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.

February 3, 2016 Rockwall Trail, Kootenay National Park, Canada.

Ask Me: How Can a Small Woman Find a Backpack That Fits?

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Hi Michael,

My fiancée has begun backpacking, and we’re in the market for a pack. But she’s tiny, five feet and just 100 pounds, and finding a waist belt small enough has been an issue. I’m thinking she needs a 50- to 55-liter pack. Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Dave
Worcester, MA Continue reading →

February 2, 2016 Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River, Yosemite National Park.

Ask Me: What Are Your Top Picks For Long Backpacking Trips?

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Hi Michael,

I usually take a solo trip the first week of my summer vacation. (I’m an elementary-school teacher, and I’ve done a ton of multi-day backpacking and lots of long-distance trails. It can be tricky as it’s the second week of June and there is usually too much snow to attempt certain trails. I’m looking for a loop, out and back, or shuttle that allows me about 20 miles a day for about five days. I looked long and hard at the Mah Dah Hey Trail in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, but the 22-hour drive each way is a bit daunting. I’ve been looking at trying to find a closer alternative. Continue reading →

January 28, 2016 Osprey Aura AG 65

Ask Me: What Do You Recommend For a Versatile, All-Purpose 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 →

January 25, 2016 Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, Yellowstone National Park.

Photo Gallery: Celebrating the Centennial Year of the National Park Service

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By Michael Lanza

When the National Park Service turns 100 on Aug. 25, it will mark not just the diamond anniversary of what writer and historian Wallace Stegner famously called “the best idea we ever had”—it marks the evolution and growth of that idea from a handful of parks created in the early days to a system in many ways without parallel, that protects 52 million acres of mountain ranges, canyons, rivers, deserts, prairies, caves, islands, bays, fjords, badlands, natural arches, and seashores in 59 parks. Without that protection, these places that draw visitors from around the world would otherwise almost certainly have been exploited and destroyed. Continue reading →

January 21, 2016 The Dientes Circuit in Chilean Patagonia.

Looking For An Adventure of a Lifetime? Here It Is

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By Michael Lanza

As we climbed toward Paso Australia, the wind gathered strength, shoving us forward and sideways, spinning us around. As if to suggest that we ain’t seen nothin’ yet, our young Chilean guide, Maurice, warned, “It’s going to be windy up there at Australia Pass.” In fact, at the 2,641-foot (805m) pass, it became hard to stand and walk. We alternately braced ourselves against the most furious gusts and stumbled a few steps forward during lulls of merely howling gales. Billowing clouds skidded across the sky, brushing against a row of stone pinnacles, some of the “Teeth of Navarino,” the peaks that give this remote mountain range its name: Dientes de Navarino. Continue reading →

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