Even in a world dominated by online articles and publications, physical printed magazines still have some of the most rewarding and reliable hiking content. One of the most exciting things about hiking magazines is that a subscription will give you unrivaled access to hiking inspirations. They give you the lowdown on the up and coming backpacking destinations and the best new gear. Whether you are looking to upgrade your backpacking gear or embark on your next backpacking adventure, these top 10 hiking magazines will have you covered.
The UK’s premier hiking and outdoors magazine is Trail. This should be the go-to publication for any serious backpacker in the UK. It offers in-depth features on the best hiking routes in mountainous areas. This includes the rugged and remote Scottish Highlands and the ever-popular rolling hills of the Lake District. Trail is written in a refreshing style that makes it accessible for all types of backpackers. It also reviews a selection of the best new gear that has been released in the past month. This ensures that you are as prepared as possible for your next backpacking adventure. However, while Trail’s focus is primarily backpacking, it is also a great choice of magazine for rock climbers, wild campers, and winter hikers.
Across the pond, the best option for hikers looking to read up on the best new gear and exciting trails is the iconic Backpacker magazine. This was one of the first specialist publications on backpacking. It’s also the benchmark against which all other outdoors magazines should be measured. With nine issues released per year, this magazine has you covered. Whether you are looking for off-the-beaten trail North American locations for your next backpacking trip, or are wanting to read up on essential camping skills, this is the magazine for you.
Also, if you are hoping to discover some new gear to add to your survival kit, Backpacker tells you all about it. While the writing in Backpacker is easily accessible for hikers of all abilities, its main audience is those with many years of experience crisscrossing America’s backcountry. The magazine is also famed for its jaw-dropping photography. The pictures will leave you wanting to head to the nearest national park as soon as you can.
For less extreme hikers or those who like to combine their trip with other sports, the best North American backpacking magazine is Outside. For the last forty years, this magazine has been bringing a broad range of outdoors activities. This includes hiking, water sports and adventure sports. All of these are combined into this publication. In short, Outdoors is the perfect all-rounder that encourages its readers to ‘Live Bravely.’
Over the course of its twelve issues per year, the magazine combines amazing features of breathtaking destinations across the world. Additionally, it has fantastic photography and in-depth reviews of the latest outdoors equipment. If this does not have you convinced, then it is worth mentioning that Outdoors is the world’s most popular backpacking magazine with nearly 10 million readers.
For true wilderness enthusiasts, there is no better publication than National Parks. It is the quarterly magazine published by the National Parks Conservation Association. Packed with in-depth articles covering the issues facing America’s national parks today, this is an ideal magazine is for those who want to understand the environment around them. Also, this magazine series includes topics of climate breakdown, trail degradation, and deforestation. Since the magazine was founded in 1919, it has been an objective and scientific voice in the nationwide discussion around how national parks should be used and protected. What’s more, the subscription fee for National Park goes towards protecting the great wildernesses that every backpacker loves.
Another essential UK publication is Country Walking, the more genteel cousin of its stablemate Trail. Trail focuses on multi-day hikes and the gear that will get you through long days in the wilderness. Country Walking is aimed towards social and family hikers. These explorers are ones who are looking for something a little less extreme. If you are looking for easy and relaxed routes along dramatic coastlines or gentle rambles alongside the Lake District’s iconic bodies of water, then look no further. Country Walking provides all the information you need. What’s more, it offers eating, drinking and lodging recommendations for all its hikes. This ensures that you have a great day out.
The most prominent in a new wave of hipster outdoors magazines is Sidetracked. It’s a self-styled journal where explorers and backpackers can report on their jaw-dropping first-hand experiences from across the globe. With four issues published per year, Sidetracked is typically filled with breathtaking full-page photographs. In it are pictures of remote and exotic landscapes from the grasslands of the African Sahel to icy wastes of Antarctica. Also, the personally focused articles in Sidetracked often recount the experiences of individual explorers. It tends to be less practically useful than those found in other hiking magazines. However, if you are looking for a publication to get you hyped for your next outdoor adventure, there is no better one than this.
The classiest hiking magazine is undoubtedly Alpinist. With few commercial adverts and no product placement, this excellent magazine is famed for its long-form journalism. Also, it is more akin to a broadsheet newspaper than other outdoors magazines. This publication touches on issues ranging from glacial melt in the Rocky Mountains to the personal experiences of world-renowned backpackers. Truly, it’s the magazine for studious hikers who want to understand nature and outdoors culture more generally.
Alpinist was one of the first hiking magazines to promote a clean hiking style. It inspires backpackers to not leave any of their gear behind in the wilderness. Alpinist is published quarterly.
One of the more niche hiking magazines in publication is Outdoor Photography. Dedicated to showcasing some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes and wildlife, this magazine is full of fold-out photographic spreads. The pictures show you the glory of the world’s wildernesses in high definition. Outdoor Photography is geared towards backpackers who like to take top-of-the-range photography equipment with them on hikes. They also include reviews of the latest camera gear. For backpackers less interested in cameras, no worries. This jaw-dropping magazine’s photographic spreads can get you excited for your next adventure into the unknown. Outdoors Photography is published monthly.
Rock & Ice
One of the more adventurous magazines available is Rock and Ice. As the name suggests, this magazine is geared towards backpackers who want to incorporate some thrill-seeking into their hiking trips. They are adventurers who like to focus on rock and ice climbing. Published eight times per year since 1985, Rock and Ice combine everything from profiles of climbing stars to historical pieces. The history articles surround the history of the sport and the destinations where it is safe and legal. Moreover, if you are looking for up to date climbing gear, there is no better place to look for reliable reviews than Rock and Ice.
Trek & Mountain
Another great publication from the UK is Trek and Mountain. They are geared for backpackers who are looking for a rigorous challenge. Trek and Mountain is also famed for its destination pieces that cover iconic mountains. Recent issues have included places such as Mount Kilimanjaro and Mont Blanc. Also, it includes many backpacking hidden gems around the world. Furthermore, it does not stop at hiking but has dedicated sections focusing on winter sports. These articles include backcountry skiing and comprehensive reviews of the latest gear available on the market. Trek and Mountain is published monthly.