Get Custom Backpacking Trip Planning from an Expert

By Michael Lanza

You’re trying to plan a backpacking trip to a classic national park like Yosemite, Grand Teton, Glacier, Zion, Grand Canyon, or some other park or wilderness area—but you’re not quite sure how to do it. Or the permit process and planning feel overwhelming. Or you want to ensure it’s the best trip possible. Or you just don’t have time to do all that planning and would rather have an expert do it for you.

Well, you have just landed on your solution.

For three decades, including 10 years that I spent as the Northwest Editor for Backpacker magazine and even longer running this blog, I have had the good fortune of hiking and backpacking all over America and the world. I’ve made a living identifying, planning, and writing about great trips.

Ready to get my custom trip planning? Click here now.

Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. Click here for my e-guides to classic backpacking trips. Click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

Right now, you can tap into my deep experience through my personalized custom trip planning—saving your valuable time and avoiding problems.

“Another wonderfully successful family wilderness trip in the books for 2022 and in our memory banks forever!! This is the 2nd time Michael has supported us with his custom trip planning package and again his expertise on the routes was superb! He’s gotten to know the diversity in our family well enough to set a course adventurous enough for the teenager and reasonable enough for the over 50s. Working with Michael is a like having a personal, virtual guide for our trips. He’s highly knowledgeable, responsive and has become a friend invaluable to our family’s wilderness ventures.”

—John (comment posted at my Custom Trip Planning page)

Michael Lanza of The Big Outside at Thousand Island Lake on the John Muir Trail.
Me at Thousand Island Lake on the John Muir Trail.

Expert Custom Trip Planning

Through my custom trip planning, you receive an in-depth trip plan from me—shaped by our back-and-forth communication to create the best trip for you—that covers all necessary planning, gear tips, permits, a daily hiking itinerary with recommended campsites and more.

I will tell you how to execute your trip on the ground in the safest and most enjoyable way, answering all of your questions—and probably questions you didn’t think to ask.

Get the same positive experience that scores of other backpackers have enjoyed. See my Custom Trip Planning page for details and comments from people like you whom I’ve helped plan a very successful adventure.

Just back from an amazing five-day trip in the Sawtooth Mountains. Michael really took the time to understand my priorities, goals, and comfort level and crafted a route that was clearly tailored uniquely to me. Most important, Michael’s itinerary was significantly different from—and better than—anything I would have come up with on my own. After this experience, I am unlikely to ever go on a backpacking trip without securing Michael’s planning help.

—Ezra (comment posted at my Custom Trip Planning page)

Michael Lanza of The Big Outside on the Wonderland Trail in Mount Rainier National Park.
Me on the Wonderland Trail in Mount Rainier National Park.

Get the Best Deal: A Premium Subscription

With a premium subscription, you get the best deal available at The Big Outside: a one-year subscription at more than 30% off the regular price, your choice of any e-guide for free, exclusive member gear discounts, PLUS one custom trip plan from me.

Or step up to my premier service level, a Talk to Michael subscription, which includes a comprehensive phone consultation and unlimited emails with me to brainstorm trip ideas, discuss any trip you have in mind, and talk gear or any questions you have, plus one full, written custom trip plan and other benefits.

Wondering whether I can help you? Email me at

“Have done several trips with Michael… and he NAILED it again. We did the Alta Via 2 in the Italian Dolomites. Best scenery in my 45 years of backpacking. Michael’s trip planning was critical as choosing the routes and rifugios can be prohibitively time-consuming. Lots to consider from the altitude/distance each day to the ‘exposure’ of the trails. Michael’s planning made that part simple and enabled us to not only do something we would otherwise not had the time to do, but to focus on having fun and the scenery vs. being worried about logistics! As I have said, he has worked with us on domestic US/Canada trips as well, taking a lot of the time and work out of planning. I highly recommend him and his amazing breadth of experience.”

—John (comment posted at my Custom Trip Planning page)


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