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.

November 12, 2014 South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Ask Me: How’s November For Hiking the Grand Canyon?

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

Hi Michael:

During the second week of November, a buddy and I are considering a rim or river to rim hike in the Grand Canyon. We are planning to descend South Kaibab Trail, walk along River Trail, and ascend via Bright Angel Trail. Plan would be to start early and complete the hike in the same day. We will carry survival gear. Neither of us has been to the GC. One of us is very experienced (and in excellent physical condition), and one of us has moderate experience (in very good physical condition).

We would appreciate your comments on hiking in November—weather, trail conditions, and anything else that may assist us. We both prefer not to hike in the wet, and neither of us wants anything to do with snow! Also, if November is the wrong month to do this, we would delay until next year. Continue reading →

November 6, 2014 Trekkers above Olavsbu Hut in Norway's Jotunheimen National Park.

Ask Me: Which Big Backpack Do You Recommend?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   4 Comments

Michael,

I purchased a Mountainsmith Apex 80 before I knew anything about buying packs. I love the pack, but I recently ended up carrying 45 lbs. for the first time, and the pack refused to stay on my hips. I took it into my local REI and it turns out the pack is too large for me. My torso is 17 inches and the pack starts at 18 inches. I have read through every backpack review on your site (they were very informative) and have narrowed down my replacements, and would like your advice. The three on my list are: Gregory Baltoro 75, Osprey Aether 70/85 (the Xenith only fits torsos starting at 18), and the Deuter Act 75+10. I need the larger pack as the scout troop my son is with does multi-day trips, and we end up carrying all the stuff the boy’s parents over-packed (plus I’m not experienced enough yet to be able to pack myself perfectly). Continue reading →

October 30, 2014 Chimney Rock Canyon, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah.

Ask Me: How Do You Plan Food for Backpacking?

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

Hey Michael,

I was wondering if you have any hints or tips for planning out your food for bigger backcountry trips. Food planning is always something I have neglected and I think I could save myself some pack weight and have better meals with a little extra planning and direction (in true Bill Bryson style, I usually stick to noodles when in the bush).

Thanks as always, Michael. I hope you are your family are finding some fun adventures as the weather starts to turn!

Best,
Grant
St. Louis, MO Continue reading →

October 23, 2014 Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River, Yosemite National Park.

Ask Me: Where Can I Hike in Yosemite in Late Fall?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment

Michael,

First, let me say that I enjoy your trip reports, gear reviews and especially the photographs. I also love kids and your adventures with them are a joy to read. Your website inspires me to want to get out West and experience the wilderness. With that in mind, I have the opportunity to attend a wedding just outside the South Entrance to Yosemite National Park the weekend of Veterans Day. I have never been to Yosemite and I would hate to miss an opportunity to see the sights. I would like to stay a few days after the wedding to hike and possibly backpack. Do you have any suggestions for dayhikes and perhaps someplace to camp? Continue reading →

October 15, 2014 Highline Trail, Glacier National Park, Montana.

Ask Me: If I Have One Day in Glacier National Park, What Hike Should I Take?

In Ask Me, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Trail Running   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment

Hi, Michael,

I found your blog through your “5 Perfect (Big) Days in Glacier National Park” post–fantastic-sounding hikes. If you have some time, I was looking for advice for an upcoming trip. I am traveling to Great Falls, Montana, soon for work, and I’ll have one day to explore Glacier National Park: Friday, Oct. 17. Of course one day is not enough, but these are my circumstances. Anyway, my main question: What would you recommend for an eager hiker with one day to spend in paradise? Are there trails with a high wow-factor you can recommend that are likely to be open, even if the high country is snowed in? Continue reading →

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