Skills

Ouzel Lake in Wild Basin, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

The 5 Rules About Kids I Broke While Backpacking in Rocky Mountain National Park

By Michael Lanza

“I’m dying!” my son, Nate, bellowed to the entire forest in the Wild Basin of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. “This pack is too heavy!” We were just 30 minutes up the trail at the outset of a three-day backpacking trip. It was a trip that seemed like an unmitigated disaster for the first two days—then morphed into an adventure my kids clearly enjoyed and that helped expand their outdoor interests.

For me, those three days in Rocky serve as a reminder about the many ways you can do it wrong when taking kids outdoors, but how simple it is to make it right.

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A backpacker at Ooh-Ah Point on the South Kaibab Trail in the Grand Canyon.

10 Tips For Getting Outside More

By Michael Lanza

Do you get outside as much as you’d like, either locally or on longer trips away from home? Who does? For many of us, work, home, and other responsibilities erect roadblocks to getting out as much as we’d like—and the ongoing pandemic has only made travel much more difficult and anxiety-provoking while making time outdoors feel ever more urgent and necessary. This story shares 10 simple strategies to help you sate your appetite for getting outdoors, both on short outings near home and longer trips away from home.

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A backpacker hiking below a rainbow in Wyoming's Wind River Range.

10 Expert Tips for Staying Warm and Dry Hiking in Rain

By Michael Lanza There are only three guarantees in life: death, taxes, and at some point, getting rained on when dayhiking or backpacking. As we all know, wet clothing conducts heat away from your body, making you colder. Staying as dry as possible while on the trail or in camp is key to staying warm in the backcountry when the …

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A backpacker in the rain on the Dusky Track in New Zealand's Fiordland National Park.

7 Pro Tips For Keeping Your Backpacking Gear Dry

By Michael Lanza

From the rainforest of the North Cascades and Olympic National Park to New England, from the Tour du Mont Blanc to New Zealand (lead photo, above), I’ve carried a backpack through many fierce downpours and endless showers. I’ve tried virtually every strategy imaginable to keep my clothing and gear inside my pack dry—some which have failed spectacularly, and some which have worked flawlessly, no matter how wet I got. In this story, I share my seven top tricks for how I keep the rain from getting anywhere near my dry clothes, sleeping bag, and other contents of my pack.

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A young boy the morning after sleeping under the stars at Precipice Lake, Sequoia National Park.

10 Pro Tips For Staying Warm in a Sleeping Bag

By Michael Lanza

Head into the mountains in summer, or almost anywhere in fall or spring, and you can encounter nighttime and morning temperatures anywhere from the 40s Fahrenheit to well below freezing. That’s more than cold enough to pose a real risk of hypothermia or, at the least, result in a miserable night for you or a partner or child you’ve taken backpacking or camping—and would like to take more. Here’s the good news: The very simple techniques outlined in this article can turn a potentially unpleasant night into a comfortable one.

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