Heather Anderson

National Geographic Adventurer of the year, Heather Anderson—known as Anish on trails—became the second female to complete the “Double Triple Crown of Backpacking” in 2017. In 2018 she simultaneously became the first female Triple Triple Crowner and the first female Calendar Year Triple Crowner when she hiked all three long trails in one March-November season. Heather holds the overall self-supported Fastest Known Time (FKT) on the Pacific Crest Trail (2013)–hiking it in 60 days, 17 hours, 12 min, which broke the previous men’s record by four days and established the first female record. She also holds the female self-supported FKT on the Appalachian Trail (2015) in a time of 54 days, 7 hours, 48 minutes, and the Arizona Trail (2016) which she completed in 19 days, 17 hours, 9 minutes. Heather has hiked over 30,000 miles since 2003 including 14 thru-hikes. She is also an ultra-marathon runner and has completed six 100 mile races since August 2011 as well as dozens of 50k and 50 mile events. When not on an adventure Heather speaks regularly about her adventures and the lessons learned on trail. She is the author of Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home (chronicling her Pacific Crest Trail record). A second book is due out in early 2021.

Tips for On-The-Trail Gear Fixes

Gear failures in the backcountry happen to everyone at some point. Some are major, such as a broken pack strap. Others are minor such as a tear in your clothing. All backpackers should carry a few items for basic field repairs and tap into their inner MacGyver creativity when something goes awry.

The Power of Nature

I grew up playing outdoors. Probably because my parents needed a break from my high-energy, always-underfoot ways. As the only child at home, I was frequently left to my own amusement in the yard or the woods behind our house. I found community—as well as a constant source of wonder—observing and interacting with the birds, insects, and other animals that called our patch of Michigan home.

Choosing Your First Thru-Hike

In addition to length, which—although not the most important factor—should definitely be considered, other factors that should be used to choose your first thru-hike are: complexity of logistics, terrain and climate, navigational challenges, physical difficulty, and popularity.

End of Season Gear Care

After a summer of playing hard in the mountains it can be tempting to put the gear away when autumn rains fall and think, “Maybe one more trip this year…” and not look at things again until the next summer. I’m definitely guilty of this!

Mental Health and Hiking

In Japan, there is a practice called shinrin-yoku, forest bathing. While it isn’t about exercise, it is about being in nature and experiencing it with all your senses. It touches something many of us who need time on trails as part of our life know: spending time in nature naturally reduces our stress.

Intro To Fast Packing

Fast-Packing is essentially the hybrid of trail running and backpacking. It utilizes the theory of ultralight backpacking and combines it with the mileage/speed focus of trail running. As the name suggests, it involves fast, bipedal transit through a landscape carrying a highly refined, minimal kit.

Trail Hygiene

I frequently field questions regarding trail hygiene, because, let’s face it. Being sweaty and dirty all the time isn’t particularly comfortable, or healthy. The following tips are aimed at helping you develop a hygiene system on trail that will keep you healthy!

Camping Alone

The idea of putting ourselves in a vulnerable position with nothing more than a wispy layer of fabric between us and the unknown dangers lurking in the woods seems like an absolutely stupid idea…

Survival Skills and Survival Mindset

I’m certainly no expert in survival techniques nor psychology. I definitely wouldn’t call myself a survivalist. I’m like pretty much every other outdoor loving modern American. I buy my food at grocery stores, can identify a handful each of birds, trees, plants and tracks.

How to Fuel Well Without Getting Addicted to Sugar

Our bodies are constantly releasing hormones to shuttle glucose into and out of our bloodstream so that we have the energy to do what we’re doing—whether that’s sitting on the couch or hiking up a mountain.

Training for a Thru-Hike

“Don’t worry, you’ll hike into shape.” However, the real question is: Do you want to spend the first month (possibly a full quarter of the time you’re out there) struggling to get into shape and risking injury because you’re pushing yourself to adapt?

How to Get Started with Hiking

I recently asked my audience on Instagram what their number one question was with regard to hiking. One of the most popular responses was, “How do I even get started?” I’ve been a hiker for nearly two decades at this point, but today I’m taking it all the way back to the beginning with a focus on how to dip your toes into the water…or in this case, dirt.

Snow Hiking and Camping Tips

In 2018 I thru-hiked the entirety of the Appalachian, Pacific Crest and Continental Divide National Scenic Trails. I started in March and finished in November. Needless to say, I had my fair share of snow hiking and camping in widely varied conditions! In this article I’ll go over some tips that can definitely make for a more fun trip when the temps drop and snow flies!

Navigation and Preparedness in the Backcountry

I’m frequently asked for tips on backcountry navigation and safety, especially in areas that aren’t well marked. Getting lost is a common concern amongst backpackers, day hikers, and trail runners alike.

Tips for Adventuring in the Dark

I love autumn. The crisp air and beautiful colors. The mellow angle of sunlight. No longer running in clothes drenched in sweat from humidity season. The thing I don’t like? The waning daylight.

Don’t Do as I Did

Gear is tough. What works for one person may not work for another and the best way to determine your individual gear set-up will always involve trial and error. However, I can tell you the things I brought that absolutely shouldn’t be on anyone’s gear list.

Backpacking Safety and Awareness

Backpacking in and of itself is a fairly safe hobby. You can of course make it more “epic” by certain choices you make. Being out on trails is generally safer than the streets of a major city. This is by far not a comprehensive guide to safety in the outdoors. It should, however, get you thinking and researching which will help you be more prepared for the next time you head out!

My First Night Alone in the Backcountry

I’d slept in the backcountry before. Exactly three weeks prior. This night was different for several reasons. The first being that I was completely alone. Even though I was camped in a designated spot in a very popular National Park, there was no one else there. The second was that I’d nearly succumbed to heatstroke just hours before.