Your go-to resource for all things backpacking, hiking, and camping

Our mission is to connect people with nature by providing information and inspiration.

CleverHiker is a website that encourages backpackers, hikers, and campers to experience nature at its finest.

Cleverhiker’s Mission

Our mission is to connect people with nature by providing information and inspiration. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience the wonders of the wilderness. We are committed to making outdoor recreation easier, safer, and more enjoyable for everyone.
We do this by providing:

Skill-based Tutorials

Our detailed tutorial videos and articles will teach you the skills you need to safely and confidently enjoy your backcountry trips.

Comprehensive Trip Guides

Our trip guides have everything you need for planning your next adventure, including detailed itineraries, permit information, difficulty ratings, and much more.

In-depth Gear Reviews

Our reviews are independent, unbiased, and come from one of the most experienced gear testing teams you’ll find anywhere. We’ll make sure you find the right gear for your needs and budget.
We hope our resources help you plan your next unforgettable outdoor adventure.


CleverHiker was created in 2012 by outdoor enthusiast Dave Collins as a resource for backpackers and hikers of all levels. Dave had recently completed a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, and he wanted to share his knowledge and experience with others.

CleverHiker started with two tutorial video series: Lightweight Backpacking Basics and Essential Backpacking Skills. These videos quickly became popular, and Dave soon expanded the site to include comprehensive trip guides and in-depth gear reviews.

Today, CleverHiker is one of the leading backpacking, hiking, and camping resources online. With hundreds of articles and videos, CleverHiker has something for everyone, from first-time campers to experienced thru-hikers.

Who we are

Dave Collins

Founder, CEO & Editor-in-Chief
Dave is CleverHiker’s founder and he oversees day-to-day operations of the site. This includes content creation, gear testing, photography, web design, social media, advertising, strategic planning, employee management and more.
Against a summer mountain backdrop in the Colorado Rockies, a man in purple and black rain jacket and green sunglasses hikes towards camera while smiling

Ben Applebaum-Bauch

Chief Operating Officer & Managing Editor
Ben has over a decade of leadership experience in the outdoor industry and oversees CleverHiker’s content creation and operational systems. He brings a practical perspective combining qualitative field testing and rigorous quantitative analysis to his process.

Casey Handley

Senior Gear Analyst
Casey is an experienced hiker and gear expert who brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the CleverHiker team. She has a passion for ultralight backpacking, years of experience working at REI, and a deep understanding of what people need and want from their gear.

Heather Eldridge

Editorial Assistant
As an Editorial Assistant at CleverHiker, Heather contributes to all aspects of our content creation, including research, analysis, testing, writing, photography, and more. Heather also leads the CH communications department, answering reader questions and building relationships with innovative outdoor brands.
Ian Krammer profile photo with him smiling on a hiking trip with a canyon wall in the background

Ian Krammer

Gear Analyst
Ian is a peak bagger and gearhead who loves sharing his passion for big adventures and playing in the outdoors. His deep connection with nature, attention to detail, and years of experience as a professional researcher are what drive Ian’s thoughtful review process.

Annie Hopfensperger

Editorial Assistant
Annie is Dave’s life partner and a vital contributor to CleverHiker’s success, helping with content creation, photography, and day-to-day operations.

Our Responsibility

CleverHiker is a website that encourages backpackers, hikers, and campers to experience nature at its finest. We believe that everyone has a responsibility to protect the wilderness, and we do our part by providing resources on low-impact travel, Leave No Trace methods, wilderness conservation, and trail maintenance volunteer opportunities.

We also regularly donate to trail organizations and environmental conservation groups. We hold great reverence for Mother Nature and those who safeguard our wild places. We believe that all of us need to be stewards of the natural world to protect our wilderness for generations to come.

Here are some of the ways you can help:

  • Pack light. The less weight you carry, the less impact you’ll have on the trail.
  • Leave no trace. Follow the Leave No Trace principles to help keep our wilderness clean and pristine.
  • Donate to trail organizations. Your donations help to maintain and improve our trails.
  • Volunteer for trail maintenance. Give back to the wilderness by helping to keep our trails in good condition.
  • Educate others about Leave No Trace. Share your knowledge with other backcountry travelers to help them protect the wilderness.

Together, we can make a difference. Thank you for being a part of the CleverHiker community.

Tested. Trusted. Trail Ready.

We provide honest and unbiased recommendations. We don’t accept payments for reviews, our site is free from distracting advertising, and we thoroughly test every product we recommend.

Earning your trust through authenticity is what we’re all about.


We hope you find our resources to be helpful, direct, and inspirational. Though we are highly experienced outdoor experts, we also consider ourselves lifelong learners. So if you ever have feedback on how we can improve any of our resources, please know that your suggestions will be welcomed with open arms.

The best way to stay connected is to sign up for our newsletter below. Also, follow us on social media and you’ll never miss a trip guide, gear review, or tutorial video.