Laura Lancaster

Laura Lancaster

Staff Writer

Laura Lancaster is Outdoor Life’s gear staff writer where she focuses on in-depth testing of backpacking and camping gear, with a particular interest in lightweight and ultralight gear. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and daughter.


  • Thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2014 and the Colorado Trail in 2017
  • Wrote the “Wild Woman” column for Survivor’s Edge magazine for three years
  • Wants to know what tent stake and water filter brands are in your pack


Lancaster, who was born in Washington State, went on her first backpacking trip with her dad at the age of 12. She backpacked and camped throughout college, and continued to spend time in the backcountry of the West, even after moving to the concrete jungle of New York City. She went back West permanently in 2014, first to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (earning the trail name “Chop Chop”), then the Wonderland Trail, and the Colorado Trail. In between hiking sections of the Pacific Northwest Trail and the Oregon Coast Trail, she freelanced for various outdoor publications, including Backpacker, Survivor’s Edge, and American Survival Guide, as well as editing memoirs by Heather Anderson, Dierdre Wolownick, and Barney Scout Mann. She joined the OL gear team in February 2022, where she tests gear and publishes her findings in detailed articles.


Laura graduated from the University of Washington with a major in English Literature.

Words of Wisdom

The destination is just how we give ourselves permission to be on the journey.

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