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.

September 1, 2015 Osprey Aura AG 65

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

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

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 31, 2015 Hiking Clouds Rest, Yosemite National Park, California.

Best of Yosemite, Part 1: Backpacking South of Tuolumne Meadows

In Backpacking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

By Michael Lanza

I am floating in the stratosphere.

The feeling reminds me of childhood dreams of flying, but this is no dream. We are hiking across the slender, granite spine of 9,926-foot Clouds Rest, between sphincter-puckering abysses of deep air in the heart of Yosemite National Park. Below my left elbow, the rock drops off like a very long and insanely steep slide for several hundred feet before reaching forest; and that’s the side that feels less exposed. Below my right elbow, a cliff face sweeps downward a dizzying, stomach-churning 4,000 feet—that’s a thousand feet taller than the face of El Capitan. Continue reading →

August 30, 2015 Rockwall Pass on the Rockwall Trail in Kootenay National Park, Canadian Rockies.

One Photo, One Story: Backpacking the Rockwall Trail, Kootenay National Park

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By Michael Lanza

One the second afternoon of my family’s four-day backpacking trip on the 34-mile (54k) Rockwall Trail in Kootenay National Park, we reached the first of three passes we would cross over the course of the trip—and the first of two that day. At 7,264-foot (2,214m) Rockwall Pass, we got our first long view of the Rockwall, a chain of soaring cliffs, jagged peaks, and hanging glaciers that extends for miles, and which we would walk beneath for most of our trek. I snapped this photo of my 14-year-old son, Nate, as we started descending south off of Rockwall Pass.
Continue reading →

August 27, 2015 Hiker on "The Visor," Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California.

10 Tricks For Making Hiking and Backpacking Easier

In Backpacking, Hiking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

By Michael Lanza

When I first started hiking, in my early 20s, I was like a young baseball pitcher with an overpowering fastball: I simply hurled myself at every hike with all of my energy and cluelessness, not terribly concerned about whether I hit the metaphorical strike zone. I didn’t think much about how far I was hiking, how rugged the terrain was, how heavy a pack I was carrying—or, to be honest, how much my companions were ready or eager for whatever lunatic plan I was dragging them into. I was young and fit and didn’t really care how much my body ached afterward, so my haphazard strategy worked well enough.

Now, many miles and (too) many years later, I’m more like a veteran hurler who’s learned the benefits of honing a repertoire of off-speed pitches. 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 →

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