Backpacker

HIKE LIKE A PRO

[Expert Panel]

Sarah Ebright, operations manager and guide for St. Elias Alpine Guides in Alaska

Marco Johnson, senior faculty with the National Outdoor Leadership School, based in Wyoming

Patrice and Justin La Vigne, gear testers and recent thru-hikers of New Zealand’s 1,864-mile Te Araroa

Katie Yakubowski, instructor and guide for the Appalachian Mountain Club in Maine

• • • • •

BEFORE THE TRIP

• • • • •

MAKE A FIRESTARTER

EASY Dryer lint and candle wax in a cardboard egg carton compartment (poke a bit of lint out of the wax for a wick). EASIER Cotton balls coated in petroleum jelly EASIEST A fat birthday candle

• • • • •

FLY WITH GEAR

Check your pack in a duffel, along with sharp stuff like ice axes and crampons, and your (clean) stove.

Carry on boots, electronics, lithium batteries, and anything fragile.

Leave behind stove fuel and bear spray—buy when you arrive.

• • • • •

[Gear Basics]

FIX A LEAKY TENT SEAM

Clean the area around the leak and use the right sealant—either for polyurethane-coated fabrics or silicone-treated fabrics (Seam Grip or Silnet; $7.50 each; gearaid.com). In a well-ventilated area, apply a thin coating to the inside of the seam and let cure overnight. Plan B: Duct tape.

Waterproof your map. Pack it in a quart-size zip-top bag.

• • • • •

Score last-minute permits

Feeling spontaneous? Just a procrastinator? Either way, you’re in luck: A percentage of permits are reserved for walk-ins at every national park.

Show up early. Some parks issue day-of permits, but others, like Grand Canyon and Glacier, offer them a day in advance. Line up at the backcountry office an hour or two before it opens.

Be flexible. Keep an open mind, chat up rangers, and prepare to explore the park’s lesser-known areas. You might not get a coveted itinerary, but you’ll likely benefit from insider knowledge.

Target the right office. Yosemite gives permit priority to the backcountry office closest to a particular trailhead. Ranger stations in more remote areas will have shorter lines.

• • • • •

[Guide Secrets]

PACK THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF FOOD

Hikers, especially beginners, worry so much about packing enough to eat that

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