Backpacking

A backpacker hiking in rain on the Dusky Track in Fiordland National Park, New Zealand.

5 Expert Tips For Buying a Rain Jacket For Hiking

By Michael Lanza Choosing a waterproof-breathable rain shell for hiking, backpacking, climbing, or other outdoor activities can seem daunting. Prices range from under $100 to over $500, and weights from less than half a pound to over a pound. Some are loaded with features, others so minimalist they seem like a glorified trash bag. You’ll also find the full gamut …

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A backpacker above Crack-in-the-Wall, Coyote Gulch, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah.

Playing the Memory Game in Escalante, Capitol Reef, and Bryce Canyon

By Michael Lanza

Below a deep gash in a 50-foot-tall cliff of golden sandstone, shaded from the low, late-afternoon sun of early spring, I scramble up a steep slab using in-cut holds carved into the soft rock. Ten or 12 feet off the ground, I pull myself over the lip of a ledge to peer into a narrow cut in the earth, a hidden geologic oddity that lures in a certain type of hiker for one reason: because it’s barely wide enough for humans to squeeze through. And I have to smile.

I’m grinning first of all because I’ve found just what we had hoped to see. Water sometimes pools in a couple of potholes near the mouth of this slot canyon, and the air temperature today feels a little too cool to soak ourselves in cold water. Today, though, the sandy-bottomed, giant stone teacups are dry. But secondly, touching me on a more personal level, this canyon’s entrance looks much as I remember it from the first time I hiked through here, 16 years ago this month.

In less than two hours, my impression of this place will be almost completely remade.

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A hiker atop Half Dome, high above Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park.

Hiking Half Dome: How to Do It Right and Get a Permit

By Michael Lanza No hike in the country really compares with Yosemite’s Half Dome. The long, very strenuous, challenging, and incredibly scenic day trip to one of the most iconic and sought-after summits in America begins with ascending the Mist Trail through the shower constantly raining down from 317-foot Vernal Fall and below thunderous, 594-foot Nevada Fall. Climbing the cable …

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A backpacker hiking the Piegan Pass Trail in Glacier National Park.

10 Expert Tips for Hiking With Trekking Poles

By Michael Lanza If you’ve opened this story, you probably already recognize this truth: For backpackers, dayhikers, climbers, mountain runners, and others, trekking poles noticeably reduce strain, fatigue, and impact on leg muscles and joints, feet, back—and really on your entire body. And that’s true no matter how much weight you’re carrying, whether a daypack, an ultralight backpack, or a …

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