Tag Archives: backpacking skills

May 30, 2018 Backpacking in the rain, under a rainbow, in Wyoming's Wind River Range.

5 Tips for Staying Warm and Dry While Hiking

In Backpacking, Hiking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , ,   |   4 Comments

By Michael Lanza

There are only three guarantees in life: death, taxes, and getting rained on when dayhiking or backpacking. As we all know, wet clothing conducts heat away from your body, making you colder. And simply donning rain shells may make you so warm that you sweat a lot, thus getting wet from the inside rather than the outside. Staying as dry as possible while on the trail or in camp is key to staying warm in the backcountry when the weather turns wet—especially in temperatures below around 60° F and in wind, which swiftly chills your body. Follow these tips for a much more comfortable and pleasant backcountry adventure—even when the weather doesn’t cooperate. Continue reading →

May 13, 2018 A campsite by the Colorado River at Hance Rapids, Grand Canyon.

How to Choose the Best Ultralight Backpacking Tent for You

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By Michael Lanza

Switching from a standard backpacking tent to an ultralight tent can shave pounds from your total pack weight—a huge step toward a lighter pack. But when comparing models, the specs on them can look like a big pot of numeral soup, leaving you wondering: What differentiates them from one another? Which one is best? I’ve tested and reviewed scores of tents of all sizes. I love the best ultralight tents, but I’ve used some that had flaws or shortcomings not immediately obvious. In this article, I’ll tell you how to find the three-season, ultralight tent that’s best for you. Continue reading →

May 10, 2018

8 Pro Tips For Preventing Blisters When Hiking

In Backpacking, Hiking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , ,   |   23 Comments

By Michael Lanza

I deserve to be plagued by blisters. I field test upwards of a dozen models of hiking, backpacking, climbing, mountaineering, and trail-running shoes and boots every year. I’m constantly wearing new footwear right out of the box, often hiking 15 to 30 miles a day—usually without doing anything more than trying them on, almost never allowing for any break-in time. And I almost never get a blister. Best of all, the tricks I use to avoid them are simple enough for anyone to practice. Continue reading →

May 1, 2018 Northern Bailey Range, Olympic Mountains, Olympic National Park.

5 Tips For Spending Less on Hiking and Backpacking Gear

In Backpacking, Gear Reviews, Hiking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , ,   |   14 Comments

By Michael Lanza

My first tent cost about 75 bucks. It was heavy and bulky for backpacking. I called it the Wind Sock because it snapped loudly in the slightest breeze, and its poles bowed disturbingly in strong gusts. (I learned to choose protected campsites.) When it rained hard, I’d wake up to a puddle covering the floor.

But at a time when I could not afford good gear, it sheltered me for maybe 150 nights—including, in its final summer, three straight, wonderful months of hiking, backpacking, climbing, and sleeping outdoors. It ultimately cost me about 50 cents a night.
Continue reading →

April 30, 2018 A backpacker on the Royal Arch Loop, Grand Canyon National Park.

The Top 5 Tips For Better Ultralight Backpacking

In Backpacking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , ,   |   4 Comments

By Michael Lanza

I field a lot of questions from readers about gear and backpacking, and I find the conversation often boiling down to one issue: how much weight they have in their packs. The biggest lesson I’ve drawn from three decades of backpacking is that the predominant factor dictating my enjoyment of any hike is how much weight I’m carrying. If I could convince my readers who backpack to follow one piece of advice from me—no matter your age, how much you hike, or how fit or experienced you are—it would be this: Lighten up. You’ll make backpacking more fun.

Here are my five most important rules for accomplishing just that. Continue reading →

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Grand Canyon Hiker