Step Into the Outdoors:

If you have never been exposed to the great outdoors, it can be a little intimidating at first.  From the gear to buy, to where on earth to go, there's a lot of confusing information out there all set to get you to buy something you probably don't need.  Whether you want to get into hiking, hunting, fishing, skydiving, or any other outdoor adventure, if you follow a few simple tips, you'll be ready to go in no time.

JUST GET STARTED

That's right, just start.  Start small of course, but start.  If you sit around waiting for the latest and greatest information, time will pass you by and you'll remain stuck in the same position you were before.  Regardless of the activity, unless it is something like hunting, it's ok to dip your toes in the water and get started.

Want to take up hiking? Find the nearest park, lace up your shoes, maybe throw on a lightly weighted back pack, and get those feet moving.  Want to go fishing? Head down to your local tackle shop (after a quick google search), by a license, a fishing pole, some hooks and some worms, then hit the local lake. Of course you won't face success immediately, depending on your definition of success, but it is a step in the right direction.  It's easy to get locked down by information, but if you take the first steps, you can start calling yourself an outdoor enthusiast.

SEEK A MENTOR

Believe it or not, people that engage in the outdoors, typically love to do so with other people at least some of the time.  If you don't have a friend that is an expert in what you are looking to get into, head down to your local sporting goods store. Typically you'll find people with an expanse of knowledge ready to spill the beans on how to get started.  Sometimes they will even offer for you to tag along on their next adventure if they've gotten to know you enough.

Use these opportunities to ask questions, seek advice, and possibly to score gently used gear on the cheap.  The most important thing here is to find someone with more knowledge than you to help you navigate the bumps in the road to whatever activity it is you seek.

If you find it intimidating to seek out a stranger at your local sporting good store or on the app MeetUP, then seek mentorship by other means.  Instagram and YouTube are incredible places to find mentors.  Some influencers are more than willing to interact with you one on one digitally.  Other's provide such great content on their site, there is no need for the individual interactions.  Either way, there's no excuse not to learn your craft in your spare time.

START SMALL

This is a bit redundant from the first tip, however, it is incredibly important to emphasize.  Start small and keep your expectations low.  Want to become a hiker? Don't go planning a trip on the Appalachian Trail if you haven't stepped foot in the woods yet.  You wouldn't go from being a couch potato to signing up for a marathon that is a month away, so keep that in mind when you are seeking adventure.  Start small like hitting your local trail and hiking a mile or two.  Forests can be an intimidating place, even with clearly marked paths and trail markers.  Get and understand your bearings, learn from others, build experience over time, and then when you are ready, step out onto your grand adventure.

The same goes for hunting and fishing as well.  Don't plan a big western hunting expedition or Alaskan salmon adventure before you've hunted your local state game lands or landed a few stocked trout in the local stream.  Every fish netted, squirrel shot, or deer harvested will again bring you one step wiser to your next grand adventure.

DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY

Facebook Marketplace is full of gear for sale from people who thought they were going to be the next big outdoor influencer on Instagram.  You don't need to spend a ton of money on the latest and greatest gear if you don't even know you're going to enjoy what it is you are doing in the first place.  Buy gear used or on sale from your local sporting goods store.  Buy things during the offseason to get the best price.  Hunting gear is cheapest just after Christmas as most seasons have ended by then.  Fishing gear (with the exception for ice fishing gear) is cheapest around the time of the Super Bowl.  Hiking gear is probably most expensive in the spring.  If you're looking for camera gear, its more than likely cheapest in the month leading up to Christmas.

Patience catches the worm and being willing to take on used gear will prepare you for when it's time to make the splurge on better equipment.  However if you put all your eggs in one basket and then find out that basket is full of holes and you don't want to continue whatever adventure it is you seek, you'll be left with nothing but an empty bank account for your next hobby.

I hope these few tips are helpful to get you started.  Be on the look out for more tips to get started in specific outdoor adventures.  What is one thing that helped you get started in your lust for the outdoors?  Drop a comment below! I look forward to hearing from you!

Comments

  1. Living across the local railroad tracks from a wooded area with an access to an abandoned coal mine and farms got me investigating what was there, how it got there and what could we do with it. Now it is investigating new bike trails, many of which contain remnants from the old industrial era including railroad tunnels, bridges, viaducts, coke ovens, remains of coal processing plants and where towns once were located, but no longer exist. Finding history, in our own backyard, keeps me out there.

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    Replies
    1. History is all around us isn't it? I'm sure there are a lot of neat artifacts and some pretty great hidden treasures along the way.

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