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Category Archives: Hiking and Backpacking

What the World’s Most Bumbling Park Ranger Taught Me About Bear Safety

I learned the basics of bear trapping at age eight, when I attended a weeklong Junior Ranger Camp. The experience took place at a state park on the eastern seaboard and was led by park ranger Dan Danners (whose name has been changed, but whose pseudonym resembles the original in both style and structure). Danners […]

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Is Washington’s Cascade Loop the Most Beautiful Road Trip in America?

Along the Cascade Loop, you’ll see a little slice of all that makes Washington great: a series of mountain passes, rivers, and lakes that feel distinctly Pacific Northwestern. The roadway passes through the spiky summits of North Cascades National Park, past the fertile farmlands of the Skagit Valley and the apple orchards of Wenatchee, and […]

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How the Water Filter Became an Affordable, Ultralight Backcountry Tool

Backpackers and hikers tend to take water filtration for granted: for $18, you can buy a straw-style filter that weighs less than two ounces, is small enough to stick in your pocket, and will provide safe drinking water from any stream, lake, or questionable puddle in the country. It’s nothing short of a miracle, however, […]

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The Sandal-Battle Championship: Chaco Versus Birkenstock

This article is part of Outside’s Sandal Battle. View the full field of contestants here. Here’s our recap of the Elite Eight. Below is our breakdown of the Final Four action. Plus, we preview the championship round. Here it is, folks. The final matchup. After more than 20,000 votes across two previous rounds, you’ve picked your favorites. […]

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The Best Lake Towns in America

Nothing screams summer like having a big swimming hole in your backyard. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite lake destinations that pair water-bound adventures with a getaway-worthy town where you can find a decent bite to eat and a place to rest your head. June Lake, California (Photo: Aaron McCoy/Getty) Nicknamed the Switzerland of California, […]

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The Big Sur Waterfall Project Is Top Secret

I first learned about Leor Pantilat the way one learns about lots of things these days: while sitting on my couch and scrolling through Instagram. As an avid hiker and backpacker with decades of mileage in the wilds of California, I recognized the general features of the images he posted—the scoured granite of the Sierra […]

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Thru-Hiking Messed Up My Feet. Here’s How Toe Socks Came to the Rescue.

For the better part of two years, after I finished hiking the Appalachian Trail and tried (and repeatedly failed) to return to running, the lower half of my right leg became a medical battlefield. I went to physical therapists and massage therapists, general practitioners and osteopaths, surgeons and shrinks, asking them all why I was […]

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Why Chacos Are the Best Summer Sandals, Hands Down

This article is part of Outside’s Sandal Battle. Vote for your all-time favorite here. I distinctly recall the first time I heard someone bragging about their Chaco tan. It was April during my senior year in college—one of the first warm days after a long, gray Maine winter. As far as one of my classmates […]

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