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Bavarian Backpacks: Deuter Does it Again with Aircomfort Sensic System

Bavaria has the world’s most perfect snowflakes. If you hold out your mitten while hiking, you’ll have to do a double-take to make sure you haven’t accidentally collected tiny glass flakes carved by an artist.

Everywhere you look, there is storybook perfection in the shadow of Zugspitze, Germany’s tallest mountain, amid an outdoor culture a bit different from our own. You will, of course, find the stunning vistas you imagine when you think of the Alps: tree branches sagging under the weight of snow, castles jutting out of mountainsides, fog that adds an air of mystery to it all. But, you’ll also often find creature comforts we don’t associate with hiking.

Read the full story, sponsored by Deuter, at Backpacker.com.

Editor's Note: Why We Need to Tell Women's Stories

When I was asked to guest-edit a series of stories about women for BACKPACKER, I hesitated. At first glance, “women’s months” and “women’s issues” sound like the answer we’ve been looking for, chipping away at the backlog of stories that should have been told years ago. It’s best, I think, to commit to telling women’s stories all year, not on special occasions, and without qualifying an incredible athlete by gender—just calling her a backpacker or adventurer the same way we’d reference a man who achieved the same feat.

But the truth is, there is a backlog, and these talented adventurers deserve to tell their stories. So this week, we're putting them front and center.

Read the full story at Backpacker.

Hike Wrangell-St. Elias National Park With These Expert Tips

Everything is bigger in AlaskaWrangell-St. Elias is the largest national park in the country, almost six times the size of Yellowstone. Even Sarah Ebright, who guides full-time for St. Elias Alpine Guides, hasn’t cracked a double-digit percentage of exploration after five years of working there. She figures she’s seen about 5 percent of the park, and calls that a high estimate. 

Read the rest from Backpacker. 

The Next Outdoor Heirloom

I was commissioned to write this sponsored piece for Backpacker.com and Climbing.com.

Think about the most important object you own. How old is this thing? Who gave it to you?

It might be a pocketknife with a worn leather sheath, well-loved over years of DIY tent fixes and whittling sticks for marshmallow toasting. It might be a pair of your mom’s old hiking boots that you adopted and resoled after she hiked the AT. Or it might be a wallet your dad passed down to you when you were old enough to start adventuring on your own.

Whatever it is, it’s been durable enough to withstand years of memories. It might even be older than you.

Outdoor heirlooms like that are harder to come by now, in an age of mass production where “more” often beats “better.”

“Products are made to fail these days,” says Mark King, founder of Trayvax, which makes wallets, belts, and lanyards. “Products today are made of plastic, and they’re made to break. They never last long enough to take on meaning.”

Read the full story here.