7 Tips for Planning an Unforgettable Group Outdoor Adventure
Any outdoor adventure requires careful planning and preparation, but things can be a bit more complex when considering a group camping holiday or other outdoor activities with your extended family, friends, or workmates.
Planning an outdoor experience for a group of people means having to consider everyone’s interests, fitness and comfort levels, and general safety. Not everyone is equal when it comes to spending time in nature and their knowledge of survival skills. The degree of being an outdoorsy person can vary drastically from person to person.
Despite some of the challenges of planning outdoor adventures with a group of people, it can prove incredibly rewarding as it can help strengthen bonds between people and allow you to teach one another about many vital life skills while also being able to support each other in what has become a rather foreign environment in today’s technology-driven society with its many modern conveniences.
To better ensure your group trip in the great outdoors goes smoothly, we’ve put together a list of 7 great tips to make sure the experience is satisfying to everyone involved.
Choose Your Destination Carefully
When choosing a destination, it only makes sense that you make sure it offers something that interests everyone involved. Failure to consider everyone’s individual personalities and interests can lead to some people having an unenjoyable experience which can in turn bring down the mood of the entire group.
Whether you are planning a camping trip in Yosemite or multi-day tour along the Jordan Trail, you also need to make sure your chosen destination will be agreeable to everyone in terms of weather, remoteness, costs involved in getting there, altitude, and degree of remoteness or ruggedness.
Remember that one person’s idea of roughing-it in the wild can be much tamer than someone with a more adventurous and fearless personality like Bear Grylls. While it may not be bad to push some of your friends or family a bit out of their comfort zone with various outdoor activities, you also need to be realistic in terms of what everyone’s physical abilities are.
You don’t want to choose a destination that could pose a risk either physically or mentally to anyone in the group, so make sure that everyone is honest with the group about their limitations and comfort levels so you can choose a destination where everyone will feel safe and can enjoy themselves.
Some people don’t do well with high elevations while others may really struggle with the cold, and you really need to be aware of potential disabilities or medical conditions of everyone in the group which may rule out certain destinations.
Pack Wisely & Bring Proper Gear
Packing for an outdoor adventure is much different than a city getaway. If flying somewhere, you likely won’t be able to travel with just carry-on luggage unless you plan on renting or purchasing outdoor gear upon your arrival.
While it is generally always the goal to pack as lightly as possible, there is no denying that camping or engaging in various outdoor activities requires a great deal of additional items you wouldn’t normally take on a trip otherwise.
Some essential gear can be bulky like sleeping bags, tents, and camping stoves. While it is possible to fly with such gear, it is of course easier to do on road trips. You have to be more mindful of clothing choices to protect yourself from the elements and will likely require proper footwear like hiking boots. You may also want to pack a hat and insect repellent.
Camping these days doesn’t mean having to forego all comforts. Having a reliable energy source helps ensure that your modern devices are always charged and ready to go such as phones and laptops.
You can also easily light up your camp and cook food while conserving energy and the environment. The best way to do this is to consider solar power generators, which are portable and easy to use outdoors. You can easily choose one depending on your preferred energy needs.
There are also many more comforts you can bring including bow up mattresses, folding chairs, and solar camp showers. GPS devices or downloadable phone apps will be helpful for hiking,
It’s important to communicate with everyone in your group as to what will be needed, so you don’t forget anything and also don’t double up on things that you could easily share. This will potentially save on costs and maximizes what your group can carry on adventures like multi-day hikes.
Creating a checklist and sticking to it will help you pack everything you need and also reduces the chances of forgetting important things. Ensure that whatever you bring is durable and waterproof to stand up to the elements.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
Practicing basic wilderness safety and knowing what to do in an emergency can be the difference between enjoying a great time and experiencing a tragedy. This includes knowing what to do in case of various ailments that may occur within the group.
You want to be prepared for all kinds of medical emergencies such as animal bites, allergic reactions, and the need for CPR. Carry a cell phone and pack an extra power source (they make solar chargers for phones). You will also want to have well-stocked first aid kits for the group.
Always check the weather before you go as this will help in your packing and knowing of you may need to alter your plans or avoid certain unsafe areas.
Remember to pack items like multi-tools and repair kits which can come in handy for repairing outdoor recreation equipment.
Research All Possible Dangers
As thrilling as outdoor adventures can be, certain dangers are often associated with them and they can vary depending on where you are planning to go.
Researching dangers such as potential wildlife encounters ahead of time can help ensure that everyone stays safe during their travels. This may mean carrying bear spray or familiarizing yourself with venomous snakes and poisonous plants.
Familiarize yourself with signs of animal activity in various areas such as being able to identify animal tracks or scat and learn how to properly store food so as to not attract unwanted animals.
Make yourself aware of any trail closures within parks that may be due to unsafe trail conditions and never make camp in unsafe areas that may be prone to floods, landslides, or avalanches. Certain roads may become impassable during severe weather so keep on top of weather alerts and always have a backup plan in place.
Follow Local Regulations
Knowing local regulations is crucial to keep your adventure legal and avoid potential hefty fines. This means respecting any areas that are off-limits or obtaining proper permits if necessary.
Reduce potential bushfire risks by only using designated fire rings when lighting a campfire and obey all fire restrictions that are in place.
Follow all rules regarding fishing and hunting and only use trails for their designated purposes. This may mean that certain trails prohibit motor bikes, ATVs, or vehicles. If anyone in your group is planning to bring a dog, make sure they will be allowed as some national parks prohibit them.
It is also vital to ensure you properly dispose of all trash and other items you may have brought with you. Make use of recycle bins if they are offered in the area as well. Use environmentally-safe biodegradable products whenever possible such as toilet paper and cleaning products like soap for washing and showering.
By doing so, you will help keep the area clean and pristine for future adventurers and not impact the local wildlife.
Plan a Range of Activities
Outdoor adventures are an opportunity to experience new things. Plan for outdoor activities that your group will likely enjoy such as hiking, kayaking, biking, and horseback riding. It can be difficult to find activities everyone enjoys when you have a large group, so don’t be afraid to split up the group to participate in separate activities at times if it will appease the group more.
That being said, outdoor adventures are a great opportunity to step outside your comfort zone and you may want to challenge your friends or family to step outside their comfort zone as well.
Planning for a wide range of exciting outdoor activities for a healthy variety is key to having an unforgettable experience, but you should also plan for alternative activities if you are confined to your tents or cabins due to weather.
In addition to planning activities, it is often beneficial to also establish or assign roles to everyone in your group to create order. This may mean designating one person as the cook, one as the navigator, one as cleaner, one in charge of food and supplies, one person in charge of starting fires, and others in charge of setting up tents and campsites.
You can of course alternate roles during your adventure but it really helps when everyone knows what their duties are to maximize time and make sure everyone stays safe and all goes to plan.
Timing is Everything
And lastly, a successful group outdoor trip or adventure often comes down to proper timing. You want to select a time that is convenient for everyone in the group in terms of everyone being able to take time off work or spend time away from their home and family duties.
You also want to select the right time of year which will allow you to fully enjoy the outdoor activities you wish to do. Changing seasons often bring about very different outdoor recreation opportunities which can see you either doing things like kayaking or cross-country skiing.
You also want to mindful of peak travel periods where you may have to book campsites well in advance to beat out other tourists. Alternatively you may wish to avoid the peak crowds and plan your outdoor adventure during shoulder season or off-peak periods to enjoy greater peace and quiet.
Outdoor adventures can be an exciting and fulfilling experience when done safely. Always keep safety in mind when planning your next outdoor adventure, from researching potential dangers ahead of time to bringing the right gear and supplies with you while also following all local regulations. Additionally, coming up with various exciting activities will make for a memorable trip for everyone.