Active Families


Can a new trailer bike help young kids learn the rules of the road? Katie Arnold and her family put it to the test.

Sending your kids to camp may not be the best way to keep them active in the warm months

It's natural to feel a little anxious before a trip into the backcountry with your kids, but follow these common sense guidelines and know everything will turn out fine

Keeping the family happy doesn't have to mean sacrificing steep terrain and old-school cool

To raise adventurous children, as Laura's father learned when she and Guppy set sail, means that someday, you have to let them go

Katie Arnold puts the Burley D'Lite and Chariot Chinook 2 to the test on a trip to the Spruce Hole Yurt in southern Colorado's San Juan Mountains

As part of her New Year's resolution to camp every month this year, Katie Arnold took her family to Spruce Hole, a 20-foot diameter canvas-walled yurt in the San Juan's Rio Grande National Forest

Elizabeth Eilers Sullivan catches up with 16-year-old Noah Pereira, the recent winner of a 150-mile dogsled race in Alaska that's seen as the precursor to the famous Iditarod

If you're not a hunter, you may think that a dog's instinct to locate, pursue, and kill doesn't pertain to you, but you would be wrong. Evaluating an animal's prey drive should be of paramount consideration in selecting a pet or working dog.

Ditch the stroller, don't give in to frustration, and take baby steps

Pick up a shelter dog and curious about what breed he or she is? In this, the second in a two-part series, Ali Carr Troxell learn about Odin and Rio for the first time.

Pick up a shelter dog and curious about what breed he or she is? In this, the first in a two-part series, Ali Carr Troxell orders a cheek-swab test kit from Canine Heritage.

Pilgrimage, a new book and traveling exhibition by one of the magazine world's most famous working photographers, was inspired by a close-to-home family vacation

It doesn't really matter. But whichever kind you choose—chokers, slip leads, e-collars—make sure you're using it correctly.

I wrote a version of this story in October 2011. Emily Rapp’s two-year-old son, Ronan, died this morning, so I post it now in honor of him and Emily and parents everywhere who are brave enough to share their stories of living, loving, and dying.

Every Thursday, Katie Arnold, in an effort to pack in some more alone time—no sisters and no fathers allowed—picks up her daughter from preschool early and they hit the slopes

The organization that opened the first youth skate park in Afghanistan was recently named one of the top 100 NGOs in the world by Global Journal and is now in expansion mode

Find a companion you can get along with, whether from a responsible breeder or your local shelter. You’re going to be spending the next 13 years together.

Or, why you just need to disconnect every once in a while

Problem: Stress, temper tantrums, teething, nighttime waking, worry, and overscheduled days. Solution: To spend some time sleeping—and living—outdoors, away from digital distractions, at least once a month.

Some high-energy, athletic dogs, unable to sweat, will work to the point of self-injury, so make sure you're able to recognize the warning signs of exhaustion

Browse hundreds of additional stories, gear reviews, interviews, photo galleries, and more on what it's like to lead an active family from the Raising Rippers archive on Outside Online

Holding a sausage for what must be an unbearable length of time

A 2009 review of Reaching the Animal Mind by Karen Pryor, the trainer who popularized the term and practice of clicker training over three decades

The second in a series about the most important behavior in pups

The first in a series about the most important behavior in pups

The Portuguese water dog selected as the Obama family pet nearly four years ago has turned out just fine, thank you very much. We spoke to Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz, his trainer, to find out more about her methods.

Always try positive reinforcement before resorting to any form of punishment—it produces fewer unwanted side effects—but certain dogs just won't learn to avoid temptation with tricks and treats alone

Used together, the bench, lure, and successive approximation make for a powerful tool to control young, unfocused, hyperactive dogs

The third in a three-part series that will teach you to produce effective recall behaviors in dogs of any age

The second in a three-part series that will teach you to produce effective recall behaviors in dogs of any age

The first in a three-part series that will teach you to produce effective recall behaviors in dogs of any age

Looking for a dog that makes a great family member at home but is also able to help out on the hunt or when fly fishing? There are five main categories of sporting dogs to consider.

Like anything, loose-leash walking is much easier to teach if it’s started at a young age. Train it in as a good habit early, rather than trying to fix a bad habit late.

Your new puppy is going to express all kinds of behaviors on his own. Learn to spot and control the good ones so you can return to them later.

Photo: Sam Moulton When my colleague and friend, Outside’s executive editor Sam Moulton, emailed this photo to me, I was pretty sure I was looking at the birth of a new adventure sport: sidecountry stroller camping! Like backpacking with kids—only less lugging, more…

Most dogs have a natural instinct to rip and pull, but teaching a controlled and gentle tug requires a bit of work

Thinking about getting a new puppy? The first thing you have to ask yourself is what characteristics you're looking for. And remember: There can be a lot of variation even within breeds.

There's no better way to break a dog's training than by introducing him to aggressive petters and the extreme temptations of children and good food

You've mastered all of the basic skills and are moving on to more advanced ones. But dogs aren't completely neutral: they'll pick up new behaviors with or without your guidance, and getting a dog to stop doing something can be trickier than anything you've already taught him.

Mexico City has a very real stray dog problem. Eric Nusbaum investigates all the ways—from the humane to the horrific—it's being addressed.

Some tasks and skills are harder to train than you might think. Others are easier. Here's a list of nine basics, in order from hardest to easiest.

Six simple steps for getting your pup to heel without constant corrections or reminders

Author Dylan Tomine shares his tips on introducing kids to finding and growing their own food

My three-year-old mutt sure loves cats. Mabel’s dominant breed is black-and-tan coonhound mixed in with some Lab, Weimaraner, and who knows what else. She’s never met one up close but she chases them with enthusiasm that I would really get a kick out of were it not for the fact that she often chases them into traffic. It’s happened maybe five times in the two-and-a-half years I’ve had her.

I have a 5 1/2-month-old border collie mix who, in the evening, wants to play nip—playful biting that’s no fun for me. This can happen at other times of the day, but in the evening I have a great deal of difficulty redirecting him. It usually comes along with a period of hyperactivity, almost like a kid who is tired but won’t voluntarily lie down to nap. I don’t know what would be the best way to address this with him or what I need to do earlier in the day to prevent this from happening. We tend to either walk or play catch in the morning and then the reverse in the afternoon.

My dog, Brutus, loves his toys to the point where he attacks other dogs that try to play with them. And it’s not just his toys. Say we’re at the dog park and there is a dog that is playing with a tennis ball: He will steal the tennis ball from the other dog and get very mean if that dog tries to take it back or even share it. At home, I have to take his toys away and put him in time out, which is him being sent to his crate.

I can’t get my dog to stop knocking over the trash. You got anything fuzzy and “positive” for that?

For life's little scrapes, there are Band-aids; for the hard knocks, there's SourcePoint. Photo: Erika Benson Earlier this week, I took my daughter to get cranial sacral therapy. Pippa is four and recently hit her head on the concrete floor so hard she threw up. My acupuncturist…

Step 1: Get rid of all chew toys. They encourage possessiveness.

Romero near his home in Big Bear Lake, California. Photo: Jennifer Briggs What do you do when you’re 15 years old and you’ve already climbed the highest mountain on every continent? If you’re Jordan Romero, you launch a nationwide campaign to scale the tallest summits in…

Man's best friend doesn't always come free. In fact, some are willing to pay in the thousands for certain types of dogs, even breeds that are fairly easy to obtain. Though costs will vary based on location and breeder, these 10 breeds often have the highest average price tag.

There’s a common misperception that kids younger than five are too little to learn to ride a bike. The other day at our local playground, a couple of parents stopped to ask how old my daughter is. She was tearing around the outer loop, standing up to pump her pedals,…

Dog, kids, river fun. Photo: Katie Arnold Before we had kids, my husband, Steve, and I swore that we’d never be the kind of parent that neglects their dog when a baby comes along. We’d heard stories of people giving away their pets because of the…

Rigging the raft for hands-free floating is key. Photo: Katie Arnold You know how sometimes you ask other parents, including your own, for advice or insight about kid-related quandaries, and so often people scratch their heads and mumble, “Uh, I can’t remember?” And you find this…

The quiver at Oh Be Joyful Campground. Photo: Katie Arnold There are few places in the Rockies more beautiful than Crested Butte. The Colorado mining town-turned-mountain-biking-nirvana sits at the dead-end of a wide, lush valley in the exact middle of the state. Ringed…

By Jen Charrette As we look out the window at our friend’s house in Golden, Colorado, Kalden’s eyes fix on Lookout Mountain. “I want to ride up that,” he says as he gets ready for his second road bike ride ever. Is he a wannabe cyclist who has watched too…

Yoga can help children in many of the same ways it helps adults: by encouraging a sense of calm, presence, and mindfulness

The Rio Chama. Photo: Ingrid Truemper/Flickr If done right, an adventure day trip can be just as satisfying as a bigger mission. If not, it can be way more stressful. To make the most of your summer, you’ll want to plan a…

In the flow, finally: Conejos River, Colorado. Photo: Katie Arnold Whenever you take young children on outdoor adventures, there will invariably come a moment when you’ll ask yourself, head in hands, between clenched teeth, possibly on the verge of tears or mental breakdown: How could this…

The clean before the mud. Photo: Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run Last year, more than a million people participated in obstacle-course races like Tough Mudder, Muddy Buddy, Spartan Race, and Warrior Dash.

Trailer bliss in the big empty. Photo: Pablo H Caridad/Shutterstock Earlier this month we drove our vintage Airstream to Marfa, Texas, for its maiden voyage. We knew zilch about driving or camping with a travel trailer before we left, so it…

  With two high-energy rippers in our house, I’ve been trying to figure out how to slow down a little. Last week I posted some suggestions about traveling locally and scheduling fewer activities. Meditating is the obvious way to go,…

  Source:   This past Sunday’s New York Times Magazine ran a photo gallery called “The Shape of Things,” featuring the work of Tierney Gearon. I hadn’t heard of her before, but…

Let go of the need to do it all and just do some of it

Stay-at-home-mom (sort of): Wendy at work on the steeps of CB [courtesy Wendy Fisher] Officially it’s spring, but here at Rippers, we’re determined to squeeze every last drop out of winter. In honor of fresh snow in the Northwest, epic powder onslaughts…

Adventure awaits @ Manuel Antonio; photo: Tulemar Costa Rica is Central America’s answer to New Zealand: small place, huge adrenaline rush. With surfing beaches, cloud forests, rainforests, eco lodges, and active volcanos crammed into a country the size of West Virginia, it’s no wonder…

About a year ago, I was at the Bay Area headquarters of a major outdoor industry brand, when the guy I was meeting with explained that he’d given up trying to seriously train for cycling. For years, he’d been an avid competitor and he loved the hard physical work of…

It’s late January. The days are getting longer, the sun is getting just a teensy bit stronger. Who doesn't have beach days or bluebird powder days on the brain? Which brings to mind one of parenthood’s more onerous tasks: applying sunscreen. It’s sticky, the kids are wriggly, and if…

Outdoor Retailer Winter Market kicks off today in Salt Lake City, and we'll be prowling the aisles—virtually—for the best new adventure gear, apparel, gadgets and goodies for active kiddos. (Cue the drooling.) Today’s pick: the first ever stainless steel baby bottle from Klean Kanteen.  Breast may be best, but when…

15-year old Jordan Romero on his quest to bag the 7 Summits [Jordan Romero] Now that the holiday madness is almost over, I finally have some time to reflect on the happenings of the past year. I’ve been lucky to have…

When you’re traveling in the wilderness, a well-stocked med kit can mean the difference between a minor snafu and a major nightmare. This is true whether you’re adventuring alone or with a bevy of little rippers.

Freestyle kayaker Dane Jackson grew up on the river, living out of his family’s RV and trying to keep up with his peripatetic, four-time world champion super-daddy Eric Jackson. Back in 2007, when I hung out with the Jacksons at their home in Rock Island, Tennessee, while reporting a …

By Katie Arnold Dane, Eric and Emily Jackson shoulder their kayaks as their dog, Roxy, follows close behind near their home in Rock Island, TN. (©Corey Rich/ & his prodigal spawn, Rock Island, TN    photo: Corey Rich/Aurora Images With four world championships…

When it comes to outdoor gear, few items are as seductive and covetous as….backcountry cribs. OK, maybe you’d rather be fantasizing about the newest, sleekest 29er mountain bike or a flyweight backpacking tent, but chances are if you’re reading this, you’ve got more pressing priorities on your plate. Such as:…

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