Category Archives: Ask Me

Send me your questions about hiking, backpacking, gear, or any topic or trip I write about at The Big Outside, to mlanza@thebigoutside.com.

June 20, 2017 Backpacking the Tonto Trail on the Grand Canyon's Royal Arch Loop.

Ask Me: What ‘Luxury’ Backpacking Gear Do You Carry?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

[Note: I received similar questions from two different readers about choosing which “luxury” items, like camp chairs and sandals, to carry when backpacking—ML]

Michael,

I really enjoy your reviews and articles. I’m 52 and enjoy backpacking in the Southern Appalachians, typically 10 to 15 miles a day, and head out around eight times a year. I carry around 20 pounds in my Osprey Exos 58. I have the EMS Velocity 1 tent, Thermarest NeoAir all season air mattress, MSR PocketRocket with Titan Kettle, and The North Face Gold Kazoo bag. So I travel pretty light.

I currently use the Therm-a-rest Z Seat Pad, but have been considering stepping up to the Crazy Creek Hex 2.0 Original Camp Chair weighing in at 21 oz. Do you think it would be worth the extra weight to go with the chair? At the end of the day it sure would be nice to kick back in it rather than leaning against a tree or rock while sitting on the Z pad.

Best regards,
Pete
Charlotte, NC Continue reading →

Ask Me: Hiking Across Grand Teton National Park in a Day

June 8, 2017  |  In Ask Me, Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Backpackers on the Teton Crest Trail on Death Canyon Shelf, Grand Teton National Park.

Backpackers on the Teton Crest Trail on Death Canyon Shelf, Grand Teton National Park.

Hi Michael!

How are you? I have a quick question. Jerry and I always do a long day hike for our anniversary. This year is our 24th, so we’re looking for a 24- to 26-mile epic dayhike and we want to do the Teton Crest Trail. But we can’t swing the entire 40-miler this year. We heard that there’s a 25-mile route that is epic in itself, from Death Canyon to Static Peak Divide to Cascade Canyon.

Where do we start and end? I read your great blog post on the entire hike, but curious about the 25-mile section.

Thanks!

Shelli
Lander, WY Continue reading →

Ask Me: The Best Hiking Shoes For Zion’s Angels Landing

June 1, 2017  |  In Ask Me, Gear Reviews, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Hikers on Angels Landing in Zion National Park.

Hikers on Angels Landing in Zion National Park.

Hi Michael,

My wife and I really enjoy your website and excellent gear reviews. Thank you! We are headed to Zion National Park in September and looking for footwear for the Angels Landing hike. Can you recommend approach/hiking shoes that won’t wear our feet out on the way up and provide great traction for that last half-mile up the narrow spine to the summit? I would consider a mid-cut for ankle support if they were light enough, otherwise low-cut is fine. Continue reading →

May 21, 2017 Tonto East Trail, Grand Canyon

Ask Me: Where Should Our Family Backpack in the Grand Canyon?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Family Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment

Dear Michael,

My wife and I take our kids to Ketchum, Idaho, every summer and became fans of your site by finding your great recommendations and tips for the White Cloud Mountains. We are now planning a trip with our kids to the Grand Canyon. Our kids are 13 and 14 and are accustomed to multi-day backcountry hikes in the White Clouds and Sawtooths, with 2000+-foot elevation gains. We were seriously considering your suggested four-day trip east to west from Grandview Point to the South Kaibab Trail, but I just noticed that you have also recommended that to someone else in your Ask Me section in response to a request for a “big dayhike.” We don’t want to kill ourselves with an unreasonable pace, but I don’t want to allocate four days for a trip that my kids could reasonably do in two or three. Do you have any advice for what might be the best way to do this, or whether there is an alternate route you would suggest? Continue reading →

May 16, 2017 Wildcat Mountain, White Mountains, N.H.

Ask Me: Protecting Your Family From Ticks While Hiking

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Hello Michael,

I just stumbled on your amazing blog and ordered your book—I can’t wait to read it! I am completely inspired by your blog. I have one question: I am from the Northeast originally and a cousin of mine had very serious, chronic Lyme disease, which has instilled a huge fear in me of that and other tick-borne diseases. How do you protect your children from these things? Do you spray them down with insect repellent? (I try to avoid chemicals as much as possible.) Thank you so much for your help and your wonderful blog!

Sincerely,
Sarah
Encinitas, CA Continue reading →

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Grand Canyon Hiker