Recent Posts

  • How to Plan a Backpacking Trip

    by Jim Margolis
    by Jim Margolis

    If you’ve ever wondered why your pack felt so heavy, it might be time to re-examine what you’ve stuffed in it. In this deep dive, our in-house expert provides a detailed gear list with photos and walks you through how to plan your multi-day backpacking trip from scratch. Review how to choose a location, understand the history of your destination, plan your route, manage hazards, and find resources for planning food and gear.

  • Find out where you can send texts, make calls or access the internet along any route or trail. The new Cell Phone Coverage maps define where major cell phone carriers reach across the United States including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Whether you’re headed to the national parks, planning a thru-hike, or going into the backcountry for a few nights, use these maps to find out if you’ll have cell service anywhere you plan to go in the US.

  • Episode two of the Out and Back podcast drops today featuring thru-hiking legend the The Real Hiking Viking. In this episode, meet free-spirited and fun-focused Thomas Gathman, who picked up the Viking trail name due to his Norse-like beard and his warrior status as a former Marine Scout Sniper. Viking served two combat tours in Iraq before coming home, selling all his possessions in 2013, and hiking more than 20,000 miles on America’s longest trails. Tune in to hear Viking’s story about how he turned from sniper to pro hiker and never looked back.

  • As a kid, elite mountain climber Conrad Anker was diagnosed with ADHD. Rather than turn to pills, his parents sent him outside. Over time, fresh air and the great outdoors became Anker’s salve and sanctuary, and his path to becoming one of the best alpinists in the world. While the pandemic has limited Anker and the greater outdoor community’s access to the backcountry, experts say we don’t need to climb tall mountains to reap the benefits of nature.

    In this article, psychology experts, professors, and world-class athletes weigh in on why going outside even for 10 minutes a day can boost mental health. Read more about how athletes like Conrad Anker and ultra runner Scott Jurek are making the most of the outdoors simply by stepping outside their own front doors and exploring their neighborhoods.

  • Gaia Topo just got even better. Discover the best trails and routes and easily find public lands anywhere in the US with two new updates on our flagship map. Now you can quickly see nearby routes to campsites, trailheads and more on, plus view public land ownership easily with new color coding. Don’t forget to take Gaia Topo with you by downloading areas in seconds and entire states in minutes.

  • Veterans have turned to wilderness therapy programs to ease the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other combat-related injuries for many years. But with parks closed and many states ordering residents to stay at home, these therapeutic adventures have been put on hold. Program directors nationwide weigh in on how these programs might resume later this summer and advise veterans to seek fresh air close to home while they wait out quarantine.

  • The latest Android 2020.5 release includes a number of usability updates, making actions in the app more efficient and visuals more detailed. A refreshed stats bar and a number of fixes, like better deletion, add up to a smoother experience when using your Android device. After listening to your feedback, we’re excited to deliver Android 2020.5.

  • Last July, Andrew Baldwin set out southbound on the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail thru-hike. His previous year, filled with untethered travel throughout the US, left Baldwin searching for a purpose. Determined to find clarity paired with unbridled challenge, he joined just three percent of hikers who choose to hike north to south on the AT. Along the way, he found his trail family, wrangled the voice inside his head, and emerged with a new outlook on his life.

    Read more to meet the host of the new Out and Back podcast.

  • How to Read Topographic Maps

    by Mary Cochenour
    by Mary Cochenour

    Knowing how to read a topographic map is the foundation to any backcountry adventure. Through the use of contour lines, topo maps bring a 3-dimensional element to a 2-dimensional paper map, allowing you to visualize the rise and fall of the land and “see” the depths of canyons, the location of boggy meadows, and the height and shape of mountain