I got my first issue of Backpacker Magazine (January 2014) this week. My son, Ben, subscribed for me. I had a subscription several years ago and loved it – so I was thrilled when he gave me such a timely gift. The magazine includes information on gear, possible hike locations, tips for safety, and creative/innovative skills for hiking in the backcountry. One of the standard authorities on hiking and wilderness experiences, this publication is respected by hikers, bikers, and runners all over the world.
This issue featured the Readers’ Choice Awards for gear highlighting rain coats, tents, boots, cook sets, sleeping bags, and compression sacks. I am excited about how much there is to know and the choices that abound for thru-hiker want-a-be’s like me (almost all of the choices are expensive, however). I am learning a lot – it is so much fun to read about the gear, clothing and hiking resources available today. How did the pioneers ever do it without REI? How did Simon Kenton and Daniel Boon stay warm without MountBell, Patagonia, or Marmot?
The United States is divided into six regions and the magazine spotlights some great hikes in each of these areas. I have heard a positive reviews about the Red River Gorge, KY from fellow hikers and now Backpacker recommends this location as a primo target for adventure. It is part of the DBNF (Daniel Boone National Forest) which contains an estimated 500 miles of trails through rugged terrain. The sandstone cliffs and exposed limestone rock faces make the Gorge a blue ribbon trail. I discovered that DBNF is about 185 miles from my doorstep and my Civic could get me there in around 3 hours! Yes, I have put it on my “spring time preparation hike list.”
Too bad Backpacker magazine isn’t a weekly publication!