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 19, 2018 Backpackers in Titcomb Basin, in Wyoming's Wind River Range.

Ask Me: What’s the Best Ultralight Thru-Hiking Backpack?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   6 Comments

Hi Michael,

I’m looking for a backpack for my Appalachian Trail thru-hike. I am considering some Osprey packs and others. What to you recommend as the best thru-hiking backpack?

Thanks.

Bruce

Continue reading →

June 13, 2018 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 the two similar, reader questions below 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 →

May 20, 2018 Backpackers on Death Canyon Shelf, Grand Teton National Park.

Ask Me: Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Family Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   12 Comments

[Michael Lanza note: The following are my responses to inquiries from readers with specific questions about backpacking the Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park, including how to do it, the best campsites, and what to bring. Scroll down to scan for bold type identifying places along the trail. See also my story American Classic: Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail and my e-guide The Complete Guide to Backpacking the Teton Crest Trail.]

Michael,

Thank you for making something so useful as The Big Outside. The website is not only a great resource for useful information but also does such a great job of communicating your passion for the outdoors. In that spirit, I am taking my son to hike the Teton Crest Trail in early July this summer and I had a couple questions. Continue reading →

May 8, 2018 Campsite, Dome Glacier, Ptarmigan Traverse, Glacier Peak Wilderness, North Cascades.

Ask Me: How Can You Tell How Warm a Down Jacket Is?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Gear Reviews, Hiking, Paddling, Skiing   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

Michael,

With sleeping bags, we have temperature ratings. But with down/insulated/puffy jackets, what is best way to determine if a jacket will be warm or warmer or hot? Is it the amount of fill? Some but not all jackets indicate the amount of fill.

Thanks.

Bruce
Virginia

Continue reading →

May 2, 2018 Wildcat Mountain, White Mountains, N.H.

Ask Me: Protecting Your Family From Ticks While Hiking

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   5 Comments

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