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Backpacker Magazine: Is It Really Worth It for Backpackers?

Updated on:  
July 25, 2021
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Miriam Jaffe
Miriam Jaffe
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If you’re been on our blog before, you know that we love backpacking as a way to travel. Whether you’re a seasoned backpacker, or you’ve never tried it before, it’s always exciting to read about backpacking adventures. If you've never tried it before, there's certainly an abundance of resources online that could help you. From learning about hostels and hostel etiquette to learning about backpacking with kids, Pilot's your go-to resource for all travel and backpacking related questions. However, we can't say for certain that we're the most knowledgeable.

One fabulous resource to consider outside of Pilot to read about all things backpacking is Backpacker Magazine. If you’re never heard of it before, fear not, we’re here to fill you in on all the important details!

backpacker magazine logo
Image Courtesy: Backpacker Magazine

What is backpacking?

Before we dive into exploring Backpacker Magazine, let’s clarify what backpacking is.

Backpacking is a way of travel that is typically low cost and involves using only a backpack. Travel done while backpacking can be hiking, camping, or even trekking across Europe. Since there are so many ways to backpack, resources like Backpacker Magazine are a great way to compare experiences and learn more firsthand. 

What is Backpacker Magazine?

Backpacker Magazine is an in-print and online resource for all things backpacking. It’s the longest-running and most known Backpacking publication in the US! In each edition, you can read about gear, survival tips, trip recommendations, and more. Backpacker is part of Outside INC, an organization with magazines focused on the outdoors, healthy living, endurance, and industry. 

In addition to the information you can glean from Backpacker Magazine, there’s also a fun “Ask a Bear” section online. This will give you some entertaining insight into bears, and their relationship with humans. 

How often is Backpacker Magazine published?

While Backpacker online offers articles and resources for free, the actual printed magazine requires a subscription. There are nine issues published throughout the year. The January/February, July/August, and November/December issues cover two months each. Backpacker’s website contains a plethora of information, but not every article is published online.

To gain full access to all content, you’ll want to subscribe to the printed publication.

Who is the editor of Backpacker Magazine?

Backpacker’s editor-in-chief is Shannon Davis.

He’s been working with Backpacker since 2005 and was promoted to editor in chief in 2021. He is an avid backpacker himself.

Backpacker subscription fees

You can peruse Backpacker’s web page for free, however, it will not be a completely ad-free experience. It will also not come with all the articles published in the hardcopy magazine. If you’re interested in the yearly subscription to Backpacker Magazine, it will cost you $49 a year. With this, you’ll receive the nine printed magazines delivered to your home. 

Additionally, Outside INC, the company that owns Backpacker, offers an Outside + subscription package. This will give you your Backpacker subscription, as well as a subscription to Outside Magazine, early event discounts, and some other benefits. The cost for an Outside + subscription is $99 a year. 

You can compare subscription options here, and follow that link to subscribe as well. If you choose to subscribe but no longer want to keep your subscription, you can cancel online. If you cancel before the end of the year, you will receive a refund for any magazines that you had not received in the mail already. 

Make sure you spend some time on the website before you purchase any subscription plan to ensure it’s worth it for you. 

How to submit writing to Backpacker Magazine

Are you a writer with some fun backpacking experience? If you think you have a story worthy of being published in Backpacker magazine, you can submit a pitch to see if it's of interest to the publishing team. Check out the Contributor Guidelines before you submit to make sure your story is in line with the kind of articles Backpacker publishes.

Photo by Jonas Jacobsson on Unsplash

How do I get back copies of Backpacker Magazine?

While reading the latest issue of Backpacker Magazine is exciting, sometimes you need to go back to older editions to find something specific. If you know what you’re looking for, many of the articles published within the last few years are available online. You can use the search bar on the site to find them. Do note that not all articles printed in Backpacker are available online.

Although many articles are online, the ones that date back further than the last few years aren’t. There are two ways to access them. If you know the exact month and year of the issue you’re wanting, you can phone Backpacker, and they’ll send it to you for $8.99. You can also access 36 years of back issues, from spring 1973 to Fall 2019 on Google Books!

Backpacker Magazine Jobs

If you’re looking for a job that combines the outdoors and writing, Backpacker might be the place for you. There are remote and in-person job opportunities available with all Outside INC’s publishings, so you can find one that fits your interests and skills. Feel free to peruse their job board to see what’s available!

Backpacker Magazine Gear Guide

Every year Backpacker Magazine comes out with a gear guide for backpacking, designed to show you the year’s latest and greatest. Without a subscription, you can access snippet reviews for each gear item in the guide online, but you will need a subscription to be able to read the full reviews. To access Backpacker Magazine’s Gear Guide 2021, click here!

backpacker magazine gear guide preview online subscription based
Image Courtesy: Backpacker Magazine

What should you not bring backpacking?

While there’s a lot of discussion surrounding what you should bring when you go backpacking, it’s important to also consider what you shouldn’t bring. The biggest thing not to bring is a backpack that’s too big. If you can’t carry it for an extended time, then you shouldn’t bring it. Also avoid bringing any valuables that aren’t necessary to the trip (which is wise advice for any travel adventure, really). 

backpacker taking pictures of scenery
Photo by Dmitrii Vaccinium on Unsplash

Conclusions on Backpacker Magazine

Reading Backpacker Magazine either in print or online is a great way to read up on all things backpacking. Whether you want reviews of the latest gear, or to read about a trip that could be of interest, Backpacker has it all.

However, like we've mentioned in the beginning, Pilot can also be your go-to resource online in travel destinations, digital nomad lifestyles, backpacking guides, and more. So … If you’re wanting to backpack, but unsure where to go, head over to Pilot for destination guides, budgeting tips, and more to help you plan! 

While you're at it, make sure you subscribe to our weekly newsletter: FlightDeck. It's specifically designed by a avid traveler to cure you of your travel bug and inspire you to plan your next trip!

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