There are outdoorsy people and then there are people who like to drink on outdoor patios. These are not one in the same. Most individuals who love outside adventures tend to gravitate towards like-minded folk, although, more often than not, there’s at least one person in the group that doesn’t share the same level of comfort with camping, hiking and skipping showers. That’s fine, not everyone has the same interests, but when it comes to significant others and loved ones, there’s something to be said about getting outside, getting a little dirty and experiencing what’s out there—together. Here are a few suggestions for a painless (well, nearly painless) outdoors introduction to a hesitant, could-be wilderness enthusiast.
Take Day Trips
While you may be one of those endurance types that have the Pacific Crest Trail or El Camino in your back pocket, when it comes to acclimating an outdoor newbie, it’s best to start slow. Day trips are a great way to experience something new, enjoy nature and then hit a good brewery or grab a slice on the way back home to your own bed. Research some hikes or natural attractions nearby, pack a lunch and take the scenic route. If your travel partner is starting off with a slightly more adventurous foundation, a one-night camping trip or cabin rental might be alright. However, for those who are tentative about the outdoor lifestyle, planning an excursion within a 2-3 hour driving range is a great way to safely test the waters.
Experienced outdoorsmen and women know the importance of traveling light and understand the art to economical packing. However, when novice adventure-seekers graduate to overnight or weekend-long trips, overpacking for the first few treks might not be a bad idea. Everyone has different comfort levels when it comes to temperature and climate changes. Being too hot, and especially too cold is a surefire way to ensure a miserable outdoor experience. Make sure your travel companions pack plenty of layering options and don’t forget to either supplement their gear or recommend the type of equipment they’ll need. Regardless of experience level, unpreparedness can make or break a trip. Also, confirm whether they have a sleeping bag with an appropriate temperature rating, good shoes and other weather-necessary accessories.
For those who don’t like being too far from the comforts of home, bring along the tech stuff. Outdoor Tech makes a rugged Turtle Shell speaker that syncs with your phone, and also has pretty great range, so if the night-time creature calls get too creepy, you’ve got tunes on hand (you may want to check out their portable charger, too). And for those who can’t deal with being dirty, RinseKit has designed a fantastic, portable pressurized shower. However, quality gear is pricey. If you’re really trying to encourage someone to get outside with you, there’s no better deterrent than a hefty price tag, so share the love as well as the goods.
Everyone has different physical limitations, and different activities require different types of fitness. Some people thrive on doing new or difficult things, while others require a longer warm-up period. Use discretion when it comes to physical activities. You’ll avoid injuries—and unnecessary trauma—if you’re able to properly gauge both ability and comfort level. For example, if hiking is your thing and there are multiple trails, start with the shorter or medium grade option—the same goes for rock climbing, biking or any other activity. Combining strenuous physical activity with sleeping outside, carrying heavy gear and acclimating to temperature can be hard on the body. If there was ever a time to bust out your inner mom, it’s now. Be kind, check in and go slow. Also, encourage hydration and bring first aid supplies.
This one is kinda like going on a first date with someone who may or may not be all that interested in your advances: in your attempts to trump the hesitation, you pull out all the stops. The same applies for wooing the would-be nature enthusiast: sometimes you gotta aim high. Most have only experienced the world’s natural wonders through photos, and as most of us know, photos rarely do anything much justice, especially destinations as perspective-changing as the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls or Yosemite’s Half Dome. If you really want to encourage a love of the outdoors, go big.
Throw Out The Guide Book
Sometimes, when all else fails, you gotta trash the guidelines and make your own blueprint. As long as you keep health and safety in mind, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to enticing a love of the outdoors. But hopefully, when all’s said and done, you’ll have recruited a trail mate or fellow outdoor adventure-seeker.