Backpacking Magazine Recommendations
A good backpacking magazine can give you a tremendous amount of valuable information and inspiration. I've been a subscriber to at least one of the magazines below for well over a decade. Each has a different purpose.
One of the main focuses in Backpacker Magazine is GEAR reviews. The editors literally do thousands and thousands of dollars worth of backpacking gear testing and reviews. I believe it is the best source anywhere for summarized gear tests you can use right away to help you decide what specific backpacking gear you need. I highly recommend you take advantage of their research and get your own subscription to a high-quality backpacking magazine.
The runner-up for the best "backpacking magazine" would have to be Outside Magazine. This seems to be a more glitzy, mainstream magazine that appeals to a wider outdoor audience. But honestly I can't think of a backpacker that wouldn't also like this magazine. I've really enjoyed it myself. (In a similar vein is National Geographic Adventure Magazine).
There are two other related magazines I recommend, if you are interested in the topics: Outdoor Photographer Magazine and Runner's World Magazine.
Like Backpacker Magazine, which is the top "backpacking magazine", Outdoor Photographer Magazine is the top "nature photography magazine". There's really not much else out there. I'm an avid nature photograher, so I've had a subscription for years and have enjoyed it -- even if you aren't a passionate photographer, the magazine will give you all kinds of "ah-ha" tips to help you come away from your next trip with some winning images.
I've found that most backpackers are naturally active and like to stay in shape. Personally, I love to run trails; at very the least I try to stay fit by jogging around town. I've found Runner's World Magazine extremely enlightening; every month you'll find more and more compelling reasons to keep running, and very useful tips.