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.

15 Adventures on Earth That Will Change Your Life

October 14, 2018  |  In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, International Adventures, National Park Adventures, Paddling   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   4 Comments
Hiking an alternative route to the Tour du Mont Blanc in the Alps.

Anna Garofalo on the final day trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc in the Alps.

By Michael Lanza

Can travel “change your life?” How many experiences have such an enormous impact? I can name several that shifted my perspective, or expanded how I view the world and other people. Exploring the surreal landscapes of Iceland and Patagonia. Walking among Earth’s highest mountains in Nepal, through remote villages where people live much as their ancestors did for centuries. Immersing myself in the mountain culture on hut treks in the Alps like the Tour du Mont Blanc (photo above). And seeing unforgettable places like Norway’s Jotunheimen National ParkItaly’s Dolomites, and Alaska’s Glacier Bay through the unclouded eyes of my kids. Continue reading →

Ask Me: Should I Go Backpacking Solo?

October 13, 2018  |  In Ask Me, Backpacking, National Park Adventures, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   8 Comments
A backpacker at Upper Lyman Lakes, Glacier Peak Wilderness, Washington.

A backpacker at Upper Lyman Lakes, Glacier Peak Wilderness, Washington.

Hello Michael,

I’ve read through a lot of your blog, and it really has inspired me to get outside more and look for greater adventures than what I’ve already done. I have never been anywhere in the United States and so I have my sights set on Rocky Mountain National Park, in Colorado. I’m looking to do some backpacking, and with so many trails and options to choose from, I’m at a loss and honestly confused. I’m looking for something that will take me about four days. Sadly, I haven’t been able to find someone to tag along with me, and although I have quite a bit of camping and hiking experience, I haven’t done it by myself. What are your thoughts on backpacking solo? Continue reading →

Completely Alone Backpacking Mount Rainier’s Northern Loop

October 8, 2018  |  In Backpacking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   12 Comments
A backpacker on Mount Rainier National Park's Northern Loop.

The view toward Rainier from Crescent Mountain along Mount Rainier National Park’s Northern Loop.

By Michael Lanza

“There’s absolutely no one out here.”

I was just a few hours into a solo backpacking trip around Mount Rainier National Park’s 32.8-mile Northern Loop when that realization hit me. It was a cool, clear day in October 2003. None of my usual hiking partners had been available to join me. So I decided to do the trip alone, something I’ve done more times than I could count and felt comfortable with. I had no idea that this time I’d face the kind of situation that solo hikers think about but can never anticipate: a threat that shrinks the margin of safety in the wilderness down to nothing. Continue reading →

Gear Review: The 5 Best Headlamps of 2018

October 6, 2018  |  In Backpacking, Gear Reviews, Hiking   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments
Clockwise from top left: Petzl Actik Core, Princeton Tec Vizz, Black Diamond Spot, Petzl Bindi, and Black Diamond Storm headlamps.

Clockwise from top left: Petzl Actik Core, Princeton Tec Vizz, Black Diamond Spot, Petzl Bindi, and Black Diamond Storm headlamps.

By Michael Lanza

How do you choose which headlamp to buy for hiking, backpacking, climbing, trail running, and other outdoor activities? Price? Brightness? Design and range of lighting modes? Go with a brand you know and trust? I’ve tested dozens of headlamps over the years. Here are my freshly updated picks for the five best models of 2018. Continue reading →

How to Prevent Hypothermia While Hiking and Backpacking

October 2, 2018  |  In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment
A backpacker on the windy trail from Pitamakan Pass to Dawson Pass in Glacier National Park.

Todd Arndt staying warm in cold wind high in Glacier National Park.

By Michael Lanza

Rain and wind battered two friends and I as we hiked across exposed meadows high in the Olympic Mountains—our second straight day of rain. Dripping, knee-high vegetation ladled cups of water onto our pants and boots. My rain jacket kept my upper body dry, but my soft-shell pants eventually soaked through. That, and the wind, slowly made me steadily colder—more than I realized.

After a strenuous ascent of a steep mountainside, carrying a heavy pack with my jacket hood up—which should have made me quite warm—it occurred to me: I’m still cold.

I was hypothermic. Continue reading →

← Older posts