Backpacker Wins Three National Magazine Awards

Last night in New York City, the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) named Backpacker the winner of three National Magazine Awards in the categories of General Excellence Online, Personal Service Online and Essays.

Boulder, CO – During an evening awards ceremony on April 30, in New York City, the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) named Backpacker the winner of three National Magazine Awards in the categories of General Excellence Online, Personal Service Online and Essays.

General Excellence Online recognizes as a magazine website that features a distinct editorial identity and creates a unique magazine environment on the web. Personal Service Online honors Backpacker’s Maps Project, a part of the website that provides users with innovative ways to post, share, download, and text-message more than 2,500 GPS-enabled trips. The award in the Essays category— which recognizes an author’s eloquence, perspective, and fresh thinking—highlights the work of Backpacker senior editor Tracy Ross, for her work in “The Source of All Things.”

“My staff is made up of a unique combination of writers, editors and digital innovators,” says editor-in-chief Jonathan Dorn, who accepted the awards alongside Senior Editor Tracy Ross and Maps Editor Kris Wagner. "Because of this distinctive blend of talent, we are not only creating feature length stories that are deeply profound and deeply personal, but are dually offering our readers powerful interactive tools that connect them with the outdoor community at large. I am thrilled to be recognized by our peers for our aggressiveness in the digital space, while also being honored for delivering deliver raw and emotional storytelling in our print magazine.”

"I am humbled that Backpacker has won not just one, but three National Magazine Awards," says Efrem "Skip" Zimbalist III, CEO of Active Interest Media, which publishes Backpacker. "Backpacker has transformed itself into an extraordinary multi-dimensional brand that is as brilliantly edited and written, as it is designed and produced. We are proud of the remarkable accomplishments of Jonathan Dorn and his entire editorial team.”

The ASME judges had this to say about Backpacker in their award citations:

  • General Excellence Online -Few magazines embrace the potential of the web as aggressively and creatively as Simple navigation and intuitive design make it easy to find hikes with GPS waypoints, commentary, photos and maps; videos that inform and entertain; and exhaustive gear reviews written by expert outdoorsmen.
  • Personal Service Online – compellingly harnesses web 2.0 capabilities to give hikers of all levels smart, engaging and useful tools that combine online trail maps, GPS tools, magazine and reader trips, and mobile applications that extend the site’s reach beyond the web and right into its users’ backpacks.
  • Essays -Tracy Ross marches her father back to the physical and emotional wilderness—a place of beauty, love and pain—where he first began to molest her as a child. A tour de force of courage and insight, Ross’s essay reveals her ordeal with a clarity and compassion that is unsparing and cathartic.

Backpacker has been named winner of five national magazine awards in the last four years, and has received a total of 8 nominations including three for General Excellence. Just last year, ASME named Backpacker the winner of its 2008 National Magazine Award for General Excellence in the 250,000 to 500,000 circulation category. In 2006, Backpacker was honored as the National Magazine Award winner for Best Magazine Section with “Basecamp.”

About Backpacker:

Backpacker ( brings the outdoors straight to the reader's doorstep, inspiring and enabling them to go more places and enjoy nature more often. The authority on active adventure, Backpacker is the world's first GPS-enabled magazine and website, and the only outdoor media whose editors personally test the hiking trails, camping gear, and survival tips they publish. Backpacker's Editors' Choice Awards, an industry honor recognizing design, feature and product innovation, has become the gold standard against which all other outdoor-industry awards are measured. And the magazine recently launched mobile media applications that allow users to text-message hiking maps and directions to their phones. In 2008, Backpacker won the magazine industry highest honor, the National Magazine Award for General Excellence, joining The New Yorker, Mother Jones, GQ, and National Geographic as top winners in their respective size categories. It has also won numerous other print, design, and digital awards, and its writers have been recognized in prestigious contests and best-of-the-year anthologies. Backpacker magazine is a sister publication to the online trade journal, SNEWS (