Category Archives: Backpacking

Stories and images from the best backpacking trips in America and around the world, with trip-planning advice based on my personal, on-the-ground knowledge from having done the trip.

May 28, 2015 John Muir Trail, Ansel Adams Wilderness, California.

Ask Me: How Early in the Season Can I Hike the John Muir Trail?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   3 Comments

Hi Michael,

I hope you’re doing great. I had a quick question for you regarding the JMT. I’ve read in Backpacker Magazine that you recommend late August/early September as the best time of the year to hike the trail. What’s the earliest in the season one could do the trail? Continue reading →

May 25, 2015 Above Stillwater Canyon, Canyonlands National Park.

5 Classic (Age-Appropriate) National Park Adventures for Families

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Paddling   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

What national park adventure should we take with our kids? That’s a question I get frequently from parents. It’s a tough one to answer, given all the great choices. But my advice always focuses on the ages of kids, because that’s how I’ve always thought about picking the right trips for my kids. I ask myself: What’s the most fun, safe adventure we can take them on at their ages?

I’ve compiled below my top five recommendations for absolute, must-do national park trips for families (with links to my story about each for more info and photos), arranged in order from the easiest, for younger kids, to the most challenging, for older, more-experienced kids. Continue reading →

May 24, 2015 Tonto Trail, Royal Arch Loop, Grand Canyon National Park.

One Photo, One Story: Backpacking the Grand Canyon’s Royal Arch Loop

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By Michael Lanza

On the last morning of a three-day, 34.5-mile backpacking trip on the Grand Canyon’s remote and very rugged Royal Arch Loop, I got this photo of my friend David Ports at a spot where the Tonto Trail traverses close to the brink of a precipice nearly a thousand feet above the muddy Colorado River roaring through Granite Gorge. Continue reading →

May 21, 2015 JMT1-188 (2)

The Simple Equation of Ultralight Backpacking: Less Weight = More Fun

In Backpacking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   3 Comments

By Michael Lanza

If you could do one thing to make every backcountry trip more enjoyable, would you? If you’re one of the many backpackers who finish every day on the trail sore from neck to toes, the answer may be simpler than you think. Continue reading →

May 20, 2015 Backpacking in the rain on the Wonderland Trail at Mount Rainier National Park.

5 Tips for Staying Warm and Dry on the Trail

In Backpacking, Hiking, Skills   |   Tagged , , ,   |   1 Comment

By Michael Lanza

There are only three guarantees in life: death, taxes, and getting rained on when dayhiking or backpacking. As we all know, wet clothing conducts heat away from your body, making you colder. And simply donning rain shells may make you so warm that you sweat a lot, thus getting wet from the inside rather than the outside. Staying as dry as possible while on the trail or in camp is key to staying warm in the backcountry when the weather turns wet—especially in temperatures below around 60° F and in wind, which swiftly chills your body. Follow these tips for a much more comfortable and pleasant backcountry adventure—even when the weather doesn’t cooperate.

Continue reading →

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