6 gift ideas for your adventurous Valentine

Don't lose a drop of vino with this self-righting cup.

One of the most popular articles I’ve written was “17 Gift Ideas for Adventurous Women – From ‘Biners to Bags”. Here is a more romantic take on gifts for your adventurous Valentine – male or female. SPOT GPS Messenger – Show both that you care about your Valentines safety and that you are interested in […]

What’s in my pack? A K-mart grease pot

K-mart Grease Pot

This is a new series where I will discuss one item I carry either in my backpack, day-pack or camera bag, as well as one I don’t. I came up with the idea after being asked repeatedly what I carry. What items are “must haves” is very individual, so these are just my preferences. Perhaps […]

Cold Spring Shelter on the Appalachian Trail

A misty day at Cold Spring Shelter

The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) is supported by a series of shelters which provide a convenient alternative to pitching a tent. Some are nicer than others. Cold Spring is best described as “historic” and it has a good dose of character. The walls are embellished with years of graffiti, the roof has a few drips, and […]

Trip Report: Backpacking California’s Evolution Valley


Laura Manina, my sister and fellow backpacker, shares her experiences and tips on backpacking a 57-mile loop to the Evolution Valley. Many thanks to her for this great post and pictures! You can learn more about her travels with her husband, Mitch, on CruisingSailors.com. ~   Evolution Valley. First, it was a suggestion, and then […]

Gear review: MSR Pocket Rocket

The MSR Pocket Rocket

Over more than two decades I’ve tried several styles of backpacking stoves for my adventure travels. Most recently, I’ve been using a simple alcohol stove, but missed the level of flame control provided by compressed gas models. When Appalachian Outdoors asked me to review the MSR Pocket Rocket, I jumped at the chance. The last […]

Book review: Becoming Odyssa, Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail

Becoming Odyssa

  This is the first book review on The Active Explorer, and I couldn’t have had an easier one to write — I absolutely loved this book!  ~ Erika   I felt brave the first time I stepped onto the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) solo. Let’s face it — it’s different for a chick on the […]

Backpacking logistics part 2: Planning and resupply

AT Standing Indian to 64-2

Planning a backpacking trip can be confusing… How many miles should you plan to hike each day? How will you re-supply food and fuel? These questions are interrelated and can be tough to answer if you haven’t had much experience with backpacking or adventure travel. Daily mileage impacts food planning, but as a new backpacker […]

Backpacking and hiking logistics, part 1: Transportation

RoadRunner Driving Service

“You wanna go where lady?” Is what I expected on the other end of the phone-line when I started calling around for a ride to the trailhead while planning to backpack a section of the AT. Instead, the reply was, “Sure! I drive backpackers up there all the time.” My adventure planning was off to […]

From gym to trail: Adjust your workout for backpacking

Lady Backpacker

It’s time to think about fitness for backpacking. Throughout the cold winter, you dragged yourself into the gym and resisted becoming a couch potato, lifted weights, walked the treadmill, and maybe took a fitness class or two. Now that the spring flowers have bloomed and you’re thinking of adventure sports and backpacking. Be careful. You’re […]