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.
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?
By Michael Lanza
As we backpacked up Paintbrush Canyon on the first day of a three-day family hike on the nearly 20-mile loop of Paintbrush and Cascade canyons in Grand Teton National Park, I kept a close eye on our kids. Our son, Nate, then eight years old, had taken a few backpacking trips with me already; I figured he’d do fine, but still, he was young. Our daughter, Alex, then six, was on just her second backpacking trip. I knew that making it fun for them would be an important first step toward nurturing a love for future wilderness trips in them. Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →
[Note: I received the two similar, reader questions below about choosing which “luxury” items, like camp chairs and sandals, to carry when backpacking—ML]
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.
Charlotte, NC Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
You really want to backpack in Yosemite, Glacier, Grand Teton, Zion, Rocky Mountain, Mount Rainier, or another hugely popular national park this summer—but you didn’t apply to reserve a wilderness permit months ago? Well, you’re in luck: Most parks have a system for getting a last-minute permit. It requires jumping through some hoops, good timing, and a bit of luck. But knowing the ins and outs of the system get land you a permit.
Here are the tricks I’ve learned from numerous backpacking trips to major national parks over the past three decades. Follow them and you just might go backpacking this year in a classic national park. Continue reading →