Magazines For Hikers

OK, I'll admit my bias right away about magazines for hikers.

I'm not a big fan of the "man conquers mountain (or bear or glacier or insert-extreme-situation-here)" type of magazine articles.

So there will be some conspicuous absences on my recommendation list.

It's not that I have anything against those types of folks.

It's just that the time I have to devote to hiking and hiking related reading is so limited, I can't spare any for magazines for hikers that trade on fear and anxiety.

I just don't find a lot of knowledge that I could transfer into my own life in their articles fueled by adrenaline, risk taking and panic.

So for what it's worth, here's my highly opinionated, narrowly focused list of magazines for hikers.

Give each of them a look, and let me know if you agree or disagree with my picks.

Also, let me know if there's something I need to add to my reading list of magazines for hikers, and I'll pass it along here.

Diane's Highly Opinionated List of Magazines for Hikers

  Option One: Women's Adventure Magazine

Why I recommend it:

I'm sure you're shocked at my top pick! After all, why would Hiking For Her readers be interested in a magazine with this title?

All kidding aside, it's pretty slim pickings for women adventurers inclined toward hiking boots.

But here's an exception to the usual magazines for hikers.

This magazine used to be hard copy, which I loved because I clipped the photos and ads as motivators: places to go, things to try. Alas, now it's only on line, and I can't print out those glossy gorgeous photos anymore. However, the content is still pretty good.

HIKING UPDATE: As of 2015, they have suspended operations. However, you can get their articles here.

What I like(d):

The writers (did I mention that they're predominantly FEMALE?) are upbeat and honest about the amount of time and commitment required to be an outdoors woman.

They tackle interesting topics. For instance, Fall 2010 has a feature article on one of Nepal's first female owned hiking guide services. Nepal is on my hiking wish list, so it was great to get this info.

Another Fall 2010 example: an article on hiking with a toddler. Since I'm in the grandmother age range, rather than a new mommy, I thought about this topic from that point of view and found the info useful.


Hiking isn't the top priority for these women: biking, skiing and running predominate. And they're pretty hard core, athletically speaking, so the writing might not resonate with you.

But to be fair, they do have a "Hiking/Backpacking" area which you should be sure to check out because of the useful gear reviews and hiking nutrition tips.

The target audience is pretty young, which leaves an old timer such as myself feeling a bit cranky sometimes. I'd like to see more emphasis on aging gracefully as a hiker.

But hey! Sometimes it's amusing to hear the young athletic warrior types giving out about aches and pains  ;)

And they did highlight some amazing places on Earth (although not Greenland), making them a great hiking magazine for women.

I miss them!

Glaciers and icy cold ocean, East GreenlandGlaciers and ocean in Greenland

Option Two: Backpacker

Why I recommend it:

An obvious choice in the list of magazines for hikers, right?

I stopped subscribing to this magazine years ago, mostly because it didn't seem relevant to an aging hiker.

I gave it another look recently, and signed up for a subscription for 2 reasons: because I want to support print media which addresses the concerns of hikers (see cautionary tale above), and because I can see myself getting value out of some of the content.

For instance, the Nature section is quite extensive.

You might enjoy the "Find hikes near you" feature using your zip code on their web page.

I like the fact that they pay attention to changing environmental and climate issues.

They write about plants, animals, and wildlife destinations in addition to hiking trails and the latest gear.

Also, they seem to understand that hikers come in two genders.

So it richly deserves a place on my  "Magazines for Hikers" list.

However, a few cautions...


Their gear reviews are useful, but should be taken with a large grain of salt when the latest cutting edge (and pricey) stuff is featured.

If the writing gets a bit too enthusiastic, beware! Remember that advertisers, not just outdoor enthusiasts, keep this magazine afloat.

Because they try to appeal to a general audience, some of what they say won't apply to you. Grab the good stuff and let the rest roll right off your cortex.

Sometimes the writing gets a bit breathless and cutesy, which may become annoying.

To see if this hiking magazine is a good fit for you, go to the nearest public library and leaf through a current copy. I'm sure there will be one of those little postcards stuck in the magazine, offering THE deal of the century for a subscription!

Option 3: Backpacking Light

Why I recommend it:

Lightening up on trail gear is something every hiker can strive for, and these folks dish the dirt on exactly how to make that happen.

They've been around for awhile, too, and have an established reputation as a "go to" source.


This does not technically belong in the "magazines for hikers" category, because their offerings are set up more like a buffer/smorgasbord.

You can read forum posts and article summaries free of charge, and can join without paying to make comments.

For a minimal fee each month, you can download print articles.It's like a "do it yourself" hiking magazine!

If you'd like to subscribe for deeper access, you can do so on an annual or lifetime basis.

Option 4: Sidewalk

Why I recommend it:

It's free!

And stuffed full of detailed trip reports!

And did I mention that it's free, at least for awhile?


Each trip is narrowly focused, so if you don't see any locations you're interested in, you'll have to wait for the next instalment.

It's most useful for planning a big hiking trip to name brand destinations, so if you're interested in hiking tips and how-tos, you'll be disappointed.

Not much information is given about the authors, although photos are sprinkled liberally throughout each article.

Got any to add to this list?
I'd love to hear which magazines for hikers you'd like me to know about.

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