Skills

Glacier National Park, Montana.

Ask Me: What Camera Equipment Do You Carry in the Backcountry?

Mr. Lanza,

Been following you for a while, great site, great articles and amazing photography. I’ve been a lifelong outdoorsman and really enjoy hiking, backpacking, mountain biking and fly-fishing. I am also a professional photographer, working as a newspaper photographer. My question is: How do you juggle the obvious needs of equipment, time, and enjoyment of photography while doing things outdoors? I know you make your living this way, but I have been struggling with the choices of how much equipment to take, how much time to spend shooting images, and how much time the photography takes from my enjoyment of the outdoors.

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

Ask Me: How Should I Train to Get in Shape For Backpacking?

Hi Mike,

I came across your blog while I was researching information for a trip I’m planning for this summer, backpacking in Grand Teton National Park from Granite Canyon to Paintbrush Canyon: 53 miles over five days. Have you done this hike? I was looking for some advice on preparatory training and wondered if you had any thoughts. I walk every day and plan to do Old Rag and other hikes in the Shenandoah Mountains carrying some weight in my pack. Do you think this is enough?

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Cranking Out Big Days: How To Ramp Up Your Hikes and Trail Runs

By Michael Lanza

I don’t remember the first time I hiked more than 20 miles in a day. But living and hiking in New England at the time, where one mile of rocky, up-and-down trail feels as physically punishing as two miles in other parts of the country, I undoubtedly got to that distance through incrementally longer dayhikes. I only wish I could remember the sense of pleasure with myself that I must have felt that first time.

But I can list precisely the number of times I’ve hiked more than 30 miles in a day.

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Backcountry skiing, Boise Mountains, Idaho.

Ask Me: Advice on Avalanche Beacons and Safety

Good morning Mike,

Anne is telling me she needs an avalanche beacon for a weeklong backcountry ski trip to Canada. We don’t own any because we retired from sketchy backcountry about the time beacons became ubiquitous. Given that I know she’s only going to have time to use this equipment one week this year, is it better to rent one? Or is this something I should buy, knowing I’ve got an active bunch and that someone might want and use it? I have other questions:

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High Divide Trail in fog, Olympic National Park.

How I Decide What Touches My Skin: 5 Features to Look For In a Hiking Base Layer

By Michael Lanza

What’s your body type when you’re hiking, backpacking, or otherwise active outdoors? Do you run hot or cold—or both? Over many years of dayhiking, backpacking, climbing, trail running, cycling, skiing in its various forms, and other activities, I’ve discovered this about myself: I run very warm when I’m moving, but I cool off in a flash when I stop. To some degree, many people are like that. And those that aren’t—who just plain run consistently hot or cold—still have to tackle the same question I do: How do you pick the best base layer top for you?

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