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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

10 Steps to Raising Kids Who Love the Outdoors

You want your kiddos to enjoy the outdoors – camping, hiking, biking, etc. – as much as you do. Northwest editor Michael Lanzas has 10 tips on how to accomplish that – and have fun along the way.

by: Michael Lanza

The Lanza Kids (Michael Lanza/The Big Outside)
The Lanza Kids (Michael Lanza/The Big Outside)

Northwest Editor Michael Lanza spent a year with his family, including kids Nate (then 9) and Alex (then 7), exploring the outdoors while writing his book, Before They’re Gone—A Family’s Year-Long Quest to Explore America’s Most Endangered National Parks (excerpted here). On his blog, The Big Outside, in addition to gear reviews and travel photo slideshows, Mike further chronicles his family adventures including his 10 tips for raising outdoor-loving kids:


To read about the Lanza family's latest adventure in the outdoors check out "Norway: Home of the Giants" from BACKPACKER's Adventure Travel issue.

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READERS COMMENTS

Star Star Star Star Star
AZ Hiker
Mar 05, 2013

Great tips, ideas, and fantastic trips Michael! But don't forget to pack the safety net; a copy of "Felix the Sugar Glider Be Safe Hike Smart" (Amazon) and a compass! Before you go, be sure to calibrate your compass for the declination at the location where you will be hiking. Go to: http://magnetic-declination.com We often camp and day-hike with the little guy. Now at age 5, he is very good with a map and knowing where he is; on the trail or in the city because he pays attention to the position of the sun and to landmarks to know direction. Day-hikes can be the most dangerous because hikers usually carry minimal supplies never expecting to spend the night outdoors. Would you know how to get rescued if the unexpected happened on the trail? Could you find your way if you didn't know the trail? The ability to know your way and know where you are is something we all need in any survival situation not just while hiking. Learn to stay found by using a compass and paying attention to your surroundings. A compass doesn't need a signal or batteries and works in all types of weather but you need to know how to use it and "Felix the Sugar Glider Be Safe Hike Smart" (Amazon) makes learning how to use a compass easy. Felix! explains how to orient yourself using a compass, a compass and a map, a map and no compass, no compass and no map. Anyone wanting to feel more confident about orienting ourselves outdoors will enjoy learning from this book. To refresh our skills, we read thru this book with our kids before every hike - it's only about 34 pages and illustrated. Felix! teaches the reader how to know where you are, what to pack for a day-hike, how and when to take breaks, trail ethics, what to do if you get lost or scared, how to get rescued, and survival packing (for the car and for the trail). Look for it on Amazon, "Felix the Sugar Glider Be Safe Hike Smart."

Star Star Star Star Star
Guen
Mar 05, 2013

We started our kids out hiking by geocacheing. They would go for miles to find "treasure." As they got older, we changed the treasure for waterfalls, balds, or rocky climbs. Another incentive? We got them their own packable hammocks for less than $40 each one Christmas. Now we set the hammocks up when we hit our destination and eat lunch. They love it!

Star Star Star Star Star
Guen
Mar 05, 2013

We started our kids out hiking by geocacheing. They would go for miles to find "treasure." As they got older, we changed the treasure for waterfalls, balds, or rocky climbs. Another incentive? We got them their own packable hammocks for less than $40 each one Christmas. Now we set the hammocks up when we hit our destination and eat lunch. They love it!

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