Osgood Trail, Mount Madison, Presidential Range, N.H.
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A Big Day in the Presidential Range

What happens when three teenagers attempt a 17-mile, 6,800-foot, four-summit dayhike in the Presidential Range? Here’s what.

A Big Day in the Presidential Range
Image Lake, Glacier Peak Wilderness, Washington.
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15 Favorite Backcountry Lakes

Got a favorite backcountry lake? See photos of my 15 favorites, including remote and stunning Image Lake in Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness.

15 Favorite Backcountry Lakes
Rockwall Trail, Kootenay National Park, Canadian Rockies.
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Backpacking the Rockwall Trail, Canadian Rockies

Is the Rockwall Trail in Canada’s Kootenay National Park one of the world’s most spectacular hikes? You decide.

Backpacking the Rockwall Trail, Canadian Rockies

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July 28, 2016 The Narrows, Zion National Park, Utah.

10 Tips For Getting a Hard-to-Get National Park Backcountry Permit

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

By Michael Lanza

The first time I backpacked in Yosemite National Park, more than 20 years ago, I applied months in advance for a permit to start at the park’s most popular trailhead, Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley—and I got it. I had no idea at the time how lucky I was. I’ve since been shot down trying to get permits for popular hikes in parks like Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and Glacier. But I’ve also learned a few tricks for landing coveted backcountry permits in those flagship parks—which all receive far more requests for permit reservations than they can accommodate. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak Daypack

July 27, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak

Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak

Daypack
Hyperlite Mountain Gear Daybreak
$220, 17L/1,040 c.i. 1 lb. 4 oz. (medium)
Sizes: S (fits torsos 15-17 ins.), M (torsos 17-19 ins.), and L (torsos 19+ ins.)
hyperlitemountaingear.com

Lightweight and tough aren’t adjectives I usually use together when describing gear, but they both apply to this daypack. I’ve used it for everything from dayhiking up to several miles on a four-day whitewater rafting and kayaking trip on the Green River through Lodore Canyon in Dinosaur National Monument, on multi-pitch rock climbs at Idaho’s City of Rocks National Reserve, and ski touring. Besides carrying comfortably with about 10 pounds inside, it still looks brand new. Continue reading →

July 26, 2016 Ouzel Lake, Wild Basin, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

Ask Me: Should I Go Backpacking Solo?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, National Park Adventures, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   3 Comments

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 →

July 25, 2016 Rockwall Trail, Kootenay National Park, Canadian Rockies.

Best of the Canadian Rockies: Backpacking Kootenay National Park’s Rockwall Trail

In Backpacking, Family Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

A few hours into our hike’s first day, we round a bend in the trail to a sight that can stop you in your tracks: a pair of skyscraping stone monoliths rising thousands of feet above the treetops. Silhouetted by the sun arcing toward the west, the peaks resemble nothing less than a pair of El Capitans standing shoulder to shoulder. Farther along, one of the tallest waterfalls in the Rocky Mountains comes into view: Helmet Falls, plunging 1,154 feet (352m) over a cliff in two braids that recouple before the column of water crashes into the rocks at its base, spraying a fine cloud of mist into the air.

But these scenes are just a warm-up act for the majesty that awaits us on this four-day family backpacking trip. Continue reading →

Gear Review: The Best Gear Duffles

July 24, 2016  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
The North Face, Patagonia, and Marmot gear duffels.

The North Face, Patagonia, and Marmot gear duffels.

By Michael Lanza

Whatever your outdoor sport—backpacking, climbing, whitewater rafting or kayaking, backcountry skiing, etc.—a sturdy duffle for organizing, hauling, and protecting your gear and clothing is invaluable. Not only does it eliminate the risk of damaging an expensive backpack by using it as your luggage, a good duffle has more capacity and is built to suffer the indignities of getting tossed into jet, train, and bus baggage compartments, being strapped onto a roof rack, sled, snowmobile, or pack animal, and exposed to rain and snow.

I subjected the six duffles and two convertible pieces of luggage reviewed here to perils ranging from cross-country and intercontinental flights to the environmental hazards of multi-day whitewater river trips and numerous long-distance car trips. Besides passing the durability test, all of them demonstrated unique strengths for different styles of adventure travel. Continue reading →

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