What’s a hiking blog need to make my personal top 10? Let’s start with:
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  • Timeliness: Newsy, relevant, plugged in to the latest doings and technology.
  • Stamina: We’ve all got a few blog posts in us, but the best bloggers keep at it for years.
  • Trail-tested authority: These folks never come home clean on a Sunday night.
  • Compelling personal testimony: Full of stories that bear repeating.

I focused on personal blogs specific to hiking and backpacking, which leaves my “10 best outdoors blog” list for another day. Read on past the jump to see if yours made it, and chime in on the comments with all who were unjustly ignored.

1: The Smoky Mountains Hiking Blog

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Author: Jeff Doran

Why I like it: Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most-visited park in the National Park Service. Snow closes roads, hikers get lost, bears and elk amuse the tourists. And Jeff dutifully posts the most relevant stuff day in and day out. Jeff’s persistence is simply amazing, given that the same kinds of stories recur with the regularity of wildflower blooms and the arrival of winter.

2: Sectionhiker.com

Section Hiker blog

Author: Philip Werner

Why I like it: Philip has posted hundreds of reviews of trails, gear, books and more, always tying them into his direct experience in the mountains of the U.S. Northeast. Every hiking blogger tries to do this; Philip just happens to be best at it.

3: Trail Cooking and the Outdoors

Author: Sarah Svien Kirkconnell

What I like about it: We’ve all gotta eat, right? Sarah’s blog takes up where her “Freezerbag Cooking” book leaves off — adding more recipes and tips and providing trip reports from the American Northwest. Cooking in freezer bags offers an elegant solution to two vexing issues: the generally awful taste of manufactured freeze-dried meals, and the inherent messiness of cooking with small stoves in the wilderness. And it all makes perfect sense, thanks to Sarah’s blog.

4: Gear Talk with Jason Klass

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Author: Jason Klass

What I like about it: Jason’s simply the best at using videos to demonstrate creating a stove from a Pepsi can or any of a zillion other clever ideas we hear about but never get around to documenting visually.

5: Modern Hiker

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Author: Casey Schreiner

What I like about it:
Casey was among the pioneers in using Google maps and GPS tracks to documents his hikes in Southern California. I stole all my ideas for mapping my hikes from Modern Hiker.

6: Best Hike

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Author: Rick McCharles

What I like about it: Every time I turn around it seems like Rick’s on a different continent. Best Hike does what the rest us imagine we’d do if we didn’t have so many other obligations.

7: This Hiking Life

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Author: Danny Bernstein

Why I like it: Danny has hiked every mile of the Appalachian Trail and every trail in the Great Smokies, and now she’s documenting the entire length of North Carolina’s Mountains to Sea Trail. She’s one hiker who just doesn’t stop, as her blog amply illustrates.

8: The Hike Guy

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Author: Kolby Kirk

What I like about it: Kolby’s blog started out as a way to document his goal of hiking 500 miles in one year. Last year it morphed into a hiking club, complete with a calendar of outings. I can’t imagine this happening if he didn’t have a hiking blog.

9: Daily Hiker

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Author: Branden McIntyre

What I like about it: Newsiest of the bunch — with lots of links and commentary on the latest outdoor recreation news, from gear announcements to federal land management policies.

10: Gambolin’ Man

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Author: Tom McGuire

What I like about it: Tom’s blog is an expression of true intent. It’s true he rambles on to extravagant length, but there’s a certain “this is all so cool I can’t possibly keep it all in” vibe that becomes infectious.