Outdoors

5 Ways to Try a New Outdoor Activity

Canoe on a lake

Is there a new outdoor activity that keeps calling out to you? Maybe you’ve always wanted to try camping or backpacking. Perhaps climbing or kayaking are on your list. Whatever the activity is, it doesn’t matter if you’ve never tried it before. Everyone starts at the beginning.

Rather than thinking “someday” you’ll start learning that new outdoor activity, try it this weekend. Here are 5 easy, stress-free ways to get started.

1.  Rent Equipment

A place to rent some boats and other equipment

Sometimes the reason we put off trying a new activity is the cost. Some activities require specialized gear you don’t have lying around at home. It’s okay to try something and not like it, but what if you’re then stuck with a bunch of gear for an activity you don’t like?

A great way to solve this problem is to rent gear. When you rent you won’t have to commit to that particular activity. You won’t have to buy the equipment, store it, or transport it. This allows you to focus on the activity at hand. You can also honestly evaluate if you like the new outdoor activity. If you make a significant investment in the activity, you may try to convince yourself you like it when you actually don’t.

You can rent the necessary gear and equipment for many different outdoor activities, including climbing, skiing, kayaking, snowboarding, paddleboarding, and much more.

2.  Take a Class

Immerse yourself in the new activity under the guidance of an expert. Some outdoor activities require specialized knowledge. Even if the activity is less specialized, a class can be very helpful if you never experienced it before.

Sometimes you need to save time and cut out the guesswork. If you live in the Great Plains and you’d like to try snowboarding, you’ll only be able to snowboard on vacation. If the activity is a new one to you, joining a class with a knowledgeable instructor can help you build some confidence in that activity faster. This can help you make the most of your activity since you only have a limited amount of time on vacation.

No matter what, a class will help anyone avoid the common beginner mistakes.

You can find classes at local outfitters, some national and state parks, popular vacation spots for the activity, and even local retailers.

3.  Go with Friends

Two friends hiking

Trying out a new outdoor activity with friends will definitely heighten the fun factor. It’s a major bonus if you go with friends who know what they’re doing.

Trying your new activity with experienced friends makes the learning process more fun, and relaxed. You can also usually borrow equipment. Your friends will be able to take care of the planning for you, too. Chances are, they know the best spots and best conditions for the chosen activity. They’ll also be equipped to transport any gear needed. You can offer to contribute to the outing by bringing snacks or buying lunch.

Trying something new to you with experienced friends will get you ahead of the curve, avoiding common newbie pitfalls.

4.  Find a Meet-Up

A group of young people enjoying the outdoors

If you’re new to a city, or your friends aren’t up for an outdoor adventure, try finding a Meet-Up. A Meet-Up affords you most of the same comforts of trying a new activity with friends even if your friends aren’t available.

Another great thing about Meet-Ups is you’ll start meeting others who like doing the same thing. Often the group will have regularly occurring events that you can join in on. These events are a smart way to gain experience.

You can find a Meet-Up for just about any activity on meetup.com.

5.  Just Go For It

You can just go for it. Sometimes the best way to learn is by doing. Most people don’t know exactly what they’re doing when they try something new, and that’s okay.

Hiking is a great example of an activity you can just jump into. With a little research online, or on an app like AllTrails, you can start with short trails and learn as you go. Many trails are in parks with visitor’s centers or information kiosks. Often, you can learn a lot by giving them a visit and talking to a ranger or picking up a guidebook.

Keep in mind, there are activities where it’s safer to go in numbers. So, even if you’re just going for it, be sure to go in a group if that’s advised for your chosen activity. Remember to always do your research so you can take all the necessary safety precautions.


You don’t have to put off trying a new outdoor activity just because you’ve never done it before. Any of these 5 stress-free ways to try a new outdoor activity will have you enjoying the outdoors by the time the weekend rolls around. What’s the next activity you want to try?

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