Trail Tested

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  • Comprehensive guide to backpacking
  • Backcountry skills and advanced techniques
  • Filled with inspiring photos and stories


Trail Tested is a comprehensive guide to hiking and backpacking with hundreds of valuable tips based on the author's more than 35,000 miles of hiking across the country and beyond. It goes well beyond gear, covering backcountry skills and advanced techniques. Whether you're a new hiker looking for expert advice, an experienced backpacker looking to hone your skills, or a thru-hiker gearing up for a 6-month trip, this book is packed with priceless information to make your trip successful and comfortable. 

What sets this book apart are the vibrant images and impressive stories from Trauma's treks that entice you to get out and enjoy the backcountry. You'll learn why getting the right gear and learning outdoor skills are integral to making the most out of your next backpacking trip. This book takes a little more balanced approach to reducing weight with comfort and durability also being important. Some of the topics included in this guide are: 

  • Gear advice, including backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, ultralight shelters, and clothing
  • Gear maintenance and repair
  • Ultralight tips for novices to gram-counters
  • Low-impact camping and hiking
  • Campsite selection
  • Hiking with dogs
  • Navigating the backcountry
  • Winter camping
  • First aid
  • Weather forecasting
  • Advanced techniques for creating routes, cross-country hiking, fording rivers, multi-sport adventures, and animal encounters



The best modern backpacker's guide, bar none.


One of the most comprehensive looks into the world of hiking ever created by one of the sport’s most accomplished athletes. Trail Tested is an excellent guide for any hiking enthusiast from beginner to expert. Learn in one exciting read what it took Trauma thousands and thousands of hard-earned miles to learn.

–Eric Larsen, Polar Explorer, Educator, and Lecturer, Outside magazine’s Eco All Star (2008)

A must-add gear guide for your backpacking book collection.


Not your typical how-to book… [Trail Tested will] give you all of the tips and advice you need to get out there and experience what the great sport of hiking and backpacking has to offer.

–, 4.5-star review


There is no one I would trust more than Trauma to give valuable and experienced advice on hiking. In my opinion, Trauma offers the right compromise between comfort and necessity when it comes to ultralight hiking. His methods and experience will allow you to go as light and far as possible without exposing yourself to undo risk in the backcountry in the US and abroad.

–Jeff Knight, Granite Gear CEO, Co-founder, and Designer 

Equally at home on a coffee table or as an educational tutorial, Trail Tested is a must-read for anyone passionate about outdoor pursuits and exploration. Through a stunning array of striking photography, personal anecdotes, and definitive know-how, Trauma's comprehensive manual sets a new standard and reaches audiences from the novice camper to the intrepid trekker, impelling them to seek wild places on their own.

–Shawn "Pepper" Forry, Triple Crowner, Outward Bound Lead Instructor

Trail Tested is a visually stunning foray into the realities of long-distance hiking. Justin Lichter's 35,000 miles of hiking experience and trail-tested wisdom come through in every page. Trail Tested is great for both day hikers and hikers that will be out for many days!

–Lawton "Disco" Grinter, Triple Crowner, directed and edited The Walkumentary, author of I Hike

Is there another man who has torn up, slashed, split, and/or ripped up more gear in so many varied environments in his lifetime? I don't believe so.... This book is probably the most important outdoor field guide that has come off the presses since the first release of The Complete Walker, by Colin Fletcher, in 1968. The information contained within these pages will save you time, money, and many exhausting nights of confusion from surfing mindless Internet threads. Trauma... I tip my old and faded Tilly hat to you for a job well done.

–Winton Porter, Georgia Author of the Year 2010 for Just Passin' Thru, owner of Mountain Crossings at Neels Gap on the Appalachian Trail


About the Author

JUSTIN "Trauma" LICHTER has hiked more than 35,000 miles since 2002, including thru-hikes on the Appalachian Trail, International AT, Eastern Continental Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Pacific Northwest Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Great Divide Trail, as well as treks in the Southern Alps, New Zealand, Africa, Iceland, and the Himalaya Range. He is a “Triple Crowner,” having hiked the ECT, PCT, and CDT (more than 10,000 miles) all in one year. He's also the first to thru hike the PCT in winter and thru hike 2100 miles in the Himalayas from the easternmost 8000 m peak to the westernmost 8000 m peak. Plus he hiked 1800 miles unsupported through Africa. He has been published in Trail Runner, Backpacker, Backpacking Light, AtlasOmega, Adventure Post, and He is also a gear tester for multiple manufacturers and has aided in award-winning gear designs. Justin has been sponsored by: MontBell, Granite Gear, Princeton Tec, Icebreaker, Evernew, LaraBar, C.A.M.P., Leki, Garmont, SteriPen, Smith Optics, Sanuk, Primal, Nat Geo Maps, and Fits.



Publication: 12/6/2020, 2nd Edition

Pages: 288

Binding: Paperback



Due to its heavy weight, this book will ship USPS Media Mail to addresses in the USA when Ground Advantage is selected and will be delivered in a separate shipment from other items on the same order and may take a little longer to arrive.