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Latest Posts

Gear Review: The 5 Best Headlamps of 2018

October 6, 2018  |  In Backpacking, Gear Reviews, Hiking   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments
Clockwise from top left: Petzl Actik Core, Princeton Tec Vizz, Black Diamond Spot, Petzl Bindi, and Black Diamond Storm headlamps.

Clockwise from top left: Petzl Actik Core, Princeton Tec Vizz, Black Diamond Spot, Petzl Bindi, and Black Diamond Storm headlamps.

By Michael Lanza

How do you choose which headlamp to buy for hiking, backpacking, climbing, trail running, and other outdoor activities? Price? Brightness? Design and range of lighting modes? Go with a brand you know and trust? I’ve tested dozens of headlamps over the years. Here are my freshly updated picks for the five best models of 2018. Continue reading →

Gear Review: Princeton Tec Vizz Headlamp

October 4, 2018  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment
Princeton Tec Vizz

Princeton Tec Vizz

Ultralight Headlamp
Princeton Tec Vizz
$50, 3.2 oz. (including three AAA batteries)
nrs.com

Long a favorite headlamp of mine for backpacking or climbs or dayhikes that somehow stretched into the wee hours, the Vizz received an update in 2018 that made it the brightest three-ounce headlamp I’ve reviewed (three ounces being the standard in ultralight headlamps these days). The new Vizz still stands out for versatility and ease of use: You don’t need a Ph.D. in electronics to operate it. I’ve used it on numerous trips from Sequoia National Park, Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness, and Idaho’s White Clouds Mountains to, most recently, Glacier National Park with the 2018 version of the Vizz, and still consider it one of the best. Here’s why.
Continue reading →

Gear Review: Petzl Bindi Ultralight Rechargeable Headlamp

October 3, 2018  |  In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment
Petzl Bindi ultralight headlamp

Petzl Bindi ultralight headlamp.

Ultralight Rechargeable Headlamp
Petzl Bindi
$60, 1.2 oz./35g
moosejaw.com

To get a backcountry headlamp that’s crazy ultralight, you have to ditch all superfluous parts, stripping it down to only what’s essential—the light and housing. With the rechargeable Bindi, Petzl created a super-ultralight headlamp by shrinking the housing and dropping two elements that comprise much of the weight of many three-ounce headlamps on the market today: the batteries and head strap (the latter replaced with an adjustable, stretch cord). The result is an uber minimalist light that weighs barely more than an ounce and fits in a closed fist, but proved very functional on predawn mornings and dark evenings in camp on a six-day backpacking trip in Glacier National Park in September. Continue reading →

How to Prevent Hypothermia While Hiking and Backpacking

October 2, 2018  |  In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment
A backpacker on the windy trail from Pitamakan Pass to Dawson Pass in Glacier National Park.

Todd Arndt staying warm in cold wind high in Glacier National Park.

By Michael Lanza

Rain and wind battered two friends and I as we hiked across exposed meadows high in the Olympic Mountains—our second straight day of rain. Dripping, knee-high vegetation ladled cups of water onto our pants and boots. My rain jacket kept my upper body dry, but my soft-shell pants eventually soaked through. That, and the wind, slowly made me steadily colder—more than I realized.

After a strenuous ascent of a steep mountainside, carrying a heavy pack with my jacket hood up—which should have made me quite warm—it occurred to me: I’m still cold.

I was hypothermic. Continue reading →

Video: A Yellowstone National Park ‘Bison Jam’

September 30, 2018  |  In National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , ,   |   2 Comments
Bison stopping traffic along the Loop Road in Yellowstone National Park.

Bison stopping traffic along the Loop Road in Yellowstone National Park.

By Michael Lanza

It’s the coolest, most awe-inspiring traffic jam you’ll ever get stuck in—if a little unnerving, too—and something of an iconic experience in the world’s first national park. On a visit to Yellowstone, after a couple of days of hiking, I was driving south between Mammoth and Norris when I got stuck in a line of vehicles stopped by a large herd of bison walking up the road. Yes, we were in a bison jam, and I captured it on this video (scroll down to watch it). Continue reading →

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