Skills

A young boy in a sleeping bag while backpacking in Sequoia National Park.

Pro Tips For Buying a Backpacking Sleeping Bag

By Michael Lanza

Finding a sleeping bag that’s right for you may be the most confusing gear-buying task. Getting the right one is critical to sleeping comfortably in the backcountry—and in an emergency, your bag could save your life. But with the myriad choices out there, how do you tell them apart, beyond temperature rating and price? This article will explain how to evaluate the key differences between bags to make your choice much more simple.

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A backpacker on the Dawson Pass Trail in Glacier National Park.

10 Tips For Getting a Hard-to-Get National Park Backcountry Permit

By Michael Lanza Backpackers trying to plan a trip in popular national parks like Yosemite, Grand Teton, Glacier, Zion, Grand Canyon, Mount Rainier, Rocky Mountain, Great Smoky Mountains, and others have one experience in common: A high percentage of them see their backcountry permit application rejected. Countless backpacking trips over three decades—during which I was the Northwest Editor of Backpacker …

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A backpacker on the Teton Crest Trail in Grand Teton National Park.

How to Get a Permit to Backpack the Teton Crest Trail

By Michael Lanza For backpackers, the Teton Crest Trail really delivers it all: beautiful lakes, creeks, and waterfalls, high passes with sweeping vistas, endless meadows of vibrant wildflowers, a good chance of seeing wildlife like elk and moose, some of the best campsites you will ever pitch a tent in, and mind-boggling scenery just about every step of the way. …

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A backcountry skier at Baldy Knoll in Wyoming's Tetons Range.

How to Dress in Layers for Winter in the Backcountry

By Michael Lanza If hiking, backpacking, and climbing from spring through fall teaches us the fundamentals of layering our clothing for comfort in variable weather, the backcountry in winter confers a graduate degree in layering. In mild temperatures, getting wet with perspiration or precipitation merely risks discomfort. In freezing temps, it can quickly lead to hypothermia and actually become life-threatening. …

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A backcountry skier in Oregon's Wallowa Mountains.

12 Pro Tips For Staying Warm Outdoors in Winter

By Michael Lanza Staying warm while downhill, Nordic, or backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, or hiking in winter is a constant challenge: We sweat, our clothes get damp, we have periods of reduced exertion like riding a ski lift or walking downhill, and then we get cold. But as humans have known for thousands of years, it’s a matter of smartly managing …

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