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.

March 23, 2015 Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile.

Photo Gallery: My Top 10 Adventures… Ever

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

By Michael Lanza

I often get asked, “What’s your favorite trip?” And I can never come up with an answer. I’ve had the good fortune to have taken many amazing adventures over the years. But I have assembled a list of my 10 all-time favorites (so far). Check out this photo gallery of selected images from several of those trips, then dive into my story listing all 10 (plus a bonus list of trips that nearly made that top 10), with links to the stories about each one for more photos and tips on planning them yourself. Continue reading →

March 22, 2015 Zeacliff, White Mountains, N.H.

Ask Me: Time to Ditch the Old, Heavy Boots For Lighter Footwear?

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Hi, Michael,

I’ve got a pair of Asolo Yukons that I’ve used for nearly 20 years. They are comfortable as can be and offer great ankle support, but at age 52 I’m wondering if I should part with my beloved Yukons and invest in a modern, lighter boot. I’ve heard that every pound on the feet is like five pounds on the back, and as my joints age and my stamina diminishes, I’ve thought it might be wise to buy new. I do mostly dayhikes with a few two-night backpacking trips a season, typically carrying about 20 to 25 pounds. We hike in the White Mountains of N.H., which typically means rocky and wet! I’d love your thoughts on whether to stick with these high-quality tried-and-true Yukons or ditch them for something lighter.

John
Easton, MA

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March 19, 2015 South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon.

Ask Me: Which Dayhike or Two-Day Backpacking Trip Should Our Family Take in the Grand Canyon?

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Michael,

What’s your recommendation from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim for a medium dayhike? We’re going to the Grand Canyon over spring break in the last week of March, four of us. We will get there Saturday and have Sunday, Monday morning. Might look into Sunday night backpacking permit cancellations. We have a camping spot for dayhiking at this point.

Lauren
Boise, ID Continue reading →

March 18, 2015 John Muir Trail at Thousand Island Lake, Ansel Adams Wilderness, High Sierra, California.

Pro Tips For Buying the Right Boots

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

By Michael Lanza

Boots are the most important piece of hiking or backpacking gear you will buy: You can live with a mediocre pack or a cheap tent (as many of us have), but poorly fitting boots are often a trip ender. Trouble is, boots are also the most difficult piece of gear to get right. Getting a good fit is only the first step, and a good retailer should help you do that. (Don’t settle for a mediocre or poor fit in boots—if they don’t feel good, they aren’t.) The questions I get most often from readers focus on which type of boot to buy. Here’s what I’ve learned from two decades of testing and reviewing scores of shoe and boot models of all kinds. Continue reading →

March 17, 2015 Dusky Track, Pleasant Range, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand.

One Photo, One Story: Trekking New Zealand’s Dusky Track

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By Michael Lanza

An hour after my friend Jeff Wilhelm and I were dropped off by helicopter at the Lake Roe hut on the Dusky Track in New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park, I captured this image of him hiking across a gorgeous lakes basin in the park’s aptly named Pleasant Range. Just last week, we started that four-day, hut-to-hut trek on a morning of misty clouds and rain showers, but good views nonetheless of deep valleys carved eons ago by glaciers and kept vibrantly green by several meters of rain annually. Notoriously rugged, wet, and insanely muddy (even, we can attest, at the tail end of a relatively “dry” summer in Fiordland), the Dusky was one of the hardest multi-day hikes I have ever taken—and I loved it. Continue reading →

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