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February 5, 2019 Boise Mountains, Idaho.

Review: The Best Gloves For Winter 2019

In Gear Reviews   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   21 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Looking for winter gloves that keep your hands warm and dry and are made with quality to last for years? As a professional gear reviewer who gets cold hands easily and spends many days outside in winter, from skiing in all of its forms to bike commuting, trail running, and working outside, I’ve used many types of gloves. I’ve learned a lot over the years about how to select gloves and which models perform best for specific uses. This review covers the best gloves I’ve found for winter, in several styles and degrees of warmth, for outdoor recreation as well as doing any kind of work outside. I’m confident you’ll find a pair here that meet your needs. Continue reading →

February 4, 2019 A rim-to-rim hiker near Skeleton Point on the Grand Canyon's South Kaibab Trail.

Fit to be Tired: Hiking the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim in a Day

In Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Minutes after we start hiking down the Grand Canyon’s South Kaibab Trail, we descend steeply through a series of short, tight switchbacks where the trail appears to cling tenuously to the face of a cliff. The earth drops away abruptly beyond the trail’s edge—we’re gazing down nearly a vertical mile into the basement of The Big Ditch. Patches of early-morning sunlight waltz with cloud shadows across the infinite complexity of the tortured landscape sprawling before us, the high-contrast light magnifying the perception of endlessness. Not much farther, we pause at a clifftop overlook of possibly the most famous canyon on Earth.

The view is breathtaking. But less than a mile into our hike, it also lays bare the audacity, or maybe the folly, of our plans: to walk from South Rim to North Rim across this awesome chasm—21 miles and almost 11,000 cumulative vertical feet—today. From here, tonight’s destination looks very, very far away. Continue reading →

February 3, 2019 Above Marie Lake on the John Muir Trail.

Thru-Hiking the John Muir Trail: The Ultimate, 10-day, Ultralight Plan

In Backpacking, National Park Adventures, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   12 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Are you planning to thru-hike the John Muir Trail? “America’s Most Beautiful Trail” should be on every serious backpacker’s tick list. After hiking it in seven days, I became convinced that—while that was very hard—the traditional itinerary of spreading the roughly 221 miles out over three weeks or more has a serious flaw: With limited food-resupply options, you’ll carry a monster pack that may not only make you sore and uncomfortable, it could cause injuries that cut short your trip.

In this article, I lay out my ultralight strategy for thru-hiking the JMT in 10 to 11 days—and why you’d want to do it. Continue reading →

January 30, 2019 MSR Zoic 2 backpacking tent.

Gear Review: MSR Zoic 2 Backpacking Tent

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Backpacking Tent
MSR Zoic 2
$350, 4 lbs. 6 oz.
moosejaw.com

Everyone wants ultralight backpacking gear—but not everyone wants to live with the sacrifices inherent to ultralight gear. While few pieces of gear can produce as much reduction in the weight of your gear kit as switching from a standard to an ultralight tent, you’ll also notice the tradeoffs in a tent more than with almost any other ultralight gear. With MSR’s new Zoic 2, backpackers get the comfort of a tent with good space, along with superior ventilation and good stability, weather performance, and durability. Continue reading →

January 28, 2019 A backpacker at Burro Pass, above Matterhorn Canyon in Yosemite National Park.

The 5 Best Backpacking Trips in Yosemite

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

By Michael Lanza

After years of exploring all over Yosemite on numerous backpacking trips, I’ve learned two lessons about it: Few places possess Yosemite’s breadth and variety of scenery and inspire the same powerful sense of adventure. And its backcountry harbors such an abundance of soaring granite peaks, jagged skylines, rushing creeks, waterfalls, and shimmering alpine lakes—plus, over 700,000 acres of designated wilderness and 750 miles of trails—that you can take many, many trips in America’s third national park without running out of five-star scenery.

There’s only one Yosemite, and it unquestionably belongs on any list of the best national park backpacking trips. Continue reading →

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