Monthly Archives: December 2012

Gear Review: Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon LS

December 17, 2012  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon LS review

Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon LS

Minimalist Shoes
Vibram FiveFingers Spyridon LS
$120, 13 oz. (size 40)
Sizes: 40-47 (sizing chart)

I’ve given this minimalist-running trend some cautious experimentation over the past several months, and I’m not sure I will ever switch over from traditional, supportive running shoes to minimalist shoes for my trail running or dayhiking. It’s not right for everyone’s feet and body. However, months of wearing the Spyridon LS for everything from general walking around to gym workouts has convinced me of something entirely unexpected: While I may not run in this footwear, they are excellent for exercising and strengthening the muscles and connective tissue of my feet and legs for ultra-hiking, backpacking, and trail running. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Millet Prolighter 30 pack

December 11, 2012  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , ,   |   Leave a comment

Millet Prolighter 30

Ski Pack
Millet Prolighter 30
$135, 2 lbs. 12 oz.
30L/1,830 c.i.
One size

I carried this top-loading rucksack with a rock-climbing rack, clothing, and food for a roughly 14-mile, nearly 4,000-foot climb of Mt. Heyburn in Idaho’s Sawtooths, which is mostly a long, substantially off-trail hike with a couple short pitches of easy rock climbing to the summit. (My partner carried the rope, though it would have easily fit under this pack’s rope strap.) The Prolighter 30 nails it as a pack for an all-day, technical rock, snow, or ice climb in the backcountry, or a cragging pack: It sports all the needed features while weighing in under three pounds, is comfortable carrying 25 to 30 pounds, and built to sustain serious abuse. Continue reading →

December 3, 2012

River of Many Stories: Canoeing New Zealand’s Stunning Whanganui

In International Adventures, Paddling   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

Within minutes after launching our canoe into the chocolate-brown and, at the moment, tranquil Whanganui River, in the southwestern corner of New Zealand’s North Island, I begin to get a sense of why the native Maori people believed that every bend in this striking waterway had a mauri, or “life force.” We’ve entered a nearly unbroken gorge of sheer sandstone and mudstone cliffs soaring up to 200 feet straight out of the water, draped with jungle-like foliage in infinite hues of green. Cicadas buzz and rattle almost deafeningly. Ribbon waterfalls pour in straight, pencil-thin lines down walls so oversaturated that they weep tears from every fern and leaf.

The Maori are right: this place is very much alive. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Lorpen and Merrell Socks

December 1, 2012  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Lorpen Trail Running Multisport Sock

Lorpen Trail Running Multisport Sock
$13, 2 oz. (men’s medium)

Lorpen Midweight Hiker Sock
$21, 3.5 oz. (men’s medium)

Lorpen Merino Light Ski Sock
$22, 3 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes (for all models): men’s M-XL women’s S-M

Merrell Men’s Chameleon Stretch/Women’s Siren Sport Sock
$18, 2 oz. (men’s medium)

Merrell Men’s Courant Solid/Women’s Scamper Solid/Stripe Sock
$18 2 oz. (men’s medium)
Sizes (for both models): men’s and women’s S-XL

How much can you say about socks? The best feel comfortable, keep your feet dry to prevent blisters, and hold their shape for more than just one day—important when you’re on a multi-day backcountry trip. After numerous days of trail running, dayhiking, backpacking, and backcountry and resort skiing, I’ve picked out some favorites. Continue reading →

“Before They’re Gone” wins National Outdoor Book Award

December 1, 2012  |  In Family Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

My book, Before They’re Gone–A Family’s Year-Long Quest To Explore America’s Most Endangered National Parks, has received honorable mention in the Outdoor Literature category, the top awards category, from the prestigious National Outdoor Book Awards.

In it, I write about spending a year taking wilderness adventures with my wife, Penny, our nine-year-old son, Nate, and our seven-year-old daughter, Alex, in national parks that, because of climate change, are likely to be very different places by the time my kids are my age.

Read an excerpt from my book and reviewer comments about it, view a trailer, and find links to media coverage about my book at The Big Outside Book page.

See the complete list of winners at


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