High Sierra Trail above Middle Fork Kaweah River, Sequoia National Park.
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Backpacking Sequoia National Park

Jagged peaks, crystalline lakes, giant sequoias, and some of the most amazing campsites in America—that’s what you find on this big loop through Sequoia National Park.

Backpacking Sequoia National Park
Ouzel Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park.
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Backpacking Rocky Mountain National Park

Sometimes a backpacking trip with kids starts all wrong—and ends all right. The 5 rules about getting kids outdoors that I broke in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Backpacking Rocky Mountain National Park
Boulder Chain Lakes, White Cloud Mountains, Idaho.
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A Long Walk Through Idaho’s White Clouds

What’s the meaning of wilderness today? Finding the answer to that question on a one-day, 28-mile hike through Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains.

A Long Walk Through Idaho’s White Clouds

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Gear Giveaway: Black Diamond Element 60/Elixir 60 Backpack

October 21, 2014  |  In Uncategorized   |   Leave a comment
Black Diamond Element 60

Black Diamond Element 60

Let’s face it–a backpack can be your best friend or your worst enemy. When it doesn’t fit you well, it’s overloaded, or is just a mediocre pack, every step of a trip becomes a worsening misery. But when you have the right pack, you feel light on your feet. After backpacking with the Black Diamond Element 60, I decided it is the lightest pack of this size that I’ve reviewed at The Big Outside that carries at least 35 pounds comfortably.

And now you can win one in my giveaway at The Big Outside. Continue reading →

October 19, 2014 Whitewater rafting Idaho's Payette River.

How I Get Outdoors… A Lot

In Family Adventures, Paddling   |   Tagged , , , ,   |   1 Comment

As we paddle toward yet another class III whitewater rapid on Idaho’s Payette River, my 13-year-old son, Nate, in the kayak ahead of me, looks over his shoulder and calls out, “Dad, just follow my line.” Then he deftly steers his boat into a foaming pileup of waves, disappears briefly in the trough between two big rollers, and then emerges a moment later, upright and plowing forward through a wave train into the calmer waters beyond the rapid. Continue reading →

October 16, 2014 Ouzel Lake, Wild Basin, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

The 5 Rules About Kids I Broke While Backpacking in Rocky Mountain National Park

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, National Park Adventures, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   3 Comments

By Michael Lanza

“I’m dying!” my son, Nate, bellowed to the entire forest in the Wild Basin of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. “This pack is too heavy!” We were just 30 minutes up the trail at the outset of a three-day backpacking trip. It was a trip that seemed like an unmitigated disaster for the first two days—then morphed into an adventure my kids remember fondly, and that helped expand their outdoor interests.

For me, those three days in Rocky serve as a reminder about the many ways you can do it wrong when taking kids outdoors, but how simple and easy it is to make it right. Continue reading →

October 15, 2014 Highline Trail, Glacier National Park, Montana.

Ask Me: If I Have One Day in Glacier National Park, What Hike Should I Take?

In Ask Me, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Trail Running   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment

Hi, Michael,

I found your blog through your “5 Perfect (Big) Days in Glacier National Park” post–fantastic-sounding hikes. If you have some time, I was looking for advice for an upcoming trip. I am traveling to Great Falls, Montana, soon for work, and I’ll have one day to explore Glacier National Park: Friday, Oct. 17. Of course one day is not enough, but these are my circumstances. Anyway, my main question: What would you recommend for an eager hiker with one day to spend in paradise? Are there trails with a high wow-factor you can recommend that are likely to be open, even if the high country is snowed in? Continue reading →

Review: Clothing That Helps Me Run and Hike Farther

October 14, 2014  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Opedix Knee-Tec Tights

Opedix Knee-Tec Tights

Compression Apparel
Bioskin Compression Shorts
$95, 7 oz. (medium)
Sizes: S-XXL

Bioskin Calf Skin Sleeves
$65/pair, $35/one, 3 oz. (XL pair)
Sizes: S-XXL (The size range fits calves with a widest-point circumference of 11 to 20 ins.)
bioskin.com

Opedix Knee-Tec Tights
$225, 10 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes: men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL
opedix.com

Well into the descent off 9,860-foot McGown Peak in Idaho’s Sawtooths—a dayhike of about 11 miles and more than 3,300 vertical feet, mostly off-trail with 1,000 feet of third-class scrambling and steep scree running—I turned to my climbing partner and said, “My legs feel great.” I’d like to believe that’s because I’m in such incredible physical condition that climbing a rugged peak does not even begin to fatigue my leg muscles. But the reason I felt so fresh at that point was because of what I was wearing below the waist: Opedix Knee-Tec Tights. I’ve been using compression apparel—shorts, tights, socks, and calf sleeves—for a few years, and I’ve found I can trail run and hike farther before getting tired, and feel better that evening and the next day. Clothing that does that almost seems like cheating—but I’ll take any advantage I can find. Continue reading →

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