REI: Recreational Equipment Inc.

One of my favorite outdoor equipment stores, REI provides equipment for all your camping, hiking, backpacking, canoeing, kayaking, and climbing outings. Their staff is great, and can provide advice on what you need and, perhaps more importantly, what you don’t. At other stores the pressure is to get you to buy more and spend more. REI is the only place I’ve been where several different employees on several different occasions have told me *not* to buy something, either because it’s overpriced or unnecessary. Great store. One drawback: they offer only mainstream gear; cutting edge ultralight gear usually must be purchased elsewhere.


A favorite of ultralight backpackers. I have discovered this site over the last year and very much like the apparel I have. Their Jam packs are particularly well-regarded. Though you cannot get their merchandise through ordinary retailers, buying direct keeps the costs down for the consumer.

Venture Outdoors

This organization provides organized trips and activites for varying skill levels in and around Pittsburgh. Discounts available for members.

PA Dept of Conservation and Natural Resources

The online resource for Pennsylvania’s state parks, forests, and preserves. It also has a catalogue of trails which may or may not fall within these public lands. It has information about planning a trip, staying overnight, and exploring any number of outdoor activities. Helpful all around.

Keystone Trails Association

State umbrella organization of trail volunteers and advocacy groups. Good information source for hikes of varying length and difficulty.

Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Umbrella organization for the AT, coordinating among dozens of trail clubs and groups. Source for guidebooks and maps of the AT, the granddaddy of long distance trails.


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