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Adam W. Chase

When you boil it down, runners are travelers. Photos by Jamie Mieras We move through space faster than walkers and hikers and, at times, we venture to different parts of the world to run on new roads and trails. Running away from home, or, rather, running while traveling, is somewhat of an acquired skill and this guide provides some shortcuts and does so contextually, in the central coast of California. Highway 1 Discovery Route is to roads what many of the trails in communities along the scenic coastal drive are to running trails: they are both iconic. As such, the [...]

Jimmy Elam

Simplicity is one of the greatest things about running. You leave the house with just your trusty pair of shoes (okay, hopefully shorts too) not worrying about flat bike tires, waxing the skis, or if your sleeping bag is warm enough. Since running is so simple, how is it that choosing a running shoe can be so challenging and frustrating? The number of running shoes on the market is overwhelming, to say the least. With varieties ranging from trail, road, neutral, stability, minimalist and maximalist, it’s no surprise many runners get stuck with a shoe that’s not for them. Don’t [...]

Connor Johnson

The style statement, the gear hauler, or the bottomless pit of fun: Whatever you call it, the daypack carries all of your essentials, wherever you’re going and whatever you’re doing. You may be wondering just what about a backpack makes it a “daypack.” Well, it comes down to the size. A daypack sits in the range from about 610 cubic inches (10L) to 2135 cubic inches (35L). For most people, packs in this size range do an excellent job at carrying a single day’s worth of gear, but needs do vary depending on the individual and activity. When shopping for [...]

Andrew Bisharat

Rope care and maintenance is one of those things that climbers neglect at their peril. One aspect that is frequently debated among climbers is the question of how to clean a rope. I’ve cleaned ropes using all the methods described below, many of which I learned from other climbers, read about in magazines, or read about online. In all of that research, one thing I’ve never read is someone raising the bigger question, which is: Do you actually even need to clean your rope, and should you? I ask because every time I’ve washed my rope, I’ve noticed that the [...]

Jeff Catalano

Climbing hotspots are sometimes found in the most unlikely places. Among the monotony of grassy hills and grazing cattle just north of the Utah-Idaho border, sitting on the edge of the small town of Almo, sits City of Rocks. City of Rocks National Reserve is part of the California Trail and has a rich history as a landmark for emigrants heading west on wagons. There are several historical sites within the Reserve, such as Camp Rock and Register Rock, which feature signatures scribed in axle grease from emigrants heading to California in the mid 1800s. Besides its historical significance, City [...]

Eric Watford

On a hot, sunny summer day, nothing beats getting out on the water. Photo above courtesy NRS. More and more, people are discovering stand-up paddleboarding, whether it’s as a new fitness or yoga medium, a new way to explore waterways, a new approach to surfing, an alternative to kayak fishing, or simply as a great way to enjoy warm weather. If this sounds appealing, here’s what you need to know to select a board and get started with stand-up paddleboarding. When looking at boards, your first decision will necessarily be between inflatable and solid boards. Each have their advantages and [...]

Adam W. Chase

Tripling up with running in the Canadian Rockies is all the rage this summer. Photo credit above: William Eaton, Golden Ultra With two tremendous events, both hosting three days of incredibly scenic and enticing trail running, you have your pick of courses and distances in a ruggedly accommodating part of the world. The Trailstoke Trifecta Triplestoke and Golden Ultra are both held in Canadian destination ski resorts that are just as beautiful in the summer as they are in the winter. If you’re a running aficionado, and even if you’re not, these spots are definitely bucket-list-worthy. Getting Stoked in Revelstoke: [...]

Colin Clancy

“Barring love I’ll take my life in large doses alone—rivers, forests, fish, grouse, mountains. Dogs.” —Jim Harrison Each autumn the gales of November blow from Canada and raise 20-foot waves on Lake Superior that ravage the gorgeous and rugged shoreline of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Home to legendary American author Jim Harrison for much of his life, this coast of the freshwater sea pervades Harrison’s work in spirit and is home to many of his most enduring characters. A gem of that coast is Marquette, a town whose Landmark Inn houses a Jim Harrison suite. Living in Marquette, I first read [...]

Sunn Kim

The landscape of Utah is world-renown for its immense beauty, grandeur, and diversity. From the jagged peaks of the Wasatch Range to the deep canyons of Zion, Utah’s landscape has been heralded as one of the most beautiful places on earth. For this reason, a disproportionately large number of national and state parks dot the land. While each park is unique, they all have in common one immutable fact: they somehow defy description and photography. One can describe the landscape and take numerous photos, but it is difficult to encapsulate the essence and sheer scale of these places. One must [...]

Joshua Barnes

The whole reason we go camping is to get away from the restraints of modernity, but just because you’re leaving civilization behind doesn’t mean you can’t get a good night’s rest. Think about how much better the sunrise will look if it’s preceded by a solid night’s sleep. Since the large number sleep system options can get overwhelming, we’ll break them into their basic parts and help you figure out which system is right for you. Obviously, your decision will depend heavily on whether you’re carrying your bed on your back deep into the backcountry, or if you’re pitching your [...]

Justin Ratzlaff

“I hope you brought patch kits!” Fred yelled to us as he watched us unroll our Hala inflatable stand-up paddleboards in his yard on the riverbank. The five brand-new boards had never been out of the box, much less seen whitewater. Similarly, out of our crew of five, only two of us―Louis and myself―had ever been whitewater paddleboarding, on a short four-hour cruise down the Colorado River. Audra had done some flatwater paddling the summer before, while Malee tried it once in Florida on a vacation. And Mat had never seen a SUP before in his life. Our goal: an [...]

Curtis Jensen

With the switch from road to trail come new obstacles, challenges, and rewards. Expecting the unexpected is a large part of the trail running experience, but there are a few things to think about before you get started. Running Surface Running surface varies significantly between treadmill, road, and trail running, and determines much in terms of form and gear in each discipline. Treadmills are uniformly smooth and somewhat shock-absorbing, whereas paved roads are generally smooth (depending on their condition) and hard. Trails, on the other hand, are by definition not uniform—tree roots, stones, mud, water, gravel, and debris make for [...]

Pace Measom

This entire adventure started with a simple question: How can we enjoy the wilderness and solitude of backpacking without forfeiting the creature comforts typically reserved for car camping? The clue, as it turns out, was quite literally right under our noses, in the form of the Backcountry Goat logo. With the help of some goats, five big ones to be precise, we discovered a way to have our cake and eat it too, so to speak. Our first step was figuring out exactly whom we needed to talk to, and what exactly we needed to know, in order to employ [...]

Garson Fields

Mountain bikes have been evolving constantly since their inception, but the pace of development over the past few years has picked up appreciably. From changing trends in wheel size to serious advancements in frame geometry and suspension, it’s hard to keep up. So naturally, there’s a great deal of confusion out there about Plus-size bikes. You’ve probably heard about them by now, and maybe seen a few on the trail. If you’re unsure if you want one, or even what they are, consider this a quick primer. What is a Plus bike? The short version is that a Plus bike [...]

Laurel Nelson

As the weather warms in the spring, river flows increase and a whole new world opens up for exploration. Rafting is an accessible adventure option that allows you to explore remote places from a unique perspective. There is nothing better than looking up at huge canyon walls dwarfing your boat. You are able to get away from the crowds, bond with your small group, and really feel like you are one with nature, but without having to rough it too much. There are many ways to venture into the boating world, from kayaks to stand-up paddleboards to rafts. There are [...]

Pace Measom

Whether at home or camp, eating well is an essential component of good living. It’s time to throw the burnt hot dogs and ramen out the window. Use these five tips to take your next camp meal to an entirely new level—your friends will thank you. 1) Prep it at Home Cooking food in camp is fun, prepping food in camp—not so much. Anyone who has ever tried to dice vegetables on a tiny cutting board placed on their lap knows what I’m talking about. One of the easiest things you can do to cook an elevated camp meal (and [...]

Pace Measom

For us, mountain towns don’t get any better than Park City, Utah. The powder skiing, Western heritage, and small-town feel with big-city style have a way of inspiring the creation of great brands. Founded twenty years ago by two Park City ski bums, Backcountry.com is counted among them. To introduce Basin and Range, the latest creation inspired by Park City, we shot the clothing on location at the new High West whiskey distillery at Blue Sky Ranch, another great Park City establishment. Featuring Utah’s first legal distillery since 1870, High West has been breaking some serious trail―we can get behind [...]

Elliott Woods

In Bozeman, we think it’s just plain ridiculous that après season ends in some towns when the ski lifts stop rolling. Our après season extends well into summer. Actually, it’s pretty much year-round, though the time of après changes based on available sunlight. Après fishing, après mountain biking, après rafting, après elk bratwursts—there’s an après for just about everything. Our breweries have long been trusted to wash away the soreness in our legs after a powder day at Bridger Bowl or a long ride on the Bangtail Divide, but there’s a newcomer to the Bozeman après scene—craft booze. Montana is [...]

Elliott Woods

Skinning through the timber above the creek that leads to Astral Lake in Montana’s Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, you catch glimpses of mouth-watering pillow lines and wide-open bowls of untracked cold smoke powder. Film by Greg Cairns / Photos by Elliott Woods Sunrise over the Beartooths, seen from the Mt. Zimmer Yurt. You’re surrounded on all sides by lines that would make just about anyone want to quit their job and find a dishwashing job in the closest town. The good news—or bad news, if you’re seriously considering becoming a dishwasher—is that the closest town, Cooke City, on Yellowstone National Park’s northeastern [...]

Jimmy Elam

The faster you can recover from a workout, the sooner you can train again. And generally, the more you can train, the better you’ll get. To achieve this end, many athletes and weekend warriors are turning to compression clothing as an aid to better training training and faster recovery. But, what is compression clothing? And how does it work? Benefits of Compression Garments Depending on who you ask, compression garments make a huge difference, or they’re just really tight underwear. Some controlled studies have yielded interesting results, while others are completely inconclusive. Overall, though, most people can agree on the [...]

Kyle Livingston

More than 60 years ago, Jack O’Neill, a northern California surfer, opened up a surf shop in Santa Cruz and began selling his creations: the first neoprene surfing wetsuits. Surfers and water-sport aficionados around the world can thank him for extending their seasons beyond a few short months of summer and their range of surf spots outside of balmy beaches. Wetsuits enable us to enjoy our favorite sports in colder waters by keeping our core body temperature above 95 degrees Fahrenheit and preventing hypothermia. From scuba divers to triathletes to surfers to freshwater rafters and kayakers, there are many outdoor [...]

Jeff Catalano

Your friend just dragged you to the climbing gym where you schlepped your way up some chunks of plastic. Now you’re hooked, and already looking forward to taking your new love outside. When you got home, you and your raw, painful hands typed “rock climbing” into the Google machine and you immediately got overwhelmed. Don’t worry; we’ve all been there. There are so many styles of climbing out there, not to mention so much lingo that it’s easy to get lost. Below you’ll find a breakdown to get you started. Climbing without a Rope Bouldering Backcountry Employees Diana Jenson and [...]

Adam W. Chase

Fair warning: I have a running shoe fetish. There is a reason I am known among my friends as the “Shoemelier” and the “Imelda of Running.” As a gear editor for a number of publications, I’ve had the chance to test more than a thousand running shoes over the years, which probably hasn’t helped. That being said, I still believe that there are very good reasons why you too should have your own ‘quiver’ (in sporting parlance, a collection of different types of a piece of sporting equipment) of running shoes. A die-hard skier has her quiver. It includes powder [...]

Andrew McLean

Skiing in the dark is hardly a new idea. In the Pacific Northwest, night skiing at the resorts—in the rain, no less—can almost be as crowded as skiing during the day. As a means of approach, climbers have been getting “alpine starts” at midnight and skinning through the dark to ensure they beat the sun to their climbing objectives for generations. Avalanche forecasters and snow safety patrollers routinely start work hours before sunrise and the crowds show up. And of course, there is always the most popular form of skiing in the dark—by accidentally getting lost in the mountains and [...]

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