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Ways to get outside with your non-outdoorsy friends

By: Will Hughes + Save to a List

It can be challenging to convince your friends to join you in your outdoor endeavors, especially when they aren’t so outdoorsy to begin with. However, if you do a bit of thinking, there are ways you can come up with activities that they will be able to enjoy. Here are a few things that I try to keep in mind:

1.) Start small

While you might have grand schemes of spending a week deep in the backcountry, this level of adventure is going to scare your friends away before you even tell them where you’re going. Try something on a smaller scale at first, just to get their feet wet. If they don’t have any experience camping, plan a one night trip. If they have never been in a kayak, take them out on an easy afternoon paddle. Once they have a taste for adventure, you can begin working up to other endeavors.

2.) Make sure it’s something they are excited about

Nobody wants to do something that they don’t enjoy at all. This might be the attitude that is keeping your friend from partaking in outdoor activities in the first place. If you can come up with an activity that somehow appeals to their interests, you just might get them hooked.

3.) Add a few creature comforts

Not everyone is a natural born outdoorsman who is willing to completely drop off the grid for days at a time. When introducing somebody to the outdoors, it can be good to keep some measure of comfort from their everyday lives. Things like cell phone service at the campsite or instant coffee packets for their daily Starbuck’s fix will go a long way in making the experience more enjoyable.

4.) Mix in some not-as-adventurous activities

Although you might want to fill every waking minute of the trip with some form of adventure, your buddy probably isn’t matching your enthusiasm. Try to find a good balance between outdoorsy things and some milder activities. If your pal is a craft beer connoisseur, see if there’s a local brewery you can visit when you get off the water. Check the towns around where you’ll be camping to see if there are any bakeries or antique shops you could stop in on the way home. Little activities like this could help keep people from feeling overloaded on the whole nature thing.

5.) Be flexible

While it’s good to have a well thought out adventure, don’t treat your plan like a binding contract. If your partner would prefer to rest and take in the view rather than keep hiking and make the next ridge before lunchtime, just go with it. Leaving room for flexibility makes your adventure feel less like an itinerary, and more like an organic experience.

Nature has so much to offer in terms of inspiration and enlightenment that it would be a shame for people to miss out on it. It is my hope that with a little encouragement, we can all experience the joys of being together outside.

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!

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