Clouds Rest, Yosemite National Park

Take an Epic National Park Adventure

Don’t get shut out of a backcountry permit in popular parks like Yosemite. Read my 10 Tips For Getting a Hard-to-Get National Park Backcountry Permit.

Take an Epic National Park Adventure

20 Big Adventures In Pictures

What could be better than daydreaming over a gallery of 20 photos from great adventures? Planning one of these trips. That’s what.

20 Big Adventures In Pictures
White Cloud Mountains, Idaho.

How to Hike Farther

Want to be able to hike 20 or 30 miles in a day? Here’s how I pull off ultra-hikes of up to 40 miles.

How to Hike Farther

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

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

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

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.

Easton, MA

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March 21, 2015 Hiking off-trail from Frying Pan Trail, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah.

The Big Outside Makes Another Top 10 List

In Uncategorized   |   1 Comment

I’m proud to announce that Flip Key (@flipkey), a Trip Advisor (@TripAdvisor) company, just named The Big Outside to its Top 10 Outdoor Travel Blogger list, which includes several good blogs about hiking, backpacking, and camping. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Scarpa Zen Pro Mid GTX Boots

March 20, 2015  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Scarpa Zen Pro Mid GTX

Scarpa Zen Pro Mid GTX

Hiking/Scrambling Boots
Scarpa Zen Pro Mid GTX
$199, 2 lb. 4 oz. (men’s Euro 42/US 9)
Sizes: men’s Euro 40-47, 48, women’s 36-42

On an October hike and scramble up 9,860-foot McGown Peak in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains, involving about 3,500 vertical feet and 11 miles round-trip, about half of it off-trail, I put these new boots through every test from scrambling third-class rock to hiking at a fast pace on forest trails. And the Zen Pro Mid GTX passed with flying colors, proving itself an outstanding, all-mountain boot. Continue reading →

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?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments


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.

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 →

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