Outbound Collective logo

The Best Way to Prepare for Your Next Adventure

Three Important Lessons Learned over the Years

By: James Sisti + Save to a List

Many eager ears harken to the call of the great outdoors, compelling nature-lovers and thrill-seekers alike to bask in nature’s abundant beauty while taking on a few exciting challenges. With longer days and warmer weather approaching, many of us are planning our next big adventure. For those of us who are contemplating such endeavors, there are few important things that need to be considered.

Set Realistic Goals and Expectations

Shared expectations leads to more effective teamwork.

It’s certainly fun to scroll through an Instagram feed and marvel at climbers who are crushing routes or gawk at some nut in a wetsuit who’s surfing next to an iceberg. However, when choosing our own challenges, it’s best to choose the ones that realistically fall into our skill set, especially if we’re bringing along less experienced companions. Even a simple afternoon hike through a state park could be enough adventure for some folks.

When it comes to choosing your own adventure, no matter how easy or advanced, it’s best to adopt the old Boy Scout motto and “be prepared”. Planning correctly is not only a way to be safe, it greatly improves the experience for everyone involved and empowers us to learn and grow each time.

Train For Specific Objectives

Setting up an anchor is a key skill for all climbers... no matter how many squats you can do.

When pursuing an adventure that is more advanced, it is one-hundred percent necessary to research logistics, skill requirements, and a training regimen that will increase the margin of safety for ourselves and others. Depending on the objective, proper planning and prepping could take months or even years, but it is the only way to prepare for success.

The most important element of establishing an effective training regimen is anticipating which challenges and obstacles will be encountered on the next adventure. Although it may sound obvious, this is essential information that will identify which skills need to be learned and honed beforehand. Physical fitness is important, but it doesn’t prepare us for technical requirements such as tying effective anchor knots, navigating through white-out conditions, or pitching camp.

Research is the first step. For example, if the next adventure involves traversing a number of mountains during the spring months, where ice and snow are still prevalent, it would be imperative to understand how to operate with crampons, snowshoes, and ice tools. Reading up on different techniques or watching tutorials online can point you in the right direction, but until the skills are actually practiced and put to the test, they cannot be considered a part of your arsenal.

Hire a competent guide and take a few classes over the weeks or months preceding the traverse. These sessions can be combined with a standard fitness routine, transforming it into a specialized regimen that focuses on preparing you for the specific challenges that lie ahead. Not only does this train the muscle-groups that will be heavily depended upon, they hone the skills that are essential to making the upcoming adventure possible.

Condition The Mind

Keeping a cool head in adverse weather conditions

Training for the next adventure requires a certain penchant for punishment and a willingness to expand the mind. Just as we train and condition our bodies, our mental fortitude must be conditioned as well. Developing a rigorous routine that tests patience, discipline, and dedication will allow for a wider threshold of endurance and the ability to cope with discomfort for extended periods of time.

Mental discipline is not a substitute for technical skill by any means, but rather, it is the result of building a base of knowledge, experience, and confidence over time. Certain challenges are intimidating to even the most seasoned adventurers, and overcoming such hurdles acts like fuel for the spirit. Upon each success, the bar can be raised higher and more skills can be learned, honed, and eventually mastered.

With Research, Training, and Self-Awareness, You Can Determine the Best Way to Prepare for Your Next Adventure

While general experience is a valuable tool, it’s not always the best solution for specific situations. With research, training, and a little honest self-awareness, preparing for your next adventure will help you set realistic expectations and establish which goals should be met. After weighing these against the known obstacles and risks, you are better prepared to take on challenges that will be as difficult as they are rewarding.

If you found this article to be helpful, please share! And be sure to follow James Sisti on The Outbound Collective and Instagram.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Do you love the outdoors?

Yep, us too. That's why we send you the best local adventures, stories, and expert advice, right to your inbox.


Hiking in comfort: a review of Danner Mountain 600 Evo boots

Meghan White

A peek through God's window

Heather Arnold

Outdoor-Inspired Cocktails for Every Season

Noël Russell

A golden happy hour on the California coast

Hannah Sibley

Lake Tahoe's trifecta: 3 Days of adventure at Zephyr Cove

Ranz Navarro