Category Archives: Skills

My professional tips on hiking, backpacking, gear, and outdoors skills, and taking children on wilderness adventures.

March 31, 2015 Sahale Arm, North Cascades National Park, Washington.

Ask Me: How Do I Stop Getting Battered Toes When Hiking?

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

Mike,

I know this is a really random question, but when descending mountain trails my big toes suffer immensely. Besides tying the laces up really tight, is there a trick to protecting them without losing a toenail or having them feel beat up?

Geoff
Rexburg, ID Continue reading →

March 29, 2015 Cas9-127 Camp, Dome Glacier, day 4, Ptarmigan Traverse, North Cascades

5 Tips For Buying a Backpacking Tent

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

By Michael Lanza

There are a lot of tents out there. How do you choose between them? Backpackers come in different sizes and have different needs and preferences in a tent. In testing scores of backcountry tents over the past two decades, for reviews in Backpacker Magazine and this blog, I’ve seen the best and the worst—and gotten a sense of what to look for in a tent and how to help people pick out one they like. Here are my five simple tips for finding a tent you’ll love. 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 16, 2015 Gran4-134 North Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon

Cranking Out Big Days: Ramp Up Your Hikes and Trail Runs

In Backpacking, Hiking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   4 Comments

By Michael Lanza

I don’t remember the first time I hiked more than 20 miles in a day. But living and hiking in New England at the time, where one mile of rocky, up-and-down trail feels as physically punishing as two miles in other parts of the country, I undoubtedly got to that distance through incrementally longer dayhikes. I only wish I could remember the sense of pleasure with myself that I must have felt that first time.

But I can list precisely the number of times I’ve hiked more than 30 miles in a day.

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March 8, 2015 JMT1-188 (2)

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

In Backpacking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   4 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 →

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