightest stove/pot combination on the market, but for its convenience and ease of use, there's a lot to love.
Quick SpecsTotal Weight: 14 oz.Listed 1L Boil Time: 4 min, 30 secCapacity: 1 LiterPacked Dimensions: 5 x 6 inchesFuel: Isobutane-propane canisters (100 gram size fits inside)ProsEasy to useVery fast boil timesFuel efficientGood wind performanceGood simmer controlPush button ignitorSturdy metal handlesGood top lid and pour spoutsConsRelatively expensiveA bit heavy compared to ultralight stove options
The Enlightened Equipment Revelation Quilt is one of our favorite sleeping bags/quilts for lightweight backpacking adventures. The flexible design of the Revelation has been a game changer for our backcountry trips, and we love it's warmth-to-weight ratio. Quilts like the Revelation do tend to be a bit more drafty than sleeping bags, so they're not a great fit when temps dip below freezing. But if you mostly backpack in warm weather during the spring, summer, and fall, you're likely to love the freedom of the Revelation.
The biggest differentiator with the Revelation is its clever design. When completely un-cinched it lays flat just like the comforter on your bed at home. If you want to increase warmth, the bottom of the bag cinches tight to create a fully enclosed footbox, similar to a sleeping bag. This design creates an excellent blend between weight, warmth, and functionality for backcountry trips.
In addition, the Revelation comes with two elastic sleeping pad cli..
One of the nation’s smallest national parks, 56.2-square mile Bryce Canyon National Park in south-central Utah isn’t really a canyon in the usual sense. Comprised of a series of more than a dozen horseshoe-shaped chromatic limestone amphitheaters on the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau, it’s a wonder of wind and rain erosion that has resulted in a maze of slot canyons, windows, and & spires. Bordered on the rim by ponderosa pines, high elevation meadows, and fir-spruce forests, it’s also an awe-inspiring place to backpack.
Combine the 23 miles of the point-to-point Under-the-Rim Trail with the 8.8 miles of the Riggs Spring Loop Trail at the end, and enjoy 31.8 miles of what is often called some of the world's best air quality. Besides making it easier on the lungs, clean air also means easier on the eyes. You can literally see for 200 miles across a panorama of three states. It also means that on a clear night, the lack of light pollution provides unparalleled stargazing.
Patagonia is one of the most pristine and wild regions on our planet. Just the word itself evokes images of windswept landscapes with jagged granite spires twisting to the sky, immense glaciers and some of the largest ice fields on Earth. Spanning the southern regions of Chile and Argentina, hiking in Patagonia offers a diverse mix of landscape, flora and fauna, including guanacos, condors, red-headed woodpeckers, and if you’re lucky – maybe even a puma, huemul, or pygmy owl.
For all its beauty and grandeur, hiking in Patagonia can be a very accessible activity. Trekking tourism has been rapidly increasing in Patagonia over the past five years, so you should expect to be sharing the trails. Though many people hike with organized tour groups, hiking independently is very possible in most places. Even those with little backpacking experience will find trekking in Patagonia to be an accessible and absolutely unforgettable adventure.
For more information on what gear you'll need, we r..
The vast and pristine beauty of Patagonia has been beckoning intrepid hikers for years and for good reason. It's a truly remarkable place where guanacos roam free below towering granite peaks and immense glaciers. Whether you're preparing for the W Trek in Torres del Paine or chasing sunrises on Fitz Roy, packing the right gear to ensure you're safe and comfortable is essential.
For a more comprehensive guide to help with planning your trip, we recommend checking out the following resources:
Guide to Backpacking & Hiking in Patagonia.Guide to Hiking in Torres del Paine: W, O, and Q TreksBest Backpacking Gear – CleverHiker Gear GuideWhy Hike LightFirst things first, we always recommend hiking light. You’ll pass backpackers on the trail with gear strapped to their already bulging packs. Don’t be that person. Dial in your gear before your trip, minimize unnecessary items, and focus on keeping your weight down. Not only will your trip will be far more enjoyable, you’ll also..
The sale we wait for all year is finally here – REI's Anniversary Sale. Running from May 18th-28th, their biggest sale of the year includes some of our favorite backpacking, camping, and hiking gear. In addition to deep discounts, REI members also receive 20% off one full-price item and an extra 20% off one REI Outlet item with coupon code: ANNIV18.
Here's the gear we're most excited about in this year's big sale. Hope you enjoy!
Big Agnes Copper Spur TentsBig Agnes Copper Spur Tents have an exceptional blend of weight, interior space, and functionality. They have great features for maximizing comfort – freestanding, double-wall, near-vertical sidewalls, two large doors/vestibules, interior pockets – and they remain at the top of our Best Backpacking Tents list. Copper Spur Tents are offered in 1P, 2P, 3P & 4P sizes, all of which are great. We’re partial to the 2P & 3P models depending on how much interior space you want.
Altra Footwear Altra Lone Peak 3.5 trail..
The Goat Rocks Wilderness drapes over the crest of the Cascade Range in South-Central Washington, offering endless views of iconic Cascade peaks and volcanoes. Numerous snowfields flank its craggy ridges and peaks, while steep drainages open into basins filled with alpine meadows and glacial lakes. Pacific Crest Trail hikers frequently say that Goat Rocks has the best scenery along the northern half of the 2,650-mile PCT. And, if you're quiet and lucky, you may see mountain goats.
Embraced by both the Gifford Pinchot and the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forests, and located just south of Mt. Rainier and just north of Mt Adams, much of Goat Rock’s 120-mile trail system stays on the ridges at or above timberline. Alpinists are drawn to the wilderness area’s highest point — 8,184-foot Gilbert Peak, which can be summited via a challenging but nontechnical ascent. But the window on these higher elevation adventures is tight; the snow often doesn’t melt until August and can reappear..
When it comes to backcountry stoves, it's tough to beat the convenience of an integrated stove system. Integrated canister stoves connect a pot and burner together securely, which maximizes fuel efficiency, wind performance, stability, ease of use, and leads to very fast boil times. Integrated stoves are also designed to be highly portable, with all components and a fuel canister fitting snuggly inside the pot together.
The main downside with integrated stoves is they tend to be heavier than the combination of an ultralight stove and pot (our faves are the BRS + Mini Solo), but depending on your needs, the added convenience, fuel efficiency, wind performance, and super fast boil times of an integrated stove may make them a better fit for your adventures.
In the world of integrated stoves, two models stand apart in our opinion: the Jetboil MiniMo and MSR WindBurner. While both stoves perform very well and are worth recommending, we wanted to put the two systems up against each othe..
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