Category Archives: Backpacking

Stories and images from the best backpacking trips in America and the world, with trip-planning advice based on my personal, on-the-ground knowledge from having done the trip.

November 22, 2017 On the Pacific Crest Trail at Glen Aulin, Yosemite National Park.

Ask Me: What’s the Best 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 →

Zinke’s Plan to Jack Up National Park Entrance Fees is a Shell Game

November 19, 2017  |  In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, National Park Adventures, Paddling, Skiing   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
The Going-to-the-Sun Road near Logan Pass, Glacier National Park.

The Going-to-the-Sun Road near Logan Pass, Glacier National Park.

By Michael Lanza

Beginning next year, the cost to enter 17 flagship national parks—including Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Glacier, Arches, Olympic, Acadia, and Denali—could more than double under a proposal from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. The goal is to tackle an enormous maintenance backlog in parks that has built up for years.

But as structured, this plan won’t accomplish that goal, and burdens people who can least afford it. When it comes to confronting a problem that has become the shame of the Interior Department, this plan represents nothing more than throwing a rug over a crisis and calling it good. Continue reading →

November 16, 2017 Northern Bailey Range, Olympic Mountains, Olympic National Park.

5 Tips For Spending Less on Hiking and Backpacking Gear

In Backpacking, Gear Reviews, Hiking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   14 Comments

By Michael Lanza

My first two-person tent set me back only about 75 bucks. It weighed several pounds and was bulky for backpacking. I called it the Wind Sock for its propensity to snap loudly in the slightest breeze, and because its poles bowed disturbingly in strong gusts. (I learned to choose protected campsites.) When it rained hard, I’d wake up to a puddle covering the floor.

But I used it for six summers of car camping and backpacking. At a time when I could not afford good gear, that tent was good enough. It sheltered me for probably close to 150 nights and got me through many wonderful experiences. For its swan song, my girlfriend (now my wife) and I spent three months hiking, backpacking, and climbing throughout the West—and slept a total of one night indoors. I used the Wind Sock until it all but disintegrated in the last campsite it ever saw. My cost for that tent worked out to about 50 cents a night. Continue reading →

November 13, 2017 Horseshoe Mesa, Grand Canyon.

Ask Me: What Backpacking Trips Do You Suggest In the Grand Canyon and Southern Utah?

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

Hi Michael,

I recently found your blog while planning a trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone, and have devoured it over the past few months. While reading I lamented living in the Midwest, with poor access to the prime backpacking spots you describe. Well, as luck would have it my partner just got a job in Phoenix, AZ, so we two flatlanders will now be a short drive from the Grand Canyon, and accessible to Canyonlands, Arches, and much more. What backpacking trips would you most recommend as first priorities for two reasonably fit, decently equipped people new to the area? Continue reading →

November 12, 2017 A campsite by the Colorado River at Hance Rapids, Grand Canyon.

How to Choose the Best Ultralight Backpacking Tent for You

In Backpacking, Gear Reviews, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

An ultralight backpacking tent can shave pounds from your total pack weight. But when comparing models, the specs on them can look like a big pot of numeral soup. Besides two clear differences—ultralight tents are lighter and usually cost more—you wonder: What differentiates them from one another? I’ve tested and reviewed scores of tents of all sizes. I love the best ultralight tents, but I’ve used many that had flaws or shortcomings not immediately obvious. In this article, I’ll tell you how to find the three-season, ultralight tent that’s best for you. Continue reading →

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Grand Canyon Hiker