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Crane, 55, has been backpacking for nearly 30 years and witnessed much of the evolution of the backpack.
Given their ages, many of the students are in poor physical condition and initially are daunted by the challenges in backpacking over rugged terrain.
Backpacking seems to be making a comeback after a lull following its popularity in the 1970s.
One of my favorite backpacking trips is the hike through the Lewis Fork Wilderness of Virginia's Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, where a patchwork of virgin and non-virgin spruce and fir lies across 2,000 acres of trail-etched forest.
The author offers a fair assessment of modern hiking and backpacking equipment and trends, without favoring one label over another.