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Latest Posts

Gear Review: MSR DynaLock Ascent Trekking Poles

October 18, 2018  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
MSR DynaLock Ascent Trekking Poles.

MSR DynaLock Ascent Trekking Poles in Zion National Park.

Trekking Poles
MSR DynaLock Ascent Poles
$150, 1 lb. 1 oz. (small, 100-120cm, with trekking baskets)
Sizes: S (100-120cm), L (120-140cm)
rei.com

When you need trekking poles, you want them to stand up to the hardest use in any season. When you don’t need them, you want them to nestle unobtrusively under pack straps. From a 20-mile, mostly off-trail peaks traverse in Idaho’s Sawtooths to a rim-to-rim dayhike across the Grand Canyon and some of the hardest miles on the Appalachian Trail, MSR’s Dynalock Ascent Poles stood out for being tough, stable, and exceptionally packable. Continue reading →

15 Adventures on Earth That Will Change Your Life

October 14, 2018  |  In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, International Adventures, National Park Adventures, Paddling   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   3 Comments
Hiking an alternative route to the Tour du Mont Blanc in the Alps.

Anna Garofalo on the final day trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc in the Alps.

By Michael Lanza

Can travel “change your life?” How many experiences have such an enormous impact? I can name several that shifted my perspective, or expanded how I view the world and other people. Exploring the surreal landscapes of Iceland and Patagonia. Walking among Earth’s highest mountains in Nepal, through remote villages where people live much as their ancestors did for centuries. Immersing myself in the mountain culture on hut treks in the Alps like the Tour du Mont Blanc (photo above). And seeing unforgettable places like Norway’s Jotunheimen National ParkItaly’s Dolomites, and Alaska’s Glacier Bay through the unclouded eyes of my kids. Continue reading →

Ask Me: Should I Go Backpacking Solo?

October 13, 2018  |  In Ask Me, Backpacking, National Park Adventures, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   8 Comments
A backpacker at Upper Lyman Lakes, Glacier Peak Wilderness, Washington.

A backpacker at Upper Lyman Lakes, Glacier Peak Wilderness, Washington.

Hello Michael,

I’ve read through a lot of your blog, and it really has inspired me to get outside more and look for greater adventures than what I’ve already done. I have never been anywhere in the United States and so I have my sights set on Rocky Mountain National Park, in Colorado. I’m looking to do some backpacking, and with so many trails and options to choose from, I’m at a loss and honestly confused. I’m looking for something that will take me about four days. Sadly, I haven’t been able to find someone to tag along with me, and although I have quite a bit of camping and hiking experience, I haven’t done it by myself. What are your thoughts on backpacking solo? Continue reading →

Gear Review: Zamberlan 491 Trackmaster GTX RR Backpacking Boots

October 10, 2018  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Zamberlan 491 Trackmaster GTX RR boots.

Zamberlan 491 Trackmaster GTX RR backpacking boots.

Backpacking Boots
Zamberlan 491 Trackmaster GTX RR
$220, 2 lbs. 8 oz. (men’s US 9/Euro 43)
Sizes: men’s 8-13, women’s 6-11
rei.com

For some backpacking trips, lightweight, mid-cut boots or low-cut shoes don’t cut it. With plans for a six-day hike of over 90 miles on the Continental Divide Trail through Glacier National Park in September—where snow had fallen just a week before—I saw the trip as an opportunity to put Zamberlan’s premier leather backpacking boot, the 491 Trackmaster GTX RR, to a real test. On that hike, I found they measure up as a top boot in this category, although I had one minor complaint. Here’s why you should consider them. Continue reading →

Completely Alone Backpacking Mount Rainier’s Northern Loop

October 8, 2018  |  In Backpacking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   12 Comments
A backpacker on Mount Rainier National Park's Northern Loop.

The view toward Rainier from Crescent Mountain along Mount Rainier National Park’s Northern Loop.

By Michael Lanza

“There’s absolutely no one out here.”

I was just a few hours into a solo backpacking trip around Mount Rainier National Park’s 32.8-mile Northern Loop when that realization hit me. It was a cool, clear day in October 2003. None of my usual hiking partners had been available to join me. So I decided to do the trip alone, something I’ve done more times than I could count and felt comfortable with. I had no idea that this time I’d face the kind of situation that solo hikers think about but can never anticipate: a threat that shrinks the margin of safety in the wilderness down to nothing. Continue reading →

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