Guthook Guides Blog

Keep up to date with everything that's happening at Atlas Guides with our Inside Atlas Guides series, read stories told with data or learn more about how to make tech work for you with our Tech on the Trail series, or see the places we're exploring with our Trip Report series.

Blog Archive

Browse through our entire chronological blog history or check out our most recent posts to see what we’re thinking about and working on right now!

a tent stake being used

Which Tent Stake is Best for Your Thru-Hike?

We took 4 types of tent stakes to the JMT to do a real field test over 17 days and 240 miles of hiking. Find out which one is best for you!

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Sawyer squeeze being filtered

How My Sawyer Squeeze Filter Performed on My JMT Thru-Hike

I tested a brand new Sawyer Squeeze on my 17 day thru-hike of the 211 mile John Muir Trail (250 actual miles).

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View from the John Muir Trail

8 Tips from My Recent John Muir Trail Hike

Even after hiking for many years, I learn something new every time I adventure out into the wild. Check out these 7 hiking tips before your next hike!

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Vacuum Sealer being used

Vacuum Sealers are Great for the Trail and at Home

Vacuum sealers are great for preparing backpacking meals for on trail, as well as preserving food you have at home.

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a hiker woman sitting on the ground wrapping her injured foot in a bandage

RICE Method for Injuries on Trail

If you are experiencing pain while you hike, using the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) may help.

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photo of hiker packages in a mail room

5 Mailing Tips for Your Resupply Packages

Sending out resupply packages before your hike can be tricky. Follow these easy tips to have a stress free day when picking up your package.

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a tent on a mountain side

3 Popular Ground Cloths for Your Thru-Hike

A ground cloth or footprint is used to protect your tent floor from sharp objects that can easily puncture the bottom of your shelter.

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a tent stake being weighed

Should I Use a Scale?

If you're going on a thru-hike, you should try to keep your pack weight low. Here are different types of scales that could help prepare you!

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Sunscreen header

7 Sunscreen Tips

The majority of people don't apply enough sunscreen when they adventure outdoors. Here are 7 tips to stay protected while on trail!

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Ziploc baggies

The Best Plastic Sealable Bags to Take on Your Thru-Hike

Plastic sealable bags are a great way to organize your food and gear without adding a lot of weight. Find out which bag is best for you!

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Two hands holding up a part of a tent

Why You Should Seam Seal Your Tent Before Your Thru-Hike

Before you head out for your thru-hike or backpacking trip, it's important to ensure your tent seams are adequately sealed.

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a sewing kit

The Ideal Sewing Kit for Your Thru-Hike

A sewing kit is one of the most underrated hiking necessities. Here is what should be included in your sewing kit to be most prepared.

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A headlamp case, Sun Glasses case, and MSR case all open on a desk

3 Heavy Cases to Swap Out Before Your Thru-Hike

If you're not careful, you may end up carrying an unnecessary heavy case while backpacking. Find out which cases you should leave at home!

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A phone with with the calculator open above a hiking backpack

How to Calculate Your Base Weight

Reducing your pack weight is very important for thru-hikers and long-distance backpackers. To help reduce the total pack weight it's important to focus on the pack's base weight.

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A man packing up a green sleeping bag on a hill side

10 Weight Saving Tips

Lightweight backpacking or thru-hiking doesn't need to be expensive. Following these ten tips will help you along the way to packing a lighter pack.

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A woman wearing a black beanie and grey shirt out in the forest

3 Popular Outdoor Hoods to Keep You Warm

The head represents about 10% of the body's total surface area and leaving this exposed to the cold can rapidly reduce your body temperature. Here are three different types of hoods you can wear in the outdoors to keep you warm.

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a large cow trough filled with moss and mirky water

How to Purify Water While on Trail

Having a few purification tablets in your pack provides a great backup in case you need to purify water while you are hiking.

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spray painted tent stake in the ground

How to Properly Place Your Tent Stake

Tent stakes should be placed all the way into the ground with no angle. Here we show you how to properly place a tent stake while camping.

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Colorful down and synthetic jackets hanging

Synthetic vs. Down: Which is Best for Your Thru-Hike?

The two most popular insulators are made from synthetic fibers or down. When preparing for your thru-hike or backpacking trip, you should know which type of insulation is best for your needs.

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an assortment of blade sharpeners

How to Keep Your Knife Sharp

A dull knife can become more dangerous than a sharp knife so it's important to know how to keep your knife sharp to maintain its full utility.

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TSA holding a swiss army knife

Plane Restrictions (TSA Rules) to Consider Before Leaving for Your Thru-Hike

It's always important to check the most current TSA rules before traveling to your thru-hiking or backpacking destination by plane.

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insect repellent being sprayed onto clothing

How to Use Permethrin Insect Repellent on Clothing

The insect repellant, Permethrin, is designed for clothing and is effective against mosquitoes, ticks, spiders, chiggers, and mites.

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4 different common tent stakes

Holding Strength of 4 Common Tent Stakes

We tested the holding power of four of the most popular and commonly used tent stakes to see how they performed. Here is what we found...

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A hand spraying tent stakes over a pice of cardboard with spray paint

Why You May Want to Paint Your Tent Stakes

If you have tent stakes that are silver and are not colored at the top, they will likely be hard to see when you put them in the ground. Try this easy hack!

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multiple different kinds of tent stakes laid out in a pile

4 Types of Common Tent Stakes

There are four basic types of commonly used tent stakes: the Y-stake, V-stake, Shepherd's Hook stake, and the nail stake.

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knives laying on scale

What Type of Knife Should I Carry?

Every thru-hiker and backpacker should carry a knife. The best knife is one that can carry out multiple functions and remain lightweight.

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A Smartwater bottle, Hydro Flask, Platypus Water Bag, and Nalgene bottle next to each other on a table.

The Best and Worst Backpacking Water Bottles

We have identified two types of water containers you should avoid and two types you should consider using for your next thru-hike or backpacking trip.

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shovel being measured

Should I carry a shovel on my backpacking trip?

If you are going on an overnight backpacking trip or a thru-hike, you should really carry a shovel with you to dig your cat holes.

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a checklist of thru-hiking maintenance on top of some backpacks

Thru-Hiker Maintenance Checklist

Before every hike you should carefully inspect all your backpacking equipment to make sure everything is in good working order. For thru-hikers, gear should be thoroughly inspected and maintained at every town stop along their hike.

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A backpack with an ice axe and hiking poles on the snow

How to Attach an Ice Axe to a Backpack

If you are hiking the entire PCT or CDT, you will likely need an ice axe at some point. Learn how to securely attach one to your backpack.

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A WAG bag and a hand with a glove on holding the WAg bag gel powder next to it

How much fluid can a WAG bag absorb?

In this experiment we tested out the maximum amount of fluid a WAG (Waste Alleviation and Gelling) bag could absorb.

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Miscellaneous items in a hiker box

What is a Hiker Box?

A hiker box is a box or area where hikers, trail angels, or others leave items for other hikers. They can be filled with all types of things.

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portable bidet being squeezed

How to Use a Portable Backcountry Bidet

In some hiking areas, people are leaving a negative impact by littering toilet paper. The outdoor bidet can help alleviate this problem.

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hiking essentials lying across a table

The 10 Hiking Essentials

Certain equipment is so important it deserves to be carried on every hike. This list of essential hiking items can be a lifesaver if you're ever in an emergency.

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the north star

Finding the North Star

The ability to find the North Star (Polaris) in the night sky is a very important navigational skill. Here is how to find it...

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the phases of the moon

Understanding the 8 Phases of the Moon

Like the Earth, the Moon is always half illuminated by the Sun. Here are the eight phases of the Moon and what they look like...

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Four seasons, spring, summer, fall, and winter next to each other

When is the best time to hike each trail?

Some trails you can hike all year round, but other trails are best hiked during specific seasons. See when the best time to hike each of our trails is, and start planning your next hike today!

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dirty socks, platypus water bottle, hiking detergent, plastic zipl oc bags assorted on grass

How To Do Your Laundry While Thru-Hiking

It's important to know how to safely do laundry in the outdoors. If you're a thru-hiker keeping your socks clean should be a top priority.

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We Tested 4 Popular Backpacking Headlamps

We compared four headlamps so you can see the advantages and disadvantages of the different types. The ideal headlamp for your hike will depend on your individual needs.

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A hole in a black jacket sleeve with repair tape and scissors.

How to Patch a Hole on Your Jacket or Tent

In a pinch, you can use duct tape to repair a tear, but for a more permanent repair I recommend using repair tape.

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Clorox bleach crystals next to a water bottle.

How to Sanitize Water Bottles with Bleach

It's super important to keep your water bottles clean on your thru-hike. Using bleach crystals is an easy, lightweight solution.

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A sawyer water filter soaking in a bowl of vinegar

How to Remove Calcium Buildup in your Sawyer Filter

If backwashing your Sawyer water filter doesn't help clear it, you might have calcium deposits. Try this easy trick to fix it.

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How to Safely Poop Anywhere

You know that feeling when you have to go, but can't find a good place to drop a load off? Using a WAG bag is the perfect solution!

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How to Select the Right Headlamp

There are now hundreds of different types of backpacking headlamps. By following these five basic steps you should be able to find a headlamp that works for you.

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PETZL e+LITE Emergency Headlamp

We reviewed the PETZL e+LITE emergency headlamp and found it is incredibly light and puts out a minimum amount illumination.

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PETZL Tactikka LED 300 Lumen Headlamp

The PETZL Tactikka 300 lumen headlamp puts out enough illumination for night hiking the less groomed trails.

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What is a Lumen?

A lumen is a measure of the total quantity of visible light emitted by a light source. Generally the higher lumens the better illumination.

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Princeton Tec Byte LED 200 Lumen Headlamp

We reviewed the Princeton Tec Byte 200 lumen headlamp and found it is lightweight & puts out a good amount of illumination for night hiking.

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Princeton Tec Byte LED 100 Lumen Headlamp

We reviewed the Princeton Tec Byte 100 lumen headlamp and found it is lightweight and puts out just enough illumination for night hiking.

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A creek with green trees all around

Why You May Want to Consider Hiking a Less-Traveled Trail

Rebecca Sperry, AKA "Sockedin" on trail, is in the process of hiking all of the trails in the White Mountains, known as "tracing." She shares why she thinks hiking less-traveled trails is an eye-opening experience.

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We Tested 5 of the Most Popular Backpacking Stoves in the Wind

We tested five of the most popular lightweight backpacking stoves in various controlled wind conditions to see which stove performed the best in fuel efficiency and boil times.

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A natural stone arch stands in the foreground of a red desert landscape.

5 Thru-hikes to Explore Throughout the Middle East, Canada, and South America

The Middle East, Canada, and South America are all beautiful places to thru-hike! Our 5 hiking guides provide an array of diverse hikes.

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Guthook Guides Arkansas Hiker

6 Thru-hikes to Explore in Central US

Central US is a prime place to thru-hike! Our 6 hiking guides offer a plethora of diverse and beautiful hikes.

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11 Thru-hikes to Explore on the West Coast

The West Coast is the perfect place to explore! Our 11 hiking guides offer an abundance of diverse and beautiful hikes.

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A teal river winds through a lush green forest on New Zealand's Routeburn Track.

9 Thru-hikes to Explore in Australia and New Zealand

Australia and New Zealand are a hiker's paradise. With an amazing variety of natural landscapes, our 9 hiking guides offer an array of regional hikes.

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12 Trails to Explore on the East Coast

From the Appalachian Trail to the thousands of miles of trails in the White Mountain National Forest, the East Coast is a hiker's dream.

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A paved road leads to an old stone church on England's South Downs Way.

10 Thru-hikes to Explore in Europe & UK

Have you ever wanted to go on a thru-hike in Europe or the UK? Check out these 10 incredible trails!

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Jetboil Stash Stove Review

We tested the newly released Jetboil Stash backpacking stove and this is what we found.

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What is the Best Lighter for Your Thru-Hike?

We tested three of the most popular disposable lighters based on cost, weight, packed dimensions, and number of lights. Find out which one was rated the best.

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Will a BIC Full Sized Lighter Last for Your Entire Thru-Hike?

The BIC full sized lighter is the most common disposable lighter in the United States. We ran some tests to see how long it would last.

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Will a Clipper Mini Lighter Last for Your Entire Thru-Hike?

The Clipper Mini lighter is a compact, refillable lighter popular in Europe and the UK. We ran some tests to see how long the Clipper Mini lighter would last.

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Explore New Alternate Trails in the Gila Wilderness

The CDTC is adding two more trails to the Gila Wilderness alternates, improving safety and reducing overuse.

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6 Lightweight and Practical Tips for Thru-Hiking

Coming from people who know everything there is to know about thru-hiking and long-distance backpacking, we decided to give you our top 6 lightweight and practical tips to consider on your next big hike.

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a preson holding a phone with a dead battery showing on the screen

10 Tips to Save Your Phone Battery on Trail

We know that in order to use our app out on the trail, you have to keep your phone battery alive! Here are some tips to try and keep your phone from dying quickly while you’re out hiking off the grid.

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Backpacking gear laid out on the floor.

9 Luxury Items to Consider Bringing on Your Thru-Hike

A luxury item can make a huge difference on your thru-hike. Here are some items you may want to consider bringing with you on your next thru-hike or backpacking trip.

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hiker standing in front of the sunset

8 Things You Should Do to Prepare for a Thru-hike

Preparing for a thru-hike can be overwhelming if you don't have a plan. Here are 8 steps to get you started on your incredible journey.

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Five different sized backpacking cooking pots on a table.

Does the Diameter of Your Cooking Pot Matter?

We tested the difference between five different diameter pots to see if one size performed better than another. This is what we learned...

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A backpacking stove being connected to a fuel canister.

Should I disconnect my stove or keep it connected to the canister?

I always wondered whether I should leave my stove connected to my fuel canister or if it was better to take it off. Here's what I found...

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Thru-hiking FAQ Answered by the Community

We talked to some of our favorite thru-hikers about their experiences and advice for newer hikers. Here is what we learned.

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A man in a red jacket wearing sunglasses.

How to Make an Ultralight Glasses Case for Your Thru-Hike

Regular glasses cases are heavy. We came up with a better, more ultralight idea for you to consider on your thru-hiking or backpacking trip.

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A pack of 3 BIC Mini lighters in the grass.

Will a BIC Mini Lighter Last for Your Entire Thru-Hike?

As one of the most popular lighters for thru-hiking and backpacking, we decided to conduct a test and see how long a BIC Mini lighter would last.

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A bear canister full of Mountain House meals.

12 Backpacking Foods You Can Cram in a Bear Canister

We analyzed the calorie density of 12 different backpacking food items to illustrate the theoretical maximum number of calories that can be placed in a BearVault BV500 bear canister.

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A screenshot of the appalachian trail elevation profile in the Guthook Guides app.

Highest & Lowest Points on the PCT/AT/CDT

What are the highest and lowest points on the Triple Crown Trails (Pacific Crest Trail, Appalachian Trail, and Continental Divide Trail)? Find out by taking a look at our elevation profile data.

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11 Tips to Pack a Bear Canister

Are you going to bring a bear canister on your next thru-hike or backpacking trip? Here are some helpful tips to consider!

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A BV500 bear canister full of snickers.

How Many Snickers Can Fit in a Bear Canister?

Snickers bars are a very popular thru-hiking and backpacking food because of the high-calorie density they have. We decided to test it out and see how many Snickers we could fit into the average bear canister.

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7 Thru-Hikes on the West Coast

While many folks are familiar with the Pacific Crest Trail, the west coast of the United States is home to a number of other notable thru-hikes.

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Thru-Hiking Calorie and Food Weight Calculator

Calculate how many calories you'll burn while hiking and plan how much food you'll need to bring on your trip using our Calorie & Food Weight Calculator.

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Five different backpacking stoves attached to five different fuel canisters

We Tested 5 of the Most Popular Backpacking Stoves

We tested five of the most popular lightweight backpacking stoves to see which performed the best and which is the most affordable.

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Soto WindMaster stove attached to a fuel canister

Soto WindMaster Stove Review

The Soto WindMaster was the overall best ultralight stove tested. Here is what we tested and why it ranked #1.

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The Snow Peak LiteMax stove attached to a fuel canister.

Snow Peak LiteMax Stove Review

The Snow Peak LiteMax was the lightest stove tested and the easiest to assemble and disassemble but had long boil times compared to the other stoves tested.

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Soto Amicus Stove Review

The Soto Amicus performed well at an affordable price while being one of the lightest stoves tested. It also compacts up nicely and is easy to assemble.

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The MSR PocketRocket Stove attached to a fuel canister.

MSR PocketRocket Deluxe Stove Review

The MSR PocketRocket Deluxe was the second best performing ultralight stove tested.

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The MSR PocketRocket 2 Stove attached to a fuel canister boiling a pot of water.

MSR PocketRocket 2 Stove Review

The MSR PocketRocket 2 is probably one of the most used stoves for long distance backpacking. It has a reputation for being durable and getting the job done.

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Fuel Canister Cap? Or No Cap?

Should you carry the cap that comes with your fuel canister? We describe the reasons you should.

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Hike the Lost Coast Trail: Why the LCT is So Special

As one of the (if not the) only true coastal wilderness experiences in the contiguous US, the 24 miles of the Lost Coast Trail is unparalleled in its magic.

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Thru-Hiking 101: 4 Popular Fuel Canisters Compared

I analyzed the differences between the MSR IsoPro, Snow Peak Giga Power, OLicamp and the Jet Boil Jetpower fuel canisters to see which performed the best.

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Thru-hiking 101: Calculate the Cost of Your Thru-Hike

How much does a thru-hike cost? We put together a thru-hike cost calculator so you can estimate the cost of your next long-distance hike based on your own hiking style.

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5 Stove Tips That Will Save You Fuel

The best way to make your fuel last is to follow these five simple stove tips. Doing so can potentially double the life of your fuel canister.

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Useful Knots for Hikers: The Sheet Bend Knot

One of the most important knots a hiker can learn is called the "Sheet Bend." This knot is great for joining two lines together and can be very useful while out on the trail.

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A backpacking fuel canister being weighed on a scale.

Thru-Hiking 101: How Much Stove Fuel Should You Carry

The best way to determine how much fuel you will need while hiking is to test your stove at home before your hike. Here are some equations to help you out.

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A trail next to a lake and some mountains.

Thru-Hiking 101: Leave No Trace (LNT) Principles on Trail

Leave No Trace is a broad set of principles that we should all use to guide our outdoor behavior. Here is our take on the Seven Principles as they apply to no-impact hiking.

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Thru-Hiking 101: Measuring Cup Hacks

Cooking a meal on the trail can be more difficult than cooking meals at home. Here are some tips and hacks to convert your cooking pot into a measuring cup.

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A variety of backpacking spoons in a line on a table.

The Best Ultralight Backpacking Spoon

A backpacking spoon is one of the most cherished pieces of gear a hiker carries. We tested seven different spoons for performance, price, and weight to help you make your utensil decision!

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Thru-hiking 101: Warehouse vs Retail Food Prices

When it comes to purchasing backpacking food, taking advantage of warehouse stores like Costco or Sams Club can save time and money. Here are some tips to help you shop smart for your hike.

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Four lightning strikes on a dark and flat mountain.

Understanding Lightning & Thunder on the Trail

When hiking or backpacking, it's very important to understand more about lightning and thunder to help keep you and your trail family safe.

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The inside of the Timberline Lodge Buffet on the PCT in Oregon.

Thru-hiking 101: Tips for Planning your Food in Town

Town food can be one of the most expensive parts of long-distance hiking. Here are some tips on where to eat and how to best spend your money when in town.

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Thru-hiking Gear Review – SlingFin SplitWing UL Tarp

Dahn Pratt, a Triple Crown hiker, reviews his initial impression and experience with a SlingFin SplitWing UL Tarp in the Canadian Shield.

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A view of Copper Manor Motel from across the street.

Thru-hiking 101: Trail Town Accommodations

This post covers one of the most expensive things you can do in town: stay the night. Here are options from camping outside of town to staying in a motel.

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Trail Permits: What You Need to Know

We've collected permit information for nearly all of the trails we offer guides to. Permits can be complicated, and we aim to make it simpler for you!

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A pile of backpacking food on the ground in front of a backpack.

Thru-hiking 101: Intro to Trail Food

Preparing food for a long backpacking trip can be overwhelming. We provide some tips on how to choose the right food for you!

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How Many Calories Do You Burn While Thru-Hiking?

This blog post considers different body weights and hiking styles to provide a better estimate of the number of calories you will burn while backpacking.

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The Effect of Shoe Weight on Hiking Speed

Paul conducted an experiment to set out and see if he can provide scientific evidence that a lighter shoe is better for long-distance hiking.

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Embrace the Punctuality: Thru-hiking the CDT on a time-crunch

Dahn thru-hiked the CDT in 95 days in between spending six weeks off-trail at four different weddings.

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Atlas Guides Our Company Trail Story

Our Company Trail Story: How Guthook Got Started

We decided that it was time we shared OUR Trail Story with you all. From 1997 until now, here is the story of how our company was started and the journey we took to get to where we are today.

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A woman sitting on a rock in the woods.

How to Optimize Your Break Time While Hiking

What is the optimal break time when you want to hike big miles?

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(Don’t) Hike for Change featuring Fidgit

Fidgit examines decisions to postpone or cancel a long distance hike through the lens of ancient Central and South American mythology and a 20,000 mile trans-American journey.

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A woman standing on a hill in the snow covered mountains.

My (Postponed) Trail Story featuring Rabbit

Rabbit, a.k.a. Rachael DeLano, decided to put her plans to hike the Arizona Trail, West Highland Way, Colorado Trail, and the OR section of the PCT on hold.

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Hiking in New Zealand: Te Araroa Trail Culture

Dahn Pratt shares practical advice on hiking and trail culture along Te Araroa. A 1,800 mile (3,000km) hike through both islands of New Zealand.

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Hikers laying out on a rock.

My (Postponed) Trail Story by Cyclops and McGoober

Chris and Kimberly, a.k.a. Cyclops and McGoober, were getting ready to start their thru-hike on the Continental Divide Trail when they made a hard decision to postpone their hike.

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CATlas Guides April Fools Joke

CATlas Guides

CATlas Guides now let's you Check-in with your cat and see what paw-some adventures they go on. Just kitten! We hope our April Fools joke made you smile!

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My (Postponed) Trail Story by Flamingo

Phill Toomasian, a.k.a. "Flamingo", was attempting a Calendar Year Triple Crown until he had to get off the Appalachian Trail due to COVID-19.

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Six Moons Design Deschutes Zero-G Shelter

Thru-hiking Gear Review – Deschutes Zero-G Shelter

A Triple Crown hiker, explains his decision to bring a Deschutes Zero-G shelter on his 2019 thru-hike of the Continental Divide Trail.

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How to send a check-in blog banner

How to Send a Check-In in the Guthook Guides App

Here are step-by-step instructions to send a Check-in in the new social feature in your Android and iPhone Guthook Guides app.

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A GORP trail mix of nuts and fruit.

12 GORP Varieties to Hike With

Originally written for The Trek. Trail mix is a hiking staple: easy to make and eat. It can get a little monotonous, though, so why not try a variety?

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Hadrian's Wall

My Trail Story by Mindy

Mindy Bell shares her experiences exploring England as she hiked on the Cotswold Way, Coast to Coast, and Hadrian's Wall Path.

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6 Instant Coffee Brands for Thru-Hiking

We taste-tested 10 different instant coffees and a few mocha mixes. Find out how they taste, how much they cost, and whether this is a good choice for your backpacking trip.

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A group pf hikers smiling on the Pacific Crest Trail.

My Trail Story by Little Skittle

Becca Bergstrom, a.k.a. Little Skittle, reminds us that we all start somewhere and offers encouragement to anyone thinking of hiking in 2020.

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GSI Outdoors Coffee Rocket Maker

8 Ways to Make Coffee While Thru-Hiking or Camping

We tested eight different methods for making coffee in the outdoors, each with varying taste, cost, and weight.

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Measuring the amount of toothpaste on a toothbrush.

How Long Will My Toothpaste Last On A Thru-Hike?

Have you ever wondered how long a travel-size tube of toothpaste should last? We did the research so you will know.

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A hiker standing on a mountain looking out at a beautiful landscape.

My Trail Story by Early Bird

Deserrae Potts, a.k.a Early Bird, shares the story of how she went from a completely broke student and inexperienced backpacker to a thru hiker in one year.

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Guthook standing next to the Mount Katahdin sign.

Why is our app called Guthook?

A lot of people ask why our app is called Guthook Guides and how it got its name. Guthook, himself, is here to explain everything from the beginning.

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A path winds through a sunny green forest.

How to Train With No Mountains: My Favorite Hikes near Austin

Originally written for The Trek before my 2016 AT hike. A full-time employee, I couldn't take a long shakedown hike, so I took many day and weekend hikes.

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A Sawyer water filter separated into three pieces.

Review: We Sawed a Sawyer Squeeze Filter in Half!

We disassembled a Sawyer Squeeze filter to show you how it filters water and why you should backflush it to keep it clean.

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Tomato plants are growing in 5-gallon buckets.

Bringing Leave No Trace to Life Off-Trail

Originally written for The Trek. Leave No Trace is a daily practice for hikers. How do we bring this practice home? I explore ideas of a zero waste life.

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My Trail Story by Chad Lubinski

Being an outdoor enthusiast his whole life, Chad Lubinski set out on a PCT section hike to see if the long-distance hiking lifestyle was for him.

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A girl with borwn hair smiles in the rainy green forest.

The One Piece of Gear You Never Knew You Needed

Originally written for The Trek. Dental care in the backcountry often seems pretty self-explanatory but there are many options for dental care on trail.

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A PCT thru-hiker standing next to the northern terminus.

Congrats Featured 2019 Thru-Hikers!

Each of these hikers contributed to our "My Trail Story" blog series and have all completed thru-hikes this year! Congratulations to these 2019 thru-hikers!

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A hiker on the John Muir Trail.

My Trail Story by Beta

During his John Muir Trail thru-hike, Beta (a.k.a. Zach Terpstra), woke up in the middle of the night by the loudest noise he had ever heard in his life.

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A man and woman stand on a cliff on the Appalachian Trail.

My Trail Story by Furiosa

Amber Redfield, a.k.a. Furiosa, shares the lessons she learned after injuring her knee on her Appalachian Trail thru-hike and continuing to hike regardless.

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A hiker on the Te Araroa.

My Trail Story by Adam & Leigh

Adam and Leigh share their story of thru-hiking the Te Araroa and then deciding to thru-hike Pacific Crest Trail the following year.

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A group of hikers sitting in the back of a truck.

My Trail Story by Starburst

Jennifer Mabus, a.k.a. Starburst, shares why she decided to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail and how it changed her life.

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Three hikers walking through a dense green forest.

Thru-Hiking Lingo 101

New to the thru-hiking world? Don't worry! Check out these terms to learn the "thru-hiking lingo" and you'll be a part of the hiker trash fam in no time.

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A hiker in the desert.

My Trail Story by Tiny Slice

Justin Kernes, a.k.a. Tiny Slice, shares about his Pacific Crest Trail thru-hiking experience from before he started his hike to where he is now.

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Bowline knot

Useful Knots for Hikers: The Bowline

The Bowline knot creates a secure loop that can be very useful while hiking.

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A girl hugging her dog on the Appalachian Trail.

My Trail Story by Nav

Nav is thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail with her pup, Arrow, and her amazing trail family ("tramily") that they found along the way.

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Useful Knots for Hikers: The Round Turn and Two Half-Hitches

The round turn and two half hitches is a useful knot for backpackers.

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Two hikers pose in front of a John Muir Wilderness sign.

My Trail Story by The Purple People

Jillian and Logan Ivey, a.k.a The Purple People or The Mailboxes, experienced some serious "hiker hunger" on their thru-hike of the John Muir Trail in 2018.

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A view of a sunrise above the trees.

My Trail Story by KP

The incredible trail magic that Scott Siler, a.k.a KP, experienced on the Appalachian Trail resulted in a wedding invitation and a restored faith in humanity.

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A hiker walking on a red dirt hill.

My Trail Story – Jeff Garmire Sets the Fastest Known Time (FKT) on the Arizona Trail

Jeff Garmire, a.k.a Legend, established the newest Fastest Known Time (FKT) on the Arizona Trail on April 22, 2019.

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Hiking Tip: What To Do When Your Phone Battery Gets Too Cold

Your battery indicator doesn't always tell you the truth. When hiking, here is what you should do if your phone battery gets too cold...

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A view of a trail through dead grass on a hill.

My Trail Story by PYT

Dave Mizelle, a.k.a. PYT, shares his close call with nature while hiking in the Roan Highlands section of the Appalachian Trail.

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Review: Sawyer Mini, Micro and Squeeze Compared

I wrap up my series of Sawyer filter reviews by testing the flow rate of the Sawyer Mini against the Squeeze and Micro.

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A hiker standing on a mountain.

My Trail Story by Justin Helmkamp

Justin Helmkamp spent 40 days walking over 800 miles on Te Araroa in New Zealand.

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Review: Should I carry the Sawyer Syringe?

It is more effective to use the Sawyer coupler or a Smartwater bottle nozzle to backflush your Sawyer Squeeze filter than to use the Sawyer syringe that comes packaged with the Sawyer Squeeze filter.

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A hiker stands on an aquaduct pipe in the desert.

My Trail Story by Peanut

Peanut, a.k.a. Melanie Harsha, withdrew all of her applications to doctorate programs, adopted a dog, and started planning her first thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2016.

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View of lake Sunapee from a mountain

Mud Season Backpacking in New England

Spring in New England means mud and loose snow in the mountains. It’s a great time to hike if you can find the right locations, though. Here are a few of our favorites to get ready for bigger trips in the summer!

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A beautiful view of a green mountain hill with hikers on the trail.

My Trail Story by Puff Puff

Alex Mason, a.k.a. Puff Puff, is a Brit who has made thru-hiking her lifestyle. She hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2015 and hasn't stopped since.

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A man standing in the snow with a mountain and trees in the background.

My Trail Story by Jim Murphy

Jim Murphy took a wrong turn in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, walked straight into a forest fire, and shares the story of how he survived.

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Poodle Dog Bush: Is the Hype Legit?

Poodle dog bush is a plant along the Pacific Crest Trail in Southern California that causes severe, long-lasting irritation, worse than poison oak.

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A beautiful view of yellow covered mountains.

My Trail Story by Lara Handwerker

After meeting on the Appalachian Trail, this thru-hiking couple got married and decided to hike the Continental Divide Trail for their honeymoon.

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A man stands in front of a lake with a sunset reflecting in the water.

My Trail Story by Golden Girl

Alex Patino, a.k.a. Golden Girl, explains how he went from working in the fashion industry in NYC for seven years, to hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, Colorado Trail, and Appalachian Trail.

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A man in red standing on a mountain above the clouds with his arms in the air.

My Trail Story by Sochi

Ethan Gehl, a.k.a. Sochi, has hiked 6,000+ miles all over the world and shares what he's learned from his time in the wilderness.

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A woman standing on a mountain peak.

My Trail Story by PCP

Chelsea Fisher, a.k.a. PCP ("Pretty Cool Person") shares her journey of becoming a thru-hiker from the AT to the Long Trail, and now on to hike the PCT in 2019.

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A beautiful view of a lake and a snow-covered mountain.

My Trail Story by Crunchmaster

Trevor Pyke, a.k.a. Crunchmaster, shares how he's come to love thru-hiking and what he learned hiking the PCT, AT, and parts of the CDT.

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My Trail Story by Squishy

Emily Schrick, a.k.a. Squishy, talks about her experience thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and how she stayed motivated to finish.

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A beautiful view of a mountain and lake.

My Trail Story by Chicken of the Sea

Ben Coats, a.k.a. Chicken of the Sea, talks about the curveball he experienced on the Pacific Crest Trail and how he finished his thru-hike.

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A beautiful sunset on the trail.

My Trail Story by Anish

Heather "Anish" Anderson's first book, Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home, about her 2013 Pacific Crest Trail hike is now available! Read all about her trail story.

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View from Maiden Cliff over Lake Megunticook in Camden Maine

Miniature Wilderness in the Camden Hills

Our guides may be best known on long-distance trails, but my favorite use for them is to plan hikes in trail systems like Camden Hills State Park in Maine

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A hiker sitting on a rock with the sunset in the background.

My Trail Story by Craig Fowler

Craig Fowler shares his story of how he became a thru-hiker and bikepacker, and how he turned his passions into a full-time project.

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A group of hikers walking in a line along a road.

My Trail Story by Larry

Lani Advokat, a.k.a. Larry, has thru-hiked the John Muir Trail, Tahoe Rim Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and the Colorado Trail in the last four years. Check out what she has to say about her experiences thru-hiking.

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A beautiful view of a pond.

My Trail Story by Yuengling

Alec Santiago, a.k.a. Yuengling, shares a few stories from his experience thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.

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A woman stands in front of a lake by some mountains.

My Trail Story by Token

Read about what it's really like to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail by Kathleen Neeves, a.k.a. Token.

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A green meadow and valley descends through an evergreen forest nestled between rocky mountains.

A Lookingglass Lake Loop

As I plan hikes for this summer, I look back on some of my favorite trips from last year, including my hike to Lookingglass Lake.

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A view of the Te Araroa trail.

My Trail Story by Dahn Pratt

Dahn Pratt shares the jitters he experienced beginning his thru-hike or thru-tramp across New Zealand on Te Araroa.

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A view of snow covered trees with a cloudy sky.

My Trail Story by Flower Power

Allison DiVerde, a.k.a. Flower Power, offers her advice for those who are new to thru-hiking after her journey on the Appalachian Trail this past year.

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A hiker stands next to a horse on the Appalachian Trail.

My Trail Story by Nar Nar

Kyle O'Grady, a.k.a Nar Nar on the trail, shares the story of how he became a thru-hiker from his first ever hike to summiting Mt. Katahdin on the Appalachian Trail.

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A sunset over the mountains.

My Trail Story by Croc

Kate Stelfox, otherwise known as Croc on the trail, talks about her experiences thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail.

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A view of a lake.

My Trail Story by Grizzly

Our new "My Trail Story" series will feature thru-hikers of all ages and backgrounds sharing their personal, real life experiences from the trail. Michael Ivey, otherwise known as Grizzly on the trail, starts us off.

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Review: Sawyer Squeeze and Sawyer Micro Flow Rate Tests

We continue our review of the Sawyer Micro Squeeze and Sawyer Squeeze, this time with different squeeze containers, including the Vecto, Evernew, Smartwater Bottle, and Sawyer Squeeze Pouch.

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Hiker in the White Mountains on a foggy ledge

Guthook’s New Year’s Hiking Goals

Have you made your New Year’s Resolutions yet? Or are you going to forget them within minutes of making them? Check out how Guthook manages his New Years Resolutions— maybe his obsession can help you with yours.

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A girl hiking on a trail.

How Long Does it Take to Hike Each Trail?

Would you like to hike for 5-6 months? A few weeks? A few days? We've got you covered. See how long each of our trails are by time and length.

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Guthook's Holiday Gift Guide

Guthook’s Holiday Gift Guide

Give the Gift of Guthook this holiday season! We have trail guides for every type of hiker, thru-hiker, backpacker, or outdoors-lover on your list.

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10 Thru-Hiking Gifts for Under $20

Whether you're stuffing stockings or looking for affordable hiking gifts, you're sure to find something on this list.

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Hikers on a rocky river in Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument in Maine

Katahdin Woods & Waters Monument Planning

How do National Parks and Monuments decide how to manage their land? Guthook took a trip to see part of the planning process in person.

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Items in Sawyer Micro Squeeze package: Squeeze bag, filter, back-flush syringe, connectors, packaging material

Review: the New Sawyer Micro Squeeze

We review Sawyer's new Micro Squeeze water filtration system.

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A big group of PCT thru hikers starting at the southern terminus.

What is thru-hiking?

The definition of "thru-hiking" cannot be found in a dictionary. That's why I asked these thru-hikers to share what thru-hiking means to them.

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a tent and gear set up

10 Affordable Lightweight Gear Options for Backpackers and Thru Hikers

Ten affordable lightweight backpacking items that are a must for any trip.

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Two wooden buildings sit on a green field within a wooden wall at Fort vancouver National Historic Site.

Pathways to the Future: Rivers and Trails 2018

Last week I attended a symposium celebrating the 50th anniversary of National Trails and Wild and Scenic Rivers.

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Food packed for hiking trip arranged on a table

Guthook’s Backpacking Food Planner

How much food do you take backpacking? How much SHOULD you pack? Read how Guthook plans the right amount.

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Looking out airplane window

After the Trail: Post-Hike Depression

Many hikers have difficulty adjusting after a hike. Read what experienced thru hikers have to say about post-hike depression.

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Havasu Falls is a beautiful waterfall in the Grand Canyon.

My First Backpacking Trip to Havasu Falls

Hiking to Havasu Falls was an experience I will never forget. But here’s the thing, I knew NOTHING about backpacking.

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Choosing the Right Charger for your Thru-Hike

Since many hikers carry phones and portable batteries, we evaluated a variety of battery chargers and have some to recommend for long-distance hikers.

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A hiking backpack with many tools for trail maintenance sits on the ground next to a rock.

Trail Maintenance for Lightweight Backpackers

This set of maintenance tools is great and it fits easily in the side pocket of my pack.

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A view showcases snowy forests and distant mountains.

Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument

Last week I took a trip into the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument, a new addition to the National Parks system.

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A shallow, clear rover winds through a meadow in front of an impressive mountain range.

Wind River Peak

After the NOLS course, I went back out to the mountains to climb Wind River Peak. At 13,192 feet, it is the highest in the southern part of the range.

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A rocky mountain range in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness.

Sangre de Cristo Backpacking

We will enter the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness of the Rio Grande National Forest and spend five days bouncing between peaks.

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A sunset illuminates a calm lake surrounded by low mountains.

Backpacking Through Baxter State Park

For my second annual Baxter State Park backpacking trip, I went to parts of the park that few out-of-staters ever see.

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Rock formations are stark against blue water in an unnamed cove on Maine's Cutler Coast.

A Bold Hike at Cutler Coast

Though this was one of the most wonderful hikes I’ve been on, most hikers who visit Maine have never heard of the Cutler Coast.

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Getting the Most From Your Phone’s Battery

You’re ready to hit the trail, your fully-loaded smartphone in hand. But how long will it last when you’re not near an outlet?

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A graph shows statistics for hikers on the Appalachian Trail.

How Many People Hike the AT and PCT?

If you’ve been on the Appalachian or Pacific Crest Trail and thought, “there are a lot of people out here,” you’re not wrong.

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A screenshot from Guthook Guides of farms on the Appalachian Trail.

Birds Eye Stories of the Appalachian Trail

I’ve been fascinated by satellite imagery of the the Appalachian Trail. It tells a very different story about the landscape.

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A brilliant yellow and orange sunset appears from behind a snowy mountain.

Winter Solo on Tumbledown

The plan: hike to Tumbledown Pond and camp. The difficulty: almost nobody attempts Tumbledown in winter.

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clouds sit over a snowy mountain range.

Mount Tom & Mount Field

For Sunday’s hike, Siren and I headed to Crawford Notch and the Mt Willey Range for a snow-covered trip to Mount Tom and Mount Field in New Hampshire.

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A view from a rocky cliff shows distant snowy mountains.

Mt. Chocorua

Last weekend had much better conditions than the previous one, so I tried to make up for it by doing two great day hikes, starting with Mt. Chocorua.

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A snowy forest and trail are surrounded by fog.

Mt. Moriah

Another week of heavy snow in New England meant the mountains were ripe for exploration, so we headed out on an overnight hike to Mt. Moriah.

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A sunset glows over a snowy forest.

Cabot Mtn Winter Backpacking Trip

I ventured into the northernmost part of the White Mountains for a weekend of serious winter backpacking.

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A graph from the Guthook Guides app showing the steepest climb on the Continental Divide Trail.

What Are the Steepest Climbs on the AT, PCT, and CDT?

I analyzed elevation data to come up with an estimate of the steepest climbs.

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A clear body of water reflects trees and mountains.

Baxter Backpacking, Day 7: Finale on Doubletop

The 7th day of our Baxter backpacking trip. We had beautiful, clear skies and a view up to Doubletop from camp.

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A view shows green trees, a green valley, and distant mountains.

Baxter Backpacking, Day 6: Deeper to the North

In northeast Baxter, there’s some small mountains and ponds with small campsites on the shore.

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Sunlight illuminates a distant lake and mountains in a green valley.

Baxter Backpacking, Day 5: The Traveler

Tom and I set out over The Traveler Loop. I’d heard about how gorgeous the mountain was and had looked at it from Katahdin.

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A foggy view shows a green forest and a distant mountain range.

Baxter Backpacking, Day 4: North into the Past

After two days of hiking over Katahdin, I was looking forward to a day of long miles with little elevation: a day in the green tunnel.

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A rocky ridgeline sits under bright blue skies.

Baxter Backpacking, Day 3: Over the Top

As with all trails up Katahdin, ascending the Hamlin Ridge was more like bouldering rather than walking.

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Clouds settle over the top of Baxter Peak on Mount Katahdin.

Baxter Backpacking, Day 2: Katahdin

Like most trails up Katahdin, the Cathedral was more akin to bouldering than walking, with just as much use of hands as feet.

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A panoramic view of green mountains, forests, and blue skies.

Baxter Backpacking, Day 1: Drive and Run

I returned yesterday from seven nights of backpacking in Baxter State Park with my friend, Tom.

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A large tree stands in a green meadow.

Wrapping Up the Virginia Hike

We set out into the last bit of the AT in Virginia, between Shenandoah and Harper’s Ferry.

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An early sunset illuminates trees and distant mountains from this overlook.

High and Low in Shenandoah National Park

My memories say that Shenandoah is easy and boring. I learned that wasn’t accurate.

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Rolling green mountains extend as far as the eye can see.

Central Virginia App Mapping

After a day off, I was doing better. My aching feet were well rested and I was ready to hit the trail once again.

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A trail cuts through rolling hills and green farmland on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia.

Southern Virginia AT Mapping

We hiked into Virginia's Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, one of the most-hiked parts of the AT in the south.

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A beautiful view overlooks a snowy landscape and a frozen lake.

Camden Hills Winter Cabin

I’ve been planning a winter wonderland camping trip for the last weekend of the year with several friends.

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Fall colors are bright in fallen leaves and leaves remaining on trees.

Rivers and Brooks and Leaves, Oh My!

I found some hikes in the White Mountains that proved that even in the “green tunnel” you can find a great wilderness trip.

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A view from Mount Hight, looking at the Presidential Range of the White Mountains National Forest.

Wild River Wilderness Backpacking Loop

I met up with Philip and Steve for a two-night backpacking trip through one of the wildest regions of the White Mountains.

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A view shows a distant mountain range and a nearby rocky mountain covered in green trees.

Tumbledown Mountain Double-Loop

I hiked two full loops in the Tumbledown range, a day hike that was lot more punishing and rewarding than I thought.

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A Month at NOLS

I took a month-long instructor course at the National Outdoor Leadership School. Our time there took us into the Wind River Mountains. Here's a report on that NOLS course.

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