Category Archives: Ask Me

I answer reader questions about hiking, backpacking, gear, or any topic or trip I write about at The Big Outside. Send me your questions to mlanza@thebigoutside.com. I receive many; it can take a few weeks to respond.

September 1, 2015 Osprey Aura AG 65

Ask Me: What Do You Recommend For a Versatile, Mid-Size Backpack?

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Hello Michael,

I saw your gear reviews on your blog and I want to ask which backpack you’d recommend for long trails for a man: Osprey Xenith 75 (or 88) or Gregory Baltoro 75? Normally I take from 15 to 25 kg (30 to 50 lbs.). And I need this backpack for trips up to approximately 12 days—from short weekend trips with tent to 14-day trips. It would be nice if the backpack has a lot of pockets. For speed and technical routes I have a 35-liter Deuter Guide without any extra pockets, but for long treks I need more space for my wallet, phone, headlight, etc.

Best regards,
Emil
Lodz, Poland Continue reading →

August 25, 2015 Atop Zeacliff, overlooking the Pemigewasset Wilderness, White Mountains, N.H.

Ask Me: What Are Your Favorite New England Hikes?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Hiking   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

Hello Michael,

I am a college student at Franklin Pierce University, and I have a couple questions I’d like to ask you. I have been enjoying your articles and website and your latest book, Before They’re Gone, and really appreciate the work and writing that you create! I am also an enthusiastic adventurer and love doing much smaller excursions, but I am looking to tackle longer, more rigorous hikes. I was wondering if you had any suggestions for backpacking trips and dayhikes in New England. Continue reading →

August 20, 2015 Skyline Trail, Paradise, at Mount Rainier N.P.

Ask Me: What Are Your Favorite Hikes at Mount Rainier and North Cascades National Parks?

In Ask Me, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Michael,

I just discovered your site, really enjoying it. Great book, I bought it from a small bookshop in Lincoln, N.H., called the Mountain Wanderer. We are on are way out to the Pacific NW for a week. We are looking for some ideas on dayhikes and one-night backpacks in the North Cascades and some dayhikes in Mount Rainier National Park.

Look forward to your stories in Backpacker. Thanks in advance for your help.

Fred and Linda
Tewksbury, MA Continue reading →

August 18, 2015 Nevada Fall, Half Dome, and Liberty Cap from the John Muir Trail, Yosemite National Park.

Ask Me: What Gear Do You Suggest For Thru-Hiking the John Muir Trail?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Hello Michael,

I read your article about ultra-backpacking and how you did the John Muir Trail in seven days. I am planning on doing the adventure in June but would like to know for an ultralight backpacker what items did you use for tent, sleeping bag etc. And any feedback or thoughts that you have that would be beneficial for me would be much appreciated.

Thank you.

Joei
Covina, CA Continue reading →

August 13, 2015 Teton Crest Trail, Death Canyon Shelf, Grand Teton National Park.

Ask Me: Where Can I Backpack in the Tetons Without Needing a Permit?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, National Park Adventures, Uncategorized   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   5 Comments

Hello Michael,

Could you please recommend a four- to five-day backcountry trip in the Grand Teton Range that could include campsites located outside of the park (maybe the Jedediah Smith Wilderness area), so I would not need to get an overnight permit in the park? I do have a one-night permit for Paintbrush Canyon, so I was hoping to make that my last night for camping inside the park, then walk out to Jenny Lake on the last day. I was thinking the starting point could be around the top of Rendezvous Peak via the tramway? I have done day hikes in the Tetons, but never a backcountry trip, so I would appreciate your input. I’m going to be going the last week of August. I have basic skills with compass and map reading, so some off trail hiking is okay. I’m looking for solitude and will be solo hiking. Thank you for your time. Much appreciated!

Gary Continue reading →

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