Online Retailers (North America)

REI - Still the king of the outdoor hill, because of their excellent returns policy. - A slightly groovier selection than REI, with a bit more ultralight gear

MooseJaw - Another big online retailer with a good rewards programme

RockCreek - pretty similar to

Campsaver - worth checking out for the harder to find stuff

Sierra Trading Post - the occasional gem can be found here



GoLite - Only sell their own stuff, but do so cheaply

The Clymb - one of those short-term special deal sites. Worth following for the odd stellar bargain.

Prolite Gear - a true ultralighter's paradise


Online Retailers (Europe)

Bergzeit Europe / - A very good selection from Europe's largest retailer

Bergfreund – Another big Euro retailer with a good selection and regular deals

Ultralight Outdoor Gear UK - Probably the best UK-based ultralight dealer at the moment

Backpacking Light UK - Also a very good selection

Backpacking LIght Denmark - Niels has a very nice collection, and some hard to find stuff

Aventure Nordique - A nice little French boutique, with a Northern accent, ooh la la.

Blacks - Another big brand, worth checking for bargains on general gear

Cotswold Outdoor - Some good offers now and then

Field & Trek - Good for discount gear

Outnorth - Scandinavia's biggest retailer. Occasional "bargains"

Scandinavian Outdoor Store - Much the same as Outnorth



Backpacking Light – Probably the best online community resource for reviews, information, and tips. Membership required for most content, although forums are free with registration)

Ryan Jordan - Do a ultralight course! Like the site says "Explore your wild side (without having to drink your pee.)"

Andrew Skurka - He of long tips and light loads



There are so many backpacking blogs out there, it's impossible to list them all. Here are a few I read regularly.

Nordic Lightpackers & Others
A mafiosi of bloggers writing from Northern Europe

Thunder in the Night

Nielsen Brown Outdoors

Hiking In Finland



The Bearable Lightness

One Swedish Summer

The Armchair Adventurer

Going Lighter

Scandinavian Hiking

Toni Lund


Helen's Wondering Wanderings



UK & Euro Bloggers

David Lintern

Chris Townsend

Summit & Valley



Journeyman Traveller

Grid North

Mountain's Silhouette


Must be this way





North America

Bedrock & Paradox

Forrest McCarthy

Stick's Blog

Brian's Backpacking Blog

Things to Luc at

Section Hiker


(more added soon, please email me if you've been forgotten)

Used Gear

Backpacking Light Gear Swap (USA - forum membership required)

GearTrade (USA)



Backpacker Magazine – The magazine is, meh, okay, but tends to repeat itself each year. The website is atrocious.

The Great Outdoors – The UK equivalent, with the bonus of having respected writers like Chris Townsend on board. Tends to be a bit more on the ball than Backpacker, but is a bit UK-centric. Where-oh-where is a pan-European hiking magazine, I ask you?

Mountain Pro - Free, online magazine, with excellent content.

Sidetracked - Online magazine-esque site. More like Outside.

Trail Groove - Well produced free online magazine



Smarter Backpacking, by Jorgen Johansson (Kindle). Has lots of really useful information and tips based on actual experience, for both the budding and advanced ultralighter.

Smarter Backpacking After 50 (Kindle), by Jorgen Johansson. A "sequel" of sorts to Smarter Backpacking, focusing on the needs of the slightly more "advanced" hiker.

Lighten Up! by Don Lagadin (with Mike Clelland) - a good, easily absorbed introduction to the core principles of ultralight, with Mike Clelland's great illustrations.

Ultralight Backpackin' Tips, by Mike Clelland - 153 more specialised tips from the pen of Mike Clelland, sure to tickle your funny bone, and probably the best book at the moment for unusual knowledge and ideas you might not have thought of.

The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide, by Andrew Skurka - satiate your inner gear fetishist with Andrew Skurka's comprehensive, field tested guide. It's packed full of tips and info too – so much so that it's a little hard to take it all in! I don't know how he finds the time.

Lightweight Backpacking and Camping, edited by Ryan Jordan (only available used or on Kindle) - hard to find in print any more but worth it for it's more serious, scientific thoughts on lightweight backpacking. It is now available again on Kindle, which is a plus.

NOLS Wilderness Medicine by Tod Schimelpfenig - a comprehensive guide to first-aid in the field

NOLS Wilderness Guide, by Mark Harvey - The essential NOLS handbook.

The Backpacker's Handbook, by Chris Townsend - Chris's book is one of the cornerstone publications on backpacking - no backpacker, ultralight or not, should be without it. A new edition was published recently too, so it's bang up-to-date.

Collins Ultimate Navigation Manual by Lyle Brotherton. A little stuffy in tone, but packed full of navigational tips from a "micronavigation" perspective.

The Essential Wilderness Navigator by David Seidman / Paul Cleveland - is precisely what the title says.

Allen and Mike's Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book, by Allen O'Bannon, with Mike Clelland. If you're into winter backpacking, and get some decent snow, this is full of really cool ideas, I guess that's why they gave it that title.

Babes in the Woods, by Jennifer Aist - A good primer on backpacking with kids.

SAS Survival Handbook, by John "Lofty" Wiseman - Corny maybe, but still, a fun read, and with lots of useful information if you happen to get caught in a nuclear strike. There's also a hefty iPhone app. Right. I'm off to eat some grubs.

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