Category Archives: Skills

My professional tips on hiking, backpacking, gear, and outdoors skills, and taking children on wilderness adventures.

May 25, 2017

7 Pro Tips For Avoiding Blisters When Hiking

In Backpacking, Hiking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , ,   |   15 Comments

By Michael Lanza

I deserve to be plagued by blisters. I field test upwards of a dozen models of hiking, backpacking, climbing, mountaineering, and trail-running shoes and boots every year. I’m constantly wearing new footwear right out of the box, often hiking 15 to 30 miles a day—usually without doing anything more than trying them on, almost never allowing for any break-in time. And I almost never get a blister. Here’s how I avoid them. Continue reading →

May 23, 2017 Backpacking to Burro Pass above Matterhorn Canyon, Yosemite National Park.

5 Things to Know Before Buying Backpacking Gear

In Backpacking, Gear Reviews, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Are you in the market for a new backpack, boots, tent, sleeping bag or other backpacking gear? How do you find something that’s just right for you? What should you be looking for? How much should you spend? These are questions I’ve heard from many friends and readers over the years as they’ve waded through the myriad choices out there. Here are my five top tips for buying gear that’s right for you—the insights I’ve learned over two decades of testing and reviewing gear and helping people find gear they love. Continue reading →

May 22, 2017 Hermit Trail, Grand Canyon.

10 Tips For Getting Outside More

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment

By Michael Lanza

Do you get outside as much as you’d like, both locally and on longer trips away from home? Who does? I do—almost. Sure, family and other responsibilities (like kids’ soccer games) prevent me from getting out as much as I’d like, but I do pretty well. Exhibit A: Most summers, I do not spend more than a handful of weekend days at home, and I sometimes spend more total summer days away from home than at home. I may be a little crazy, but fortunately, my family joins me for many of those trips (and when I’m away without them, they appear happy for the opportunity to relax at home with a break from me).

In this story, I share with you the tricks I’ve learned over the years, and that I keep following to satisfy my insatiable appetite for getting outdoors. Continue reading →

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May 18, 2017 In the tent, Grand Canyon

Pro Tips For Buying Sleeping Bags

In Backpacking, Gear Reviews, Paddling, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   4 Comments

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 your bag could save your life in an emergency. But with the myriad choices out there, how do you tell them apart, beyond temperature rating and price? I’ve slept in many, many bags as a gear tester for two decades (and counting) for Backpacker and this blog, in all seasons, in temperatures from very mild to -30° F. (Mild is more pleasant.) In this article, I’ll share what I’ve learned about picking out a sleeping bag that will be ideal for your body and your adventures. Continue reading →

May 16, 2017 Wildcat Mountain, White Mountains, N.H.

Ask Me: Protecting Your Family From Ticks While Hiking

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Hello Michael,

I just stumbled on your amazing blog and ordered your book—I can’t wait to read it! I am completely inspired by your blog. I have one question: I am from the Northeast originally and a cousin of mine had very serious, chronic Lyme disease, which has instilled a huge fear in me of that and other tick-borne diseases. How do you protect your children from these things? Do you spray them down with insect repellent? (I try to avoid chemicals as much as possible.) Thank you so much for your help and your wonderful blog!

Sincerely,
Sarah
Encinitas, CA Continue reading →

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Grand Canyon Hiker