Michael Lanza

The Slingfin SplitWing Shelter Bundle.

Review: Slingfin SplitWing Ultralight Backpacking Shelter

Ultralight Backpacking Shelter
Slingfin SplitWing Shelter Bundle
$335, 1 lb. 5 oz. (entire bundle, including six DAC stakes weighing 2.4 oz.)
slingfin.com

Over nearly three decades of testing and reviewing backpacking gear, I’d say the category that has seen the most technological advances is backpacking tents. Still, a radically different tent comes along only rarely—and the latest is Slingfin’s SplitWing Shelter Bundle, a package of three modular ultralight shelter components that constitutes one of the lightest and most versatile, three-season backpacking shelters available today.

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A backpacker on the Thunder Creek Trail, North Cascades National Park.

The Fine Art of Stashing a Backpack in the Woods

By Michael Lanza

Stashing a backpack in the woods is just what it sounds like. If you’re on a multi-day backpacking trip and want to take a side hike of any significant distance, like to a summit, and then return to the same spot to resume your backpacking route, it’s a waste of energy (not to mention entirely pointless) to carry your heavy pack with you. But there are ways to do it wrong, and ways to make sure your pack and everything inside it are still there and not torn apart or gone when you return. Here’s how to do it right.

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A backpacker hiking to Spider Gap in Washington's Glacier Peak Wilderness.

An Essentials-Only Backpacking Gear Checklist

By Michael Lanza

What do you need to pack for a three-season backpacking trip? While the specific items depend in part on factors like the time of year, your companions and backpacking style, the trip’s length and the weather forecast, this story provides a core checklist of essential gear to help you organize and efficiently pack—and avoid overpacking—for virtually any backpacking trip.

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A backpacker on the Teton Crest Trail, North Fork Cascade Canyon, Grand Teton National Park.

Photo Gallery: Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail

By Michael Lanza

As we hiked up the North Fork of Cascade Canyon on the Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park, moments after the path emerged from the forest into a meadow strewn with boulders and still dappled with blooming wildflowers in late August, my friend David turned to look over his shoulder and blurted out, “Oh, wow, look at that view!” Behind us, the sheer north faces of the Grand Teton and Mount Owen towered a vertical mile above us, shooting straight up over the canyon like fireworks (photo above).

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A young family at Skilern Hot Springs, Smoky Mountains, Idaho.

A Survival Guide For the Outdoors Lover Who’s a New Parent

By Michael Lanza

So, you’ve been an avid [circle all appropriate terms: hiker/backpacker/climber/trail runner/skier/kayaker] for years, and now you’re spending big chunks of your days changing diapers and your nights wondering when you’ll sleep again. You’ve never gone this long without getting out into the mountains, and you see no remedy for that shortfall in the foreseeable future. Your new baby is more wonderful than you’d ever imagined—and yet, you’re feeling a little despair over what’s missing from your life lately.

I know where your head is right now. And I have good news for you: I’ve seen the bright light at the end of the tunnel, and you can get there faster than you might think. Here’s how.

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