The Hiker's Guide to Trail Etiquette

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iStock

The Hiker's Guide to Trail Etiquette. Respect your fellow outdoor enthusiasts.

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How the Secret of Saving Private Ryan’s Power Lies in its Portrayal of the Enemy. Putting the viewer in place of a U.S. soldier meant making Germans into inhuman caricatures.

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The Tragic Roots of America’s Favorite Cherry. The Bing cherry was named for a 6-foot Chinese horticulturist named Ah Bing.

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How a Behavioral Scientist Influenced City Design All Over the World. For too long, city design centered on buildings and roads, instead of the people who live and work there.

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A History of Modern Capitalism from the Perspective of the Straw. Designed for sanitary use, they've become a sanitation problem.

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An Ode to the Ladies Pant Suit of Zanzibar. See a collection of images of the Swahili women's fashions of yore.

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Chef Ben Churchill Specializes in Food that Looks Like Other Things. He can serve you a dessert that resembles cleaning supplies, potted plants, or a full ashtray.

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The Surprisingly Devious History of CAPTCHA. While checking for bots, it also harnessed your effort for a useful project.

10 Rad Gifts for Hikers

Greg Rosenke/Unsplash
Greg Rosenke/Unsplash

The popularity of bird-watching, camping, and hiking has skyrocketed this year. Whether your gift recipients are weekend warriors or seasoned dirtbags, they'll appreciate these tools and gear for getting most out of their hiking experience.

1. Stanley Nesting Two-Cup Cookset; $14

Amazon

Stanley’s compact and lightweight cookset includes a 20-ounce stainless steel pot with a locking handle, a vented lid, and two insulated 10-ounce tumblers. It’s the perfect size for brewing hot coffee, rehydrating soup, or boiling water while out on the trail with a buddy. And as some hardcore backpackers note in their Amazon reviews, your favorite hiker can take the tumblers out and stuff the pot with a camp stove, matches, and other necessities to make good use of space in their pack.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Osprey Sirrus and Stratos 24-Liter Hiking Packs; $140

Amazon

Osprey’s packs are designed with trail-tested details to maximize comfort and ease of use. The Sirrus pack (pictured) is sized for women, while the Stratos fits men’s proportions. Both include an internal sleeve for a hydration reservoir, exterior mesh and hipbelt pockets, an attachment for carrying trekking poles, and a built-in rain cover.

Buy them: Amazon, Amazon

3. Yeti Rambler 18-Ounce Bottle; $48

Amazon

Nothing beats ice-cold water after a summer hike or a sip of hot tea during a winter walk. The Yeti Rambler can serve up both: Beverages can stay hot or cold for hours thanks to its insulated construction, and its steel body (in a variety of colors) is basically indestructible. It will add weight to your hiker's pack, though—for a lighter-weight, non-insulated option, the tried-and-true Camelbak Chute water bottle is incredibly sturdy and leakproof.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Mappinners Greatest 100 Hikes of the National Parks Scratch-Off Poster; $30

Amazon

The perfect gift for park baggers in your life (or yourself), this 16-inch-by-20-inch poster features epic hikes like Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Once the hike is complete, you can scratch off the gold foil to reveal an illustration of the park.

Buy it: Amazon

5. National Geographic Adventure Edition Road Atlas; $19

Amazon

Hikers can use this brand-new, updated road atlas to plan their next adventure. In addition to comprehensive maps of all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico, they'll get National Geographic’s top 100 outdoor destinations, useful details about the most popular national parks, and points on the maps noting off-the-beaten-path places to explore.  

Buy it: Amazon

6. Adventure Medical Kits Hiker First-Aid Kit; $25

Amazon

This handy 67-piece kit is stuffed with all the things you hope your hiker will never need in the wilderness. Not only does it contain supplies for pain, cuts and scrapes, burns, and blisters (every hiker’s nemesis!), the items are organized clearly in the bag to make it easy to find tweezers or an alcohol wipe in an emergency.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiker Hunger Ultralight Trekking Poles; $70

Amazon

Trekking poles will help increase your hiker's balance and stability and reduce strain on their lower body by distributing it to their arms and shoulders. This pair is made of carbon fiber, a super-strong and lightweight material. From the sweat-absorbing cork handles to the selection of pole tips for different terrain, these poles answer every need on the trail. 

Buy it: Amazon

8. Leatherman Signal Camping Multitool; $120

Amazon

What can’t this multitool do? This gadget contains 19 hiking-friendly tools in a 4.5-inch package, including pliers, screwdrivers, bottle opener, saw, knife, hammer, wire cutter, and even an emergency whistle.

Buy it: Amazon

9. RAVPower Power Bank; $24

Amazon

Don’t let your hiker get caught off the grid with a dead phone. They can charge RAVPower’s compact power bank before they head out on the trail, and then use it to quickly juice up a phone or tablet when the batteries get low. Its 3-inch-by-5-inch profile won’t take up much room in a pack or purse.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Pack of Four Indestructible Field Books; $14

Amazon

Neither rain, nor snow, nor hail will be a match for these waterproof, tearproof 3.5-inch-by-5.5-inch notebooks. Your hiker can stick one in their pocket along with a regular pen or pencil to record details of their hike or brainstorm their next viral Tweet.

Buy it: Amazon

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Climate Change Is Coming for America’s National Parks

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iStock

Climate Change Is Coming for America’s National Parks. Imagine Glacier National Park without a glacier.

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The Chimp Who Believed She Was Human. After being raised in a human home, it took years for Lucy to learn to be an ape again.

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The Mathematical Madness of Möbius Strips and Other One-Sided Objects. A look at the history of the mind-bending field of topology

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These 1930s Housewives Were the Godmothers of Radical Consumer Activism. They protested rising food prices with the Hamtramck Meat Strike.

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Disneyland’s Fantasyland Recreated in Incredible Detail in a Basement. A railroad engineer hand-crafted his own theme park over ten years.

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The Princess Who Worked at Macy’s. The Queen of Romania also built furniture, raised poultry, and enjoyed off-roading.

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America is on the Verge of a Nursing Crisis. Our nursing schools don't have the capacity to supply our current needs, much less our future needs.

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15 Amazing Animal Reunions. It's good to know that pets lost for years might find their way home.