How to Have More Fun and Be Safer Outdoors

By Michael Lanza

People occasionally ask me the same basic question about hiking, backpacking, or some other outdoor activity: How much do I need to know to do this? They ask that question, of course, because they want to keep themselves and their family or friends safe. And you can find the answers to questions like that—and probably many others that you have—in one place.

At The Big Outside, some of my most-read stories are the ones in which I offer my tips on skills like ultralight backpacking, avoiding blisters, getting a hard-to-get national park backcountry permit, and taking better outdoor photos. Readers also frequently find my “10 Rules of Adventure Travel” and “10 Tips For Keeping Kids Happy and Safe Outdoors.”

10 Tips For Raising Outdoors-Loving Kids.
10 Tips For Raising Outdoors-Loving Kids.

My “10 Tips For Raising Outdoors-Loving Kids” may be the most enduringly popular story at this blog, and my more-recent follow-up to that story, “10 Tips For Getting Your Teenager Outdoors With You,” has gained a similar following.

I’ve organized all of my stories about outdoor skills on my Skills page, where you can click to find not only answers to many of your questions, but maybe also learn which questions to ask. See also my Ask Me page, where you’ll find sub-pages, organized by subject, listing the many blog posts in which I answer questions directly from readers, including an Ask Me page of questions about various outdoor skills.


I can help you plan the best backpacking, hiking, or family adventure of your life. Find out more here.


I’ve learned a thing or two from 30+ years of getting out there and 20+ years as an outdoor writer; my background motivated the creation of this website and blog. These days, whenever I’m out backpacking (as on the 86-mile trip through northern Yosemite National Park where I took the lead photo at the top of this story) or taking an ultra-hike, or on a big adventure with my family, I’m always thinking about how to do it as safely as possible and how to make it as fun as I can.

I’d certainly appreciate your suggestions for new skills stories I could write for my blog—especially topics that would have broad interest to other readers. Please feel free to write to me at Or simply tell me what you think of my blog by commenting below or at my About page.


Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, the creator of The Big Outside, recognized as a top outdoors blog by USA Today and others. I invite you to get email updates about new stories and gear giveaways by entering your email address in the box in the left sidebar, at the bottom of this post, or on my About page, and follow my adventures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


This blog and website is my full-time job and I rely on the support of readers. If you like what you see here, please help me continue producing The Big Outside by making a donation using the Support button in the left sidebar or below. Thank you for your support.


The Big Outside is proud to partner with sponsors and Visit North Carolina, who support the stories you read at this blog. Find out more about them and how to sponsor my blog at my sponsors page at The Big Outside. Click on the ad below for the best prices on great gear.




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