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Backpacking Resources

Links to Pages on the PATC Website

8 Essentials for Backcountry Travel
10 Essentials for Hiking and Backpacking
Recommended Packing Checklist

Links to Pages outside the PATC Website

(General Skills, Buying Guides & Catalogues, Destinations, Forums, Light Weight)

Please note that these sites have been recommended by members of the backpacking committee, and while we have found them to be useful, we have no control over the content of the external websites. Also, these pages are listed as resources and not as endorsements.

General Backpacking Skills:


As the name implies, this is a site dedicated to knots and knot tying. It has sections for outdoor and nautical knots.


An excellent overview of Global Position Systems. This presentation was compiled by Dr. Peter H. Dana, The Geographer's Craft Project, Department of Geography, The University of Colorado at Boulder.


From the web site, " TopoZone is the Web's center for professional and recreational map users. We've worked with the USGS to create the Web's first interactive topo map of the entire United States. And we've spent four years making our maps the best on the Web as well. "


An excellent, all around source including gear lists, menus, techniques, advise and a users forum. All information is presented by Sgt. Rock who has over 20 years hiking and backpacking experience.

Buying Guides & Online Catalogs:


A website dedicated to testing gear that is not affiliated with any manufacturer or retailer. From the web site, " The BackpackGearTest group was created when Jerry Goller, a hiker from Utah, saw a need for impartial reviews in a world where most people got their information from publications that accepted money from the same manufacturers whose gear they were testing."


Another web site with lots of gear reviews, manufacturer information, user forums, and the like.


A commercial site that is part of Consumer Review.com. This site contains reviews, links to retailers, and a user forum for all sorts of outdoors gear including fly fishing and snow boarding.


Back Country Gear.com is an Internet based mail order retailer from Eugene, Oregon. It features some hard to find gear that is logically and clearly presented.


Campmor is a long standing outfitter from Paramus, New Jersey. It has a good reputation, and may offer a discount for members of outdoor's clubs.


Made by John Hennessy, these hammocks have become popular alternatives to carrying a tent. From the website, " Experience a level of comfort on the trail almost as good as your bed at home and maybe even better. This is the first shelter that supports your back like a quality mattress off the ground. You will wake up in the morning feeling great. Some owners of Hennessy Hammocks claim that they come home from their adventure feeling better than when they left."


Two retired army officers turned gear manufactures. From the web site, " Our primary focus is on hammock camping and ultra light hiking.  We offer quality products that are of our own design and manufacture.  We use quality materials and excellent craftsmanship.  However, lightweight solutions often necessitate a compromise in durability of materials.  Our lightweight products are not designed or engineered to withstand abusive or careless treatment.  But, with proper use and reasonable care, even more delicate/less durable equipment will offer years, if not a lifetime, of effective service." 


From the web site, "Backcountry.com is a pure online retailer focused on outdoor gear for the serious recreational athlete. The site aggregates only the best outdoor gear from top brands such as The North Face, Oakley, Burton, Rossignol, K2, and more than 200 other powerful brands."


Back Country Food is part of the Mary Jane's Farm from Moscow, Idaho. It is touted as the only organic freeze-dried food. This website provides a wealth of information about food preparation and they types of freeze-dried foods that are available in retail and through mail order from the web site.


Altrec is an Internet retailer from Kirkland, Washington.


A manufacturer of high quality sleeping bags, vests, and comforters. Most of their products are made of down. Located in San Jose, California.


A manufacturer of light weight backpacking gear. From their website, " Gossamer Gear exists to make the lightest backpacking equipment solutions on the planet available to like-minded hikers. "


A maker of high quality light weight backpacks, day packs, and activity packs. Located in Oregon.


From their website, " Ultralight Adventure Equipment specializes in lightweight and ultralight backpacking equipment. We offer products that address the needs of transitioning traditionalists, lightweight, and ultralight thru-hikers, day hikers, and any-distance backpackers."

Places to Backpack:


This is a great, easy to use site that has trail reviews gear tips, and printable maps. Great interactive site.


This is a web site put up by a volunteer and friend of the Appalachian Trail it contains a lot of good information and links.


Official website for the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. Sponsored by the USDA Forest Service.


Official website for the Monongahela National Forest. Sponsored by the USDA Forest Service.


Official website of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy.


Official website of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.


Official website of the Shenandoah National Park. Sponsored by the National Park Service.


From the website, "Henry Heatwole, wrote the Guide in the mid 1970s, and the Shenandoah Natural History Association published it in 1978. He updated the Guide regularly before he died in 1989. He was a long-time writer and teacher, and the Guide was his way of sharing something that he loved."


This is a website created by the "Children of Shenandoah," a nonprofit organization comprised of decendents of the families that lived where Shenandoan National Park is today.


A national nonprofit that works to create and preserve trails for all users. From the website, "American Trails is pursuing a national infrastructure of trails and greenways that serves a full range of activities. Through education, partnerships, and timely information resources, we promote the creation, conservation and broad enjoyment of quality trails and greenways that offer places of solace, health, fitness, recreation and transportation for all Americans."

Info & Chat Forums:


This is a loosely moderated forum sponsored by Backpacker Magazine.


A moderated forum for the Appalachian Trail. From the website, "WhiteBlaze is one of the largest web sites on the internet dealing with the Appalachian Trail and its uses. It is a site that wants to make you feel welcome. We want you to always feel you as a hiker matter. Come join our forums. Start a discussion, all hiking topics are discussed. We have an extremely extensive photo gallery. Look around enjoy some wonderful photos that represent the many miles of the Appalachian Trail. Share as many or as few of your hiking photos as you like."


The Trail Journals Network is a collection on on-line journals, forums, gear reviews, and the like used by backpackers along the Appalachian Trail. It was started by two through hikers several years ago and has a large loyal following.


This forum is sponsored by the Lightweight Backpacker, which offers ideas and a point of discussion for all manners of lightening your backpacking load. See more light weight backing resources below.

Light Weight Backpacking:


This is a retailer site that offers excellent equipment by well-known and respected light weight gear manufacturers.


This is a retailer site that offers excellent equipment by well-known and respected light weight gear manufacturers.

www.backpacking.net start here

This is both a retail and information website that sometimes offers great deals on ultra and light weight equipment. The site offers tips for cutting weight as well as a number of ultra and light weight pack lists.


This is a private citizen website run by Mark Verber. The site offers a wealth of information based on his experiences with lightweight backpacking and offers links to a number of interesting and useful sites for both organizations and gear manufacturers.


This is a message posting site that offers opinions from people around the world on hiking locations, gear, and equipment reviews. You can post questions and respond to inquiries and membership is free. While this is not, strictly speaking, a “lightweight” forum, it is a good resource for ideas on lightening your load.


This site bills itself as “the most comprehensive gear test site in the world” and I won’t argue with them. It is run by avid hikers and backpackers and includes user reviews for almost any item of equipment you can buy. You can think of this as the “Consumer Reports” site for backpacking as all reviews and testing are done by users of the equipment that are not connected in any way with the manufacturer. You must join this site but registering and logging on is easy. The site also includes instruction on how to become a tester yourself.


This is the site for Backpacker Magazine and offers gear reviews as well as a forum page where questions can be asked and answered. A comprehensive and well thought out website for backpackers, the site offers articles on how-to topics, hiking destinations and other backpacking and lightweight related topics.


This site is another of Yahoo’s groups. The site is devoted exclusively to the offering of gear for sale or trade and is frequented by many lightweight backpackers. A bonus is many of the testers for backpackgeartest.org sell equipment they got for testing purposes at very good prices and the gear is barely used. You must join this site but registering and logging on is as easy as it is with any Yahoo group.


This site offers user reviews on almost every outdoor product under the sun. All reviews are done by actual users without any ties to the manufacturer. All reviews include the price paid for the item as well as where it was purchased. I found this an excellent source of information on equipment I had not heard of. The site is very well put together and specific items are easy to find.


(Lightweight AT thru-hiking)


(lots of lightweight links)


(lightweight backpacking)