Getting your indoorsy friends and family interested in spending time outside with you this year may seem daunting, but it’s absolutely possible to get them as hooked on Mother Nature as you are. Combine these tips with the tips from How to Get Your Indoorsy Friends Outside This Spring, Part I and you’re sure to have new adventure partners lining up!
6. Take it slow.
As much as the phrase "go big or go home" might apply in some parts of life, it doesn't apply when it comes to getting your indoorsy friends outdoors. Even a long hike might be too much too soon. And if you push too hard, it’s likely they’ll have a rough time, which doesn’t bode well for future outings.
Start with a day hike, a short mountain bike ride, or just a few hours paddling around on a lake.
A small taste of adventure just might be enough to get them hooked!
If they want to spend a night outdoors, start at a campground with some amenities, including toilets and, gasp, showers. Being dirty, sleeping on the ground, and listening to noises in the woods might just be another night for you, but it’ll be a completely new experience for your newbie partner.
7. Pack some creature comforts.
In addition to helping your newbie partner pack their food, consider bringing things that will help boost morale, if it's needed. PB&J will only get you so far. If you're hiking, bring some favorite snacks that you might otherwise forgo.
I've found giant bars of chocolate and homemade cookies go a long way.
Bringing extra morning coffee or hot cocoa and other nightcap-related items (if they’re permitted) helps too. Finally, portable battery packs like the Power Practical Lithium 4400 Battery Pack and Brunton Pulse 1500 come in really handy just in case your newbie partner needs an extra charge for their phone or camera.
If you're camping, overpacking gear is also good option. Bringing extra layers and sleeping bags helps your friend figure out a system that works for them. Nothing guarantees a bad time like being too cold when trying to sleep outdoors.
8. Think about beginner mistakes you've made.
On one of my first real backpacking trips, I was halfway through folding my clothes in a neat pile before I realized it wasn’t all going to fit in my bag... Before we left, my more experienced partner introduced me to compression sacks. Mind = blown.
On another trip, I brought a pair of much-too-new boots and ended up with half dollar-sized blisters on my ankles. My more experienced partner whipped out a package of Moleskin and bandaged me up. Mind = blown, again.
Think about past blunders and how you can prevent them from happening to your friend: prep in advance, carry extra backups, and try to share a lesson before the newbie learns the hard way.
9. Strike a balance between teaching and babysitting.
I’ve been on a number of trips where less experienced friends needed a bit of guidance, but didn’t want to feel as though their lack of experience made them less capable. And that’s a difficult balance to strike.
You want to impart knowledge, help with preparation, and make sure your newbie partner has a good experience without making them feel like they’re holding the group back.
To help strike this balance, be as observant as possible and look for ways they can contribute to the group experience.
If your partner starts looking too frustrated or too tired for your liking, change the pace, check in with them and ask them if everything’s going okay, and if they’re still having fun. If they feel like they’re holding you back, which I felt often when I was starting out with more experienced partners, remind them there’s a learning curve, we were all beginners once, and that the ultimate goal is to have a good time!
10. Add in some non-outdoorsy activities.
When I moved to Philadelphia from Alaska eight years ago, one of the first things I did was to find a Meetup group to do outdoor activities with. Eventually, I started leading events as one of the group organizers.
One of my favorite types of events to organize was one that combined a day hike with a stop at one of our favorite local pie shops or a brewery afterward.
We found that combining an outdoorsy activity with a non-outdoorsy activity helped ensure everyone had a great time and something to look forward to after doing 5-10 miles on Pennsylvania’s rocky trails.
If you’re headed out for a day trip, or a car-camping overnighter, look for indoorsy activities to combine with the outdoor activities you’re planning. Local breweries, restaurants, even specialty destinations like farmers markets can be a great way to make the most of an adventure.
Veteran outdoorsfolk, what’s your advice when it comes to getting your indoorsy friends to try spending some time outside this spring and summer? We’d love to hear your tips, too!