While solo days for the soul are sometimes necessary, most of us can agree that the most unforgettable adventures are those spent surrounded by our hodgepodge of dirtbag friends. Feeding off each other’s energy to get up the mountain, singing Whitney Houston around the campfire, eating pocket snacks (that may or may not be covered with lint), skinny dipping in that ice cold glacial lake that you can’t not jump in, you name it – it’s all better with your A-team! When it comes down to it, it’s really not about the destination (or the journey). It’s all about who you take with you.
While some of the best friendships can be made and solidified in the outdoors, we all have those friends in the crew who get left behind on the adventure train. Some of them have no interest in getting their fingernails dirty or braving the elements and you know what, that’s ok. Yet, some you can tell feel left out of the fun and want to get out there but may just need a little extra help. They may be new to town and fresh to the sport or possibly a mountain town local who has just never quite embraced that kind of “type 2 fun”. These pals may be a bit intimidated by the activity, gear or just the outdoors in general but it could be just the right time to open their hearts to Mother Nature. I mean you can never have too many people around the campfire, so let’s get your indoorsy friends outside and who knows, maybe it will click! If not, at least you know you tried and you can catch them at the next cocktail party.
KEEP IT CASUAL
Your not-so-outdoorsy friends have most likely seen pictures of you hiking, biking or skiing the slopes all winter. This isn’t a venue to stroke your ego. Pick something that they are interested in, maybe bring some dogs for emotional support and don’t forget the snacks (and beers). Let’s keep it casual, fun and not that strenuous! Make sure you keep it slow, stay at their pace and avoid the cringe-worthy “F You Stop” at all costs. This is where the squad waits for the slowest rider or hiker to huff up the hill and as soon as they get there, they charge onward leaving them gassed and needing to catch up again. No bueno.
PITCH IT AS A PARTY
A group camping trip is always a fun way to introduce someone to the outdoors. Now if they’ve never been camping, they may be imagining something similar to a survival-based reality TV show sans the cash prize at the end. Let’s make sure they know that they won’t be naked and afraid, unless they want to be I guess.
While they may be sleeping in the wilderness, make it comfortable and pitch it as a social gathering. If your car camping trips are anything like mine, it’s all about the snacks, tunes, and good company. Get out there, park at a nice vista, make them some quality libations and get into some classic camp games. Who knows, maybe they will forget they are even outside in the first place.
MAKE SURE THEY ARE PREPARED
No matter what activity or adventure you go on, it’s important that you make sure your friends are prepared and know what they are getting into. If they are hesitant, you should insist that you do all the planning and pack all the goods. They most likely aren’t outfitted, so make sure you share your extra gear. I’m sure you have an extra Gregory backpack laying around that will look great on them! It’s important that they know what the gear is and how to use it. Even if you think it’s common knowledge, you may want to mention it just in case. For example, make sure that they know that bear spray isn’t a repellant that you spray on yourself like bug spray – just speaking from experience.
TRY SOMETHING NEW TO YOU
A good way to level the playing field may be to try a sport or activity that isn’t just new to them but new to you as well! Doing something that you also aren’t a pro at can add some comic relief and end up being somewhat comforting. Maybe try something casual like paddleboarding or roller skating. Take a couple spills and have a positive attitude. Get out of your comfort zone and radiate the vibe that staying upbeat is just a simple matter of perspective.
MAKE IT INSTAGRAM-WORTHY
While some people believe that Instagram is ruining the outdoors, it can undoubtedly prove to be a great motivator to those who aren’t as naturally-inclined to get outside. If your friend is into social media bring them to a spot where they are rewarded by a quality vista.
Even without posting it up there’s nothing better than ending a strenuous activity with a stunning view in sight and a refreshing beer in hand. While you’re at it – don’t forget to have them tag @gregorypacks!
When it all comes down to it, it’s all about the approach. So take it slow and tread lightly. It may be a struggle at first but they could just need a little more time in the saddle. If all else fails – just show up in camo with the car packed, hurry them into your vehicle and keep driving until you see nothing but trees. Nothing like a good ol fashion kidnapping to force someone into the Great Outdoors.
Written by Alison Lofgren in partnership with Gregory Mountain Products.