Beginner Resources

Appalachian Mountain Club
Appalachian Mountain Club
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – H. Jackson Brown

What stands between an outdoor enthusiast and engaging in a new activity? Knowledge? Fitness? Gear? We've rounded up some expert advice that helps you go from obstacles to action. You can dip your toes into one activity, and we'll be here for you when you're ready for the next. We welcome outdoor lovers of all levels, and we want to help you be prepared to hit the trails, rivers, roads, tracks, slopes, and ledges! See you outside!


New Bike 101: What to Know About Your New Ride

If you've joined the throngs of new cyclists hitting the pavement, trails, and dirt roads across the country, here's a checklist of what you need to know about your new ride and how to take care of it. AMC RESOURCES »

Replacement Bike Tires: A Buyers Guide

Understanding the basics of tire sizing, tread selection, and a few other common features will help you choose wisely when it comes time to shop for replacement tires. AMC RESOURCES »


How to Choose a Camping Stove

Hot food. Hot drinks. Hot coffee. Yum. To enjoy any of these in the backcountry, you're going to need a stove, of which there are three fundamental types: canister, alcohol, and liquid fuel. Which one is right for you? Your backpacking style and needs will help you decide. AMC RESOURCES »

How to Set Up the Perfect Winter Backcountry Camp Site

A comfortable camp can make all the difference on a winter backpacking trip. After a long, cold day on the trail, the comforts of "home" mean even more than they do in summer, and replicating elements in this setup will leave you well rested and restored. AMC RESOURCES »

Warm Winter's Night: A Guide to Winter Camping

Whether you're an accomplished four-season adventurer or a first-time winter camper, this play-by-play of the recommended process and gear for establishing camp will help you get the warmest fun, deepest satisfaction, and coziest experience out of your overnight foray into winter. AMC RESOURCES »


Fly-Fishing Gear for Beginners

The Northeast abounds with ponds, rivers, and streams that beckon both aspiring and veteran fly-fishers alike. To get started, it's important to know the four core components of a fly-fishing rig – rod, reel, line, and flies – and how they work together to match the conditions, and the fish, you expect to encounter. AMC RESOURCES »

Hiking and Snowshoeing

Avoid These Common Beginner Hiking Mistakes

Every hiker, whether they've summited all 48 of New Hampshire's 4000 footers or even completed the Appalachian Trail, starts out as a beginner. We've compiled a list of the most common mistakes beginner hikers make – and how to avoid them. AMC RESOURCES »

Carry in Comfort: How to Fit a Backpack

When it comes to choosing a multiday backpack, forget about pockets, zippers, ventilation, access panels, materials, color, and any other number of design elements. Focus instead on the single most important feature: a good fit. AMC RESOURCES »

Couch to 4K: Hiking N.H.'s 4000 Footers for Beginners

Conquer the incredible feat of hiking one of N.H.'s 48 4000 footers using an AMC training regimen that starts small. AMC RESOURCES »

Get a Grip: Crampons and Other Winter Traction Options

Ah, winter: Season of outdoor thrills and potentially butt-crunching spills. When snow and ice create dangerous conditions underfoot – from city sidewalks to rugged mountain trails – adding a winter traction system to your footwear will provide the grip you need to stay safely upright. AMC RESOURCES »

Go Off-Road: Trail Running for Beginners

Maybe you long to join the throngs of trail runners but have been hesitant to trade in the blacktop for rocks, roots, and single-track. The good news is that trail running resources, gear, and clubs have never been more plentiful, making now a great time to explore the sport. Here are a few basics to get you started. AMC RESOURCES »

Hiking Boots vs Trail Runners: Best Footwear for the Backcountry

Hiking boots vs trail runners: Each has its strengths and weaknesses, depending on the intended use. AMC RESOURCES »

Hiking With Dogs: How to Hike Safely and Considerately

Hiking with dogs takes more thought and preparation than simply starting up a trail. AMC RESOURCES »

Nutrition for a Winter Hike

When venturing out on a hike in the colder months, staying warm and safe with traction and proper layers are key differences from summertime adventures, but don't underestimate the importance of eating the right foods and staying hydrated to keep your body warm and fueled. AMC RESOURCES »

Snowshoeing 101: Tips and Tricks for Beginners

Snowshoeing is a fun way to get outside during the winter – it makes traveling in deep snow easier, opening the door to year – round hikes and walks. Snowshoeing is almost as easy as walking, but even so these tips and tricks will help any beginner get started. AMC RESOURCES »

Snowshoeing for Beginners: How to Get Started

The need to get outside and break free from our homebound life is acute this winter. If you're living in a snow-bound world or plan to drive to one, a pair of snowshoes can open up new doors of exercise, adventure, and escape. AMC RESOURCES »

The 10 Essentials: What to Pack For a Backcountry Hike

Nature is unpredictable, and any outing into the backcountry can present challenges and dangers. Preparation is key to preventing and treating injuries or navigating out of a tricky situation while hiking, paddling, or climbing. Packing the 10 essentials will set you up to address most unexpected challenges you may face outdoors. AMC RESOURCES »

Three Season Hiking and Backpacking Gear List

All of us aspire to travel through the mountains unencumbered, but experienced backcountry travelers and outdoor professionals understand that you need to pack essential items to manage risks, be comfortable, and have fun while on the trails. To help you prepare for your next hiking or backpacking adventure, here's a checklist of all the gear items you'll want to pack. AMC RESOURCES »

Winter Hiking Essential Gear List

Hiking in the winter demands more. More preparedness and more planning. More outdoor experience and ability, and – perhaps most easily overlooked – more time. AMC RESOURCES »


How to Choose Climbing Shoes

Not all climbing shoes are created equal. Make sure you find one that fits your foot shape and complements your skill level. AMC RESOURCES »

Mountaineering 101: The Basics for Beginners

Ever wanted to climb a mountain? This article is for beginners who don't know how to start. READ MORE »

The Best Climbing Gear for Beginner Rock Climbers

Rock climbing can be an exhilarating adventure into the vertical realm. It can also be intimidating, given all of the gear and lingo that comes with it. Just as you'll want to learn climbing skills from the ground up, it's helpful to get acquainted with the basic equipment you'll need. AMC RESOURCES »


Current Affairs: Swiftwater Paddling for Beginners

Advancing from quiet water to swiftwater paddling requires mastery of the proper paddling stroke. AMC RESOURCES »

Don't Miss The Boat: Stand-Up Paddleboarding for Beginners

Dip a toe into stand-up paddleboarding with these basic skills for beginners, including standing and kneeling. AMC RESOURCES »

Intro to Whitewater: An AMC Trip Leader Wants to Run a River With You

Like skiing, whitewater paddling has a learning curve. You need instruction to get started safely and lots of practice to become proficient. But once you have the skills, you can attain Zen-like focus in a turbulent world. AMC RESOURCES »


Backcountry Skiing for Beginners

Backcountry skiing can be a breathtaking way to experience the Northeast's mountainous beauty, but beginners to the sport need to be sure they venture out with the preparation, gear, and situational awareness necessary to make it fun and safe. Follow our guide to backcountry skiing for beginners to get the most out of your first few outings. AMC RESOURCES »

Cross-Country Skiing for Beginners

Cross-country skiing combines downhill skiing's fluidity, running's cardio workout, and snowshoeing's immersion in a winter landscape. And it's just as fun for beginners at it is for seasoned pros. If you're thinking about adding this sport to your winter endeavors, here's a guide to the basics of cross-country skiing – what you need to know to clip in and get gliding on the snow. AMC RESOURCES »

How to Choose the Right Cross-Country Skis

Cross-country skiing is a passport to winter adventure. Some specialized equipment is required but getting started is pretty straightforward. So before you head to your local ski shop – and confront a potentially bewildering array of options – here are the basics you need to know about selecting skis, boots, bindings, and poles. AMC RESOURCES »

Skiing with Dogs: An Introduction to Skijoring

If you can cross-country ski and you have a willing canine collaborator, you can skijor. But as with all outdoor pursuits, there's varied gear, training strategies, and techniques to consider. AMC RESOURCES »

The Ups and Downs of Telemark Skiing: 5 Reasons Why You Should Give It a Try

No matter whether you're an accomplished alpine skier who admires the elegance of telemark, a skinny-ski aficionado looking to safely ski steeper slopes, or a complete newbie who'd like to look forward to winter for once, my first piece of advice is: Try telemark. My second piece of advice is: You'll have more fun if you learn from my mistakes. AMC RESOURCES »

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