Western Arthurs Traverse Planning Guide

The Western Arthurs Traverse (WAT) is one of Australia’s most spectacular and challenging treks. Situated in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, it’s a lollipop-shaped route that negotiates the western section of the famously rugged and inclement Arthur Range. Encapsulating … Continue reading

Tents for Thru-Hiking

The following article is a compilation of trail-tested lightweight tents, recommended by some of the most accomplished long distance hikers from the US, Australia and the UK. All of the shelters listed weigh three pounds (1.36 kg) or less, and … Continue reading

Cape Wrath Trail Backpacking Guide

The Cape Wrath Trail is often referred to as Britain’s toughest long distance walk. Stretching approximately 230 miles (370 km) from the Highland hub of Fort William to the remote lighthouse of Cape Wrath, it is an unmarked and sometimes … Continue reading

The Essential Guide to Ultralight Bivy Sacks

For hikers that enjoy tarping and cowboy camping, ultralight bivy sacks represent an excellent supplementary option for your sleeping system. Weighing in at between 4.5 and 7.5 oz (0.13 – 0.21 kg), they add approximately four to eight degrees of … Continue reading

25 Multipurpose Backpacking Gear Items

“If you can’t ride two horses at once you shouldn’t be in the circus.” ~  James Maxton (1885-1946) One of the principal ways in which a hiker can lower his or her pack weight is by using multipurpose gear. A … Continue reading

The Skye Trail – Trip Report & Backpacking Guide

Scotland’s Isle of Skye is a place steeped in myth, legend and natural beauty. Tales of giants and shape-shifting water horses are woven together with stories of dramatic mountain ranges and coastlines. It is an island that engages and inspires … Continue reading

Books, Bothies and the Northern Lights

Let me begin this long overdue post with an apology to my readers. I just arrived home after six weeks of hiking around the Scottish Highlands and Norway’s Lofoten Islands. Before departing I had planned to put up a quick … Continue reading

The Thru Hiker’s Gear List – Vol. 2

The article below is a follow-up to last year’s most popular post, The Thru Hiker’s Gear List. In a nutshell, it’s a compilation of gear recommendations from 11 of the most accomplished and experienced long distance hikers in the United States; … Continue reading

Sleeping Bags for Thru-Hiking

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know.” ~  Ernest Hemingway The sleeping bag is perhaps the most cherished item in a thru-hiker’s kit. After a long day on trail, is there … Continue reading

30 Crappy (but practical) Christmas Gifts for Hikers

Over the past couple of years, the most popular articles on “The Hiking Life” haven’t been about outdoor skills, backpacking equipment or trip reports from exotic locales. Nope, they’ve been about crappy hiker gifts that you can pick up for … Continue reading

Why Choose a Quilt over a Sleeping Bag?

From the 1980’s through to 2003, I exclusively used sleeping bags. From 2003 to 2011, I tried a couple of different types of quilts, but being a side sleeper who occasionally tosses and turns, I was never entirely satisfied with … Continue reading

Gear List: Cordillera Real Traverse

Click here for more details & images from the traverse of Bolivia’s Cordillera Real range. I hiked the 150 mile (241 km) CRT in August of this year, which is “dry” season in the Bolivian Andes. It is also winter, however, due … Continue reading

Trip Report: Cordillera Real Traverse

I first visited Bolivia’s Cordillera Real in 1996. During that trip I distinctly recall thinking that it would be cool to return in the future, and put together an extended route spanning the entire range. As is sometimes the case … Continue reading

Backpacks for Thru-Hiking

When choosing a backpack for a long distance hike, you want something that is functional, lightweight, comfortable, durable, and preferably with a proven track record. No one wants to splash out $200 to $300, only to find their purchase coming … Continue reading

Ausangate Circuit: Independent Hiker’s Guide

The Ausangate Circuit is a classic Andean trek that features glaciers, hot springs, turquoise lakes, and traverses four high altitude passes. Despite the fact that it boasts some of the finest mountain scenery in Peru, it receives only a fraction … Continue reading

Tips for Hiking in Cold and Wet Weather

A combination of driving rain, high winds and temperatures just above freezing, represents some of the most challenging weather that a hiker can face. In these conditions hypothermia and frostbite (if the thermometer subsequently drops below 0°C / 32°F) are … Continue reading

The Thru-Hiker’s Gear List

An follow-up / expanded version of this article, The Thru Hikers Gear List Vol.2, appeared in April, 2018. It includes gear recommendations from nine more of the world’s most accomplished long distance hikers including Andrew Skurka, Justin “Trauma” Lichter, Heather … Continue reading

Badlands Traverse Gear List

For someone that has been going lightly in the wilderness for a long time, jeez I’ve carried some heavy loads in 2016. For the February / March traverse of southwest Tasmania, I started with forty-two pounds (19 kg); twenty-eight (12.7 … Continue reading