Welcome to Backpackers.com.
Our mission is to empower all walks of life to be ambassadors of the outdoors.
We do this through our core values:
We are stoked.
On nature, on campfires, on trail songs. On backflips into alpine lakes and giving the thirsty pup some water. On roasting marshmallows with whittled sticks and gazing at the night sky. We are facilitators of fun, and want to hike alongside you.
We are you.
From the walk around the park to the cross-country trail, we are the people who seek outside for the sake of outside. Anyone can love and live in the outdoors, and we think everyone should. We’re here to do it with you.
We are mindful.
About keeping our lands pure. About gear that lasts. About disconnecting from the world to reconnect with nature. About the trail, and the beer after the trail. Mindfulness means thinking critically about our experience in the outdoors, from the products we use to our impact on the wild.
Backpackers.com is global in its formation, but its heart is in Ventura, California. Team members and contributors range from San Francisco to Cape Town to Seattle to the mountains of Colorado and beyond.
Daniel Zweier | Editor-in-Chief
- Stoked on dawn patrol surf.
- Relishes time around a campfire with friends.
- Mindful of how much gear is produced in a planet with finite resources.
Melanie MacDowell | Gear Tester
- Stoked on wildflowers, sunrises, and checking things off the bucket list.
- Focused on helping organizations and people cultivate their social-good superpowers.
- Mindful of taking out more trash than in, practicing conscious consumerism, and the power of a smile.
Josh Mathe | Gear Tester
Stoked on touching the magic, be it a song, a smile, or a mountain.
Loves helping people find and embrace the strongest, most beautiful versions of who they are.
Mindful that when it comes down do it, we are all just one.
Kara Kieffer | Gear Tester
- Stoked for early morning miles and chasing sunsets across mountain tops.
- Passionate about getting women of all backgrounds, body sizes, and skill levels to embrace their space and voice in the outdoors.
- Mindful of promoting inclusivity and sustainability within the outdoors community.
Sebastian Cancino | Gear Tester
- Stoked on launching into alpine lakes.
- Sharing my favorite outdoor spots with my friends, family, and everyone who wants to join.
- Mindful of the healing benefits of time spent in nature and an advocate for decreasing negative impacts on the planet.
Arthur McMahon | Gear Tester
- Excited to walk new trails and conquer more miles.
- Loves sharing adventures with family and friends by bringing the trail to them.
- Mindful of personal strengths and weaknesses; and learn more with every step. Becoming a stronger person through backpacking.
DeDe Rosenberg | Gear Tester
- Passionate about mountaineering and all it entails.
- Dedicated to educating all on the healing and empowering vibes of wilderness.
- Outspoken advocate of Leave No Trace and conservation.
Jon Rosenberg | Gear Tester
- Mountains are my favorite thing. That’s why I live at 9,000 feet.
- The tent times are the best times
- Leave No Trace, Don’t Be A Disgrace!
Our core values and mission are communicated through the content we produce. This includes Gear Reviews, Outdoor Guides, Trip Reports, our database of curated outdoor gear products, images, videos, and interaction on our social channels. It also includes the way we categorize gear into Backpacker Types and price ranges, which give you a clear idea of the best gear for your life.
Our goal is to provide you with straightforward choices when it comes gear. While gear is not a requirement to explore and enjoy the outdoors, the right gear in the right context goes a long way to being comfortable and safe. Our gear reviews focus on these elements:
- Story: Reading about specs is boring as hell. Our gear reviews tell an epic story in addition to critically evaluating the product’s performance.
- Images and Video: We know you want to do more than read about gear. Images and videos show you how we used the gear, what it really looks like, and what you can expect if you decide to purchase.
- Star Qualities: Newer reviews have stars. These highlight the most important aspects of that gear category and are a clear, simple way for you to know how something performs at a glance.
- Purchase Links: If you are interested in the gear you’re reading about, we provide links for you to purchase. These links help us make money so that we can continue creating content for you. Read more about that here.
What Gear Do We Review?
There are more gear manufacturers than vegetables on this planet, and most of them put forth products that are worthy of use. So, how do we choose the gear we’re going to review?
We read copious reviews and usage reports from every gear resource around, including our internal staff, user reviews left by online customers, forum discussions, other prominent gear review websites, and knowledgeable employees at brick and mortar stores. We then develop shortlists of the best gear for our Backpacker Types, determine through research what we think will perform best, and send a tester out with the gear.
We review the gear, and if it does exceedingly well, we might give it an award. If it doesn’t live up to expectations, we write a review and go back to the drawing board to find the best gear for that Backpacker Type.
Are we influenced by gear manufacturers?
No. Manufacturers do not sway our Picks, they do not send us money, and they offer no incentives whatsoever. Finally, our policy is to return the gear after testing, or buy the gear if we can’t source it.
How We Review Gear
When it comes to actually reviewing gear, we test the gear in the standard conditions a standard backpacker would face. Our aim is to give you, the average backpacker, an honest opinion — one that you would also come to after using the gear.
This means we take each piece of gear on the trip it was built for and use it in the context of its primary purpose. This might mean nights in the wild for some gear, epic day trips for others, or even a metro ride during rush hour.
Our team has a deep knowledge of the gear industry at large, and knows a solid piece when they use it. Gear is always built for a specific use, and we test gear as it was meant to be used.
Outdoor guides are long-form articles that focus on wilderness and gear education. These include our Best Gear Guides and Gift Guides, which are updated every year to keep things fresh.
Curated Outdoor Products
While we love reviewing gear, there are simply too many outdoor products to cover them all. So we created a database of curated outdoor products that we love, and know you’ll love too. You can use this database to compare gear, to dig deeper into potential options, and to learn more about what brands offer. We’ll be adding to this database continually to make sure you find gear you love.
We are lucky to live in a world where “backpacker” has different meanings for everyone. The wilderness trekker, the hiker, and the urban explorer can all raise their hands in the class of backpacking. We’ve created unique Backpacker Types, and categorize gear and trips by these Types.
Here are our Backpacker Types:
When you see a Backpacker Type badge on a piece of gear, you know it will perform excellently for that activity. Some pieces of gear have more than one Backpacker Type because a lot of gear works across many activities, and nobody should be buying new gear for every activity.
Our final way of categorizing gear is through our Pick Awards. Our Picks highlight outstanding products in three price brackets:
Outdoor gear can be expensive. These distinct brackets allow you to focus on award-winning gear in a price range that feels good. Want the most expensive product with all the bells and whistles? Go with the Premium Pick. Want the standard piece of kit most people have, use, and love? Go with the Classic Pick. Want great gear without breaking the bank? Go with the Budget Pick.
How We Make Money
We have to pay our writers, photographers, and designers to create content for you! To do this, we have two different revenue streams.
Affiliate links are common in the outdoor industry, and work well for our readers. On the site you will see links to purchase gear. If you click these links and buy the product, we get a percentage of that sale. It doesn’t cost you an extra cent, and allows us to passively generate income so we can create more content.
We are a very small team working hard to build a brand you will love and participate in. If you’re thinking about buying any product on our site, please use the links – they really helps us. Thank you.
Sponsored Content is another traditional method of making money in the outdoor industry. For us, this means working with brands to create compelling content. Brands pay us money to create this content, and we are very up front about that. Sponsored Content always has a large label in an article so you know it’s sponsored.
None of our gear reviews are sponsored, and they won’t ever be.
Get In Touch
Stoked on Backpackers.com? Send us a note on our Contact page. We’d love to send you a sticker! And remember…