Category Archives: Ask Me

I answer reader questions about hiking, backpacking, gear, or any topic or trip I write about at The Big Outside. Send me your questions to mlanza@thebigoutside.com. I receive many; it can take a few weeks to respond.

January 10, 2017 Hiking to Forca Rossa, Alta Via 2, Dolomite Mountains, Italy.

Ask Me: Should We Get Travel Insurance For Overseas Adventures?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, International Adventures, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

[Note: This blog post of an email exchange reveals the story of a reader who experienced a traveler’s nightmare in a foreign country. Her cautionary tale offers valuable advice for anyone who travels internationally.]

Hi Michael,

We are planning a hut-to-hut trip in the Dolomite Mountains this summer and I was wondering if you could give advice on travel insurance. When we went to Patagonia last year, I didn’t even think about it, but a doctor friend of mine recently highly recommended some sort of travel medical insurance for when we do hiking trips abroad. I know you do a lot of international hiking trips with your family, so it’d be great to hear your thoughts and experience! Continue reading →

January 5, 2017

Ask Me: How Old Were Your Kids When You Started Taking Big Trips?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, Skills   |   Tagged , , , , , , , ,   |   2 Comments

Hi Michael,

We have a newly turned six-year old, a three-and-a-half-year-old, and I’m expecting! How old were your kids when you started doing “big” trips with them? By big I mean hiking and camping for multiple nights, etc.

Sara
Huntsville, AL Continue reading →

December 20, 2016

Ask Me: How Do I Outfit a Growing Kid Affordably?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Family Adventures, Gear Reviews, Hiking, Paddling, Skiing   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   7 Comments

Hey buddy,

Been a longtime reader of your blog. I am a father of a six-year-old daughter. When I was younger, my parents encouraged us to be active outdoors, and it is something that has stuck with me for my entire life. I am a huge fan of the way you have been able to encourage your kids to join you, and have been making a lot of progress getting my daughter excited about outdoor activities. We do a lot of geocaching, rock climbing, backpacking, and camping. The problem I am running into is the cost needed to properly outfit and gear my daughter. Continue reading →

December 6, 2016 Campsite, Dome Glacier, Ptarmigan Traverse, Glacier Peak Wilderness, North Cascades.

Ask Me: How Can You Tell How Warm a Down Jacket Is?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Gear Reviews, Hiking, Paddling, Skiing   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,   |   Leave a comment

Michael,

With sleeping bags, we have temperature ratings. But with down/insulated/puffy jackets, what is best way to determine if a jacket will be warm or warmer or hot? Is it the amount of fill? Some but not all jackets indicate the amount of fill.

Thanks.

Bruce
Virginia

Continue reading →

November 1, 2016 South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Ask Me: How’s November For Hiking in the Grand Canyon?

In Ask Me, Backpacking, Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , ,   |   1 Comment

Hi Michael:

During the second week of November, a buddy and I are considering a rim to river to rim hike in the Grand Canyon. We are planning to descend South Kaibab Trail, walk along River Trail, and ascend via Bright Angel Trail. Plan would be to start early and complete the hike in the same day. We will carry survival gear. Neither of us has been to the GC. One of us is very experienced (and in excellent physical condition), and one of us has moderate experience (in very good physical condition).

We would appreciate your comments on hiking in November—weather, trail conditions, and anything else that may assist us. We both prefer not to hike in the wet, and neither of us wants anything to do with snow! Also, if November is the wrong month to do this, we would delay until next year. Continue reading →

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