How do I become an outdoorsy person?
September 8, 2016 10:18 AM   Subscribe

I would like to become an outdoorsy person. The kind that hikes, camps, kayaks, snowshoes, trap shoots, maybe backpacks. How do I do this?

Most of the people I meet who are outdoorsy grew up learning this kind of stuff from their parents, so I'm not sure how someone goes from being an indoorsy person to an outdoorsy person as an adult starting from scratch. Here's what I've tried and what I haven't tried (or what I think might not work, but feel free to correct me):

1. Talking to people about their outdoor adventures. This is kind of helpful, but usually people say things like "oh, we just shot some rounds out in the back 40" or "hmm, well, we drove down by the river and then parked a ways past the bend and jumped a fence and set out from there".

2. Just inviting myself along. "Oh, please let me know the next time you go snowshoeing, I'd love to go with you!" This hasn't worked once. I get it--I don't think I'd want to invite a rookie (and an acquaintance at that) to something that was (I'm guessing) supposed to be restorative or personal. None of my close friends or family is outdoorsy.

3. Doing it and seeing what happens. This works for some stuff, like hiking; I can easily get in my car, drive to a state park or other hiking destination, look at the trail map, and set out. But for other things, like kayaking or snowshoeing or trap shooting, I don't feel comfortable just winging it.

4. Looking for classes in my area. I haven't seen many of these; I live in a rural area where a lot of people seem to know how to do these things already, but I'm looking still regardless.

5. Reading books/websites/etc. This is usually how I approach other things in my life but I haven't really found anything super helpful yet; I would love recommendations.

Do you have any suggestions for me? Or a list of skills that I could develop as a way to feel more comfortable just jumping in and trying stuff on my own? I don't even know what I don't know--I'm guessing compass reading/orienteering is on the list, but what else?
posted by stellaluna to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (36 answers total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
State and national parks are a great way to walk some pretty clear trails. Try getting a state park pass and make a plan to visit the ones near you over successive weekends or whatnot. Bring a lunch, eat in the picnic area, read a book, walk some more.
posted by cabingirl at 10:22 AM on September 8, 2016

There are meetup groups for people who just want to get out there and enjoy nature.
posted by Coffeetyme at 10:22 AM on September 8, 2016 [6 favorites]

Volunteer with girl or boy scouts, or some other scouting type kid group. You wouldn't want to be a leader, but I'd imagine they could use some extra adult eyes on camping trips or hikes.

I've also seen volunteer groups for trail conservation. That might be a good in.

Do you have REI stores in your area? Or other outdoor/sporting goods stores? They may offer classes.
posted by Kriesa at 10:24 AM on September 8, 2016 [6 favorites]

2nding that asking around local outdoor/sporting goods stores is a good idea, or inquiring at a local rod & gun club about open houses/workshops/classes. People might be able to suggest specific groups/meetups to contact if you didn't mind sharing a general location. In the northeast US there's the Appalachian Mountain Club.

This question from a while back might be useful.
posted by usonian at 10:39 AM on September 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

(And maybe this one.)
posted by usonian at 10:41 AM on September 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah, just start doing it. I'm a big fan of national forests. National parks are often swarmed with tourists, state parks are sometimes glorified RV camps. Plus those places often have the least wildlife, because wildlife generally stays away from large groups of noisy people.

National forests and BLM land are they way to go if you want real adventure and to (legally) get off the beaten path on public land. This land is your land, all that, do (almost) whatever you want. Don't grow pot or start fires out of season, other than that it's pretty much fair game.

Go by yourself, chat up folks. Honestly "Hey I'm looking for hiking buddies" is a totally reasonable thing to say/hear out on the trails and at trailheads/parking lots.

Before you go kayaking, you can totally go rent a canoe by yourself. That will be easiest at a state park or private commercial lake, but it's completely something you can get comfortable with by trial and error, and that will make kayaking easier.

A lot of this depends on where in the world you are (I have been assuming USA), so if you want to update with general location we can probably give you more specific advice.
posted by SaltySalticid at 10:42 AM on September 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I am moderately outdoorsy. I grew up car camping with my parents (it was cheap! It's Canada!) but only really got into hiking, kayaking, and snowshoeing as an adult.

Most of these things are things that are more fun with people, so I would work on hanging out with your outdoorsy friends more, or making new friends that want to do that kind of thing. What about you inviting the outdoorsy friends/acquaintances along for a hike? That way you are not relying on someone else remembering to invite you along.

You don't really need any special knowledge to go hiking, or snowshoeing on maintained trails, or kayaking for an afternoon on a lake or in a protected region. Before my first kayak camping trip (we went with other people who were more experienced, but my partner and I had not kayak camped before) we booked a lesson on kayak safety and learned how to self/partner rescue, which was useful mostly for me to feel more confident and secure. Car camping is not super difficult to pick up, but requires a certain amount of equipment/stuff. Backpacking and kayak camping take more preparation and experience to be fun, in my opinion.

I also wouldn't put too much stock in "I don't think I'd want to invite a rookie (and an acquaintance at that) to something that was (I'm guessing) supposed to be restorative or personal." Camping is fun! Camping with people I enjoy spending time generally with is also fun and not an imposition.

I have gotten good information from books with titles like "hiking/kayaking in $region". They often have introductory info about how to do the thing, and will give ideas about more accessible/beginner-friendly places to go.
posted by quaking fajita at 10:45 AM on September 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

A lot of that equipment is expensive, so let's assume you will rent things first. The place that rents you outdoor equipment tends to also offer classes or perhaps one on one instruction. They also might organize group outings.

This a little bit sounds like you want a new social circle that is more active? I'd start with a hiking group and get to know those people. Meetup, Sierra Club, local gym, local sporting goods store, local non-profit (usually of the land conversation sort)--there's got to be something. I do enough of it via FB that FB will suggest other public outdoorsy things to me.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 10:47 AM on September 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

If you want to learn on your own, birdwatching or outdoor photography might be good starting points for you. Physically speaking, they're not much different than hiking or taking a walk, but they will both teach you about your natural environment and can give you a reason to get out there. Birdwatching can be (at least partially) learned from books and apps (check out the awesome Merlin app from Cornell, which has bird identification guides and recorded birdcalls). You can also hook up with your local chapter of the Audobon Society.

If you're interested in classes, check out your state university's Cooperative Extension programs. In many states, Cooperative Extensions offer classes, nature walks, and similar programs to get people outdoors -- and these are usually spread around the state, not just concentrated in a single city.

Or, look for businesses that rent (or sell) outdoor sports equipment in your area -- they'll often have knowledgable staff who can point you to local resources, and sometimes they sponsor classes or guided events. Eastern Mountain Sports and REI are good places to go, or you might be able to find a local outfit. Is there anyone in your area who rents out kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, snowshoes, or cross-country skis? I see a lot of beginners and tourists doing these activities; businesses that rent to them will probably be able to show you the ropes, too.

If you'd like to be outdoors in more social context, look for a local trail club or "Friends of ____ Trail" group. Just google "trail club" and your state, and you'll probably find something! These are groups of people who go out on group hikes and work together to maintain a specific trail or network of trails.
posted by ourobouros at 10:49 AM on September 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

Meetup groups & facebook groups in your area for connecting with people, and websites with forums such as WhiteBlaze (link is to the women's forum) or reddit for learning the basics. On preview, Friends of the ___ is a great idea too.
posted by headnsouth at 10:50 AM on September 8, 2016

Looking for classes in my area.

IMO this will not be a fruitful approach. Wilderness schools tend to be very expensive and suffer greatly from being overpackaged (i.e. more touristy, less authentic) as an experience.

I would suggest in the strongest terms that you look instead for an outdoors club or a ramblers club or a hiker's club in your area (using those as search terms + your local town/city name). You want to connect with a group that is long established and has regular beginner outings, even if it's only for a day or two. Look for a social group, or a club, not a for-profit tour outfit.
posted by bonehead at 10:51 AM on September 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Try your local chapter of the Sierra Club!
posted by stowaway at 10:54 AM on September 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

I also want to recommend Wilderness Inquiry. They are based in Minneapolis, so many of their adventures are close to that, but they do trips around the world. They aren't very expensive and the guides are great. I did a canoe trip with them a few years back and had an excellent time.

Or check out the Sierra Club's trip options. They also do local outings so you could check to see if there is something going on in your neighborhood.

In my home state of Washington there is a Trails Association that lists all sorts of hikes, runs trail maintenance work parties and other events. If there's an equivalent in your community, you might make friends and find others to do stuff with
posted by brookeb at 10:55 AM on September 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Depending on your area and your finances, you can hire a guide for private lessons for things like kayaking, climbing, fly fishing, etc. I'd start at the local shop that sells supplies for these things.
posted by AFABulous at 11:00 AM on September 8, 2016

I'm not sure where you are located but in my neck of the woods there's so many meet up groups dedicated to various outdoor activities. If your area is similar I'd start there. Also I've done the REI class thing before- it was a good primer (I went to one about specifically camping in the more extreme colder temps) so look for those too as learning opportunities. They are often free.

Once you make a couple of outdoorsy friends it gets easier. Good luck. Also if you are ever in the Portland area I could get a small group together to go hiking, kayaking, camping, birding, snowshoeing, skiing or snowboarding with you :-)

Hey that reminds me you could also try to set up a metafilter meetup for some outdoorsy activity in your location- I bet people would do that. I know people have done camping meet ups before on metafilter.
posted by FireFountain at 11:08 AM on September 8, 2016

Most of the people I meet who are outdoorsy grew up learning this kind of stuff from their parents

Hi there! I grew up learning none of this stuff from anyone. When I was a kid I read My Side of the Mountain and decided I wanted to be outdoorsy, but other than some local woods in my neighborhood I had no access to anything. Once I got a drivers license things were more accessible but I had nobody to go with unless I wanted to drag my stoner buddies along but all they wanted to do was drink beer in the woods. I managed to drag those stoners up a mountain or two, and sometimes went by myself, but I totally feel your pain.

Eventually I found a hiking club, the Appalachian Mountain Club. I don't know where you live but they have chapters all along the East coast. The West coast has the Sierra Club but I don't know if they do similar things. The AMC changed my life (literally, because it was in the Appalachian Mating Club that I met my wife), I did a bunch of hiking trips with them. On one of these trips I found a mentor who took me under his wing and I became a pretty competent outdoorsy person who would eventually go on to mentor (and teach) others.

If there is a hiking club or other outdoor club in your area, join it. That's step one.

It's true, has outdoor meetups. Look for some in your area. Be cautious there though, because there's no barrier for entry. Anyone can set up a meetup, no matter how little competence or experience they have. What you might find there though, is someone with similar interests and temperament to your own who will become a hiking partner. Then you can plan excursions with that person or persons.

The hikes I did outside of the hiking club, with people I met in the club, were by far my favorite hikes.

Addressing your points:

Talking to people about their outdoor adventures.

Yeah, we love to talk about what we do. Keep doing this. You can learn a lot, you can learn about places to go, and some day someone might just say "what are you doing this weekend?"

Just inviting myself along.

This will work with certain people. I love taking beginners out for their first time hiking or camping or kayaking. Sometimes people just want to do a trip with people they *know* they're gonna be compatible with, or they have their little clique that they always go with, or they go with family, or whatever. If you get a sense that someone is open to having you along, tell him or her that you're really interested in going sometime and you'd love to set something up. Be specific though, because an answer like "Yeah, sure, any time!" will probably not be followed up on.

Doing it and seeing what happens.


Go. Go. Go. Go for a walk or hike. Don't go anywhere too remote or dangerous, especially when you're a beginner. Go to the local town forest. Just get out there and enjoy yourself. Stay on a trail. Bring a map. (an actual paper map, not an app on your phone) Bring the ten essentials. Make sure someone knows where you're going and when you'll return. Don't rely on a cell phone for getting you out of trouble.

Are there other MeFites in your area? Set up a meetup! We had a great one once in the Blue Hills near Boston. You don't need to really know anything, just go somewhere accessible and easy and have fun.

But for other things, like kayaking or snowshoeing or trap shooting

Kayaking on calm water is something you can totally pick up and do yourself. It's very intuitive, it's safe (wear a PDF) and it's super peaceful. I actually prefer paddling alone.

Whitewater and sea kayaking are totally different monsters and I can offer you no advice on them other than to say don't do them without proper instruction.

Snowshoeing is also pretty intuitive and safe as long as you're not going too deep into the woods or on rough terrain. I don't know nothin' about no trapshooting.

Reading books/websites/etc

I learned how to backpack from a book.

Or a list of skills that I could develop as a way to feel more comfortable just jumping in and trying stuff on my own?

Sleep in a tent in your back yard. Learn to tie a bowline, a figure 8, a fisherman's knot, and a taughtline hitch. You won't need any other knots unless you do technical climbing.

Bring a camp stove and a meal on a day hike. Cook yourself a hot lunch or just boil water for tea. Bring a water filter and refill your water bottle in a stream.

If there are bears in your area learn how to hang a bear bag. Black bears are mostly harmless, pretty much just big raccoons, but keep your distance.

It never hurts to learn the plants, birds, trees, etc. It's certainly not necessary to enjoy the outdoors, but it can make it more fun.

Buy/rent/borrow/steal a kayak. Learn the basic strokes from a YouTube video and go paddle. You'll have it figured out in five minutes on the water.

By yourself you can hike, snowshoe, kayak, canoe.

Take a walk. Take pictures. Listen to the sound of nobody talking.

Map and compass is pretty useful. You won't need to know much more beyond the first couple chapters of an orienteering book, unless you do actual orienteering. Declination, triangulation, aligning the map to the compass, that's about all you need to know for basic on-trail hiking. Not counting bushwacking, I think in 30 years of hiking I've used a compass exactly twice to figure out where I was and get myself out of a jam. Any other time using a compass was more of a "say, I wonder what that peak over there is?" type situation. It's still a useful skill to have though, and sadly a dying one.

Go Geocaching.

Don't get in over your head until you're experienced enough to get out of it. Don't be in a rush to know everything.

Get out and do it. Have fun. Always have fun. Good luck!
posted by bondcliff at 11:09 AM on September 8, 2016 [27 favorites]

The Sierra Club where I used to live offered a "Wilderness Basics" course that included a day hike, car camp, map and compass backpack, desert backpack, and snow backpack trips plus two and a half months of lectures on all kinds of subjects, for $185.00 (does not include equipment costs or rental, or transportation to anything). I believe other chapters have

If your area has nothing similar, you could talk to people at a store, but a store will mostly be interested in selling you things. You'd probably want to generally follow the progression indicated by the trips for the Wilderness Basics course though - start with just day hiking on easy well-defined trails for trips that are only a couple hours and see if you like it. Move up later to longer trips, like 8-10 miles or so, while carrying all of the Sierra Club's 10 essentials (you'll probably want someone to go with you at this point). Then try car camping, where you can bring pretty much whatever you want, and go hiking out of your campsite. Maybe then move to overnight backpacks, and get advice on gear from people you're going with. Renting first to test things out and see what you like to use helps a lot.
posted by LionIndex at 11:13 AM on September 8, 2016

Maybe look for church hiking groups -- they tend to be very welcoming, and you don't have to be a member of the church to go (at least at most churches). Also, if you are a woman, Google something like "women's hiking +location" and you might find a nearby women's group. They are pretty common and are generally very welcoming to newbies. There are a few nationwide women's groups that organize travel and classes for women -- they can be expensive, but not as bad as outdoor schools or REI classes. MeMail me, and I can share some information about the ones I have experience with.
posted by OrangeDisk at 11:22 AM on September 8, 2016

Looking for classes in my area.

Often they can be poorly advertised, so it's worth looking for specific things you may not have even known were there. In VT/MA areas there are often "Women in the Outdoors" classes (forgive me if you are not female, was guessing based on username) which are specifically for people with no real outdoors experience, or not a lot. You pick from a set of classes and then you do like four different things in a day. Last time I went I picked archery, wildlife tracking, herbal somethingorother and survival skills. Of course you don't learn ALL about those things but you get to be in an environment with other people learning and it's a good sampler to see if you even like the things you're learning about. These are the people that do the program I took (not what you'd think maybe) and it sounds like it's all going to be Shooty McGunpants people but it totally was not. That said, some rod and gun clubs do have a lot of local events and they can be fun.

Otherwise for me I start with basic stuff like "Go outside" and then maybe find a buddy who is likewise not so super skilled and try to learn a thing with them. A lot of my snowshoeing experience was reading a book (this one) and then experimented walking around in woods and fields. Similarly geocaching got me in to places I wouldn't have seen. And I got an inflatable kayak so I could just put it in my car and take it around. And I look for local trails near me so every trail hike doesn't have to be a big pack-and-go ordeal. I still don't do some stuff, I don't really camp, I don't ski and I don't shoot but I think I'd know how to start if I wanted to and that's a good thing.
posted by jessamyn at 11:25 AM on September 8, 2016

I'd start with one outdoorsy thing you think your most interested in. Let's say you want to get into camping first. Start with an overnight in your yard, then go car camping for a weekend, then try a overnight backpacking trip, then a long weekend on the trail. It takes a while to pick up the necessary skills. Look for clubs you can join. Ask the dudes at the stores where they sell your gear where you can find a good club. After you've mastered one, got all the gear you need, etc... move on to something else.
posted by trbrts at 11:32 AM on September 8, 2016

Start where you are. Spend as much time as you can outdoors. Go for daily walks in natural settings. Learn about you local ecosystems. (See if your local Cooperative Extension office offers a Master Naturalist program. Here's a link to the one in Oregon.) Learn to identify edible, or poisonous, or invasive plants. If you belong to a gym use the rowing machine to prepare for eventual kayaking. Get strong so you're ready when opportunities come up.

Practice doing things in your backyard (if you have one) like starting campfires, splitting kindling, cooking over campfires, filtering watering, putting up a tent, putting up a hammock.

Go camping in a nearby state or national park for a weekend. Do it by yourself or invite a friend.

Find a place that rents kayaks. See if they give lessons. If they don't, ask them to recommend someone who does.

Take a day-long guided whitewater rafting trip.

If you can afford it take something like an Outward Bound course, they have them for adult women.

Get inspired by reading about women in the wilderness. Anne LaBastille comes to mind.

Tell us your general area and maybe people will have more specific suggestions.
posted by mareli at 12:23 PM on September 8, 2016

You may be setting the bar pretty high for what skills are needed to be "outdoorsy".

Hiking is literally walking in the woods, probably with a map, which I think you already get (#3 is right on) but honestly snowshoeing is, too, just with wider shoes. Kayaking is a bit more skillful, but on quiet water, its sort of like hiking, too, one step after another. If you want to go camping, drive to a campsite after purchasing a tent, tents come with instructions. For car camping, any cheap Coleman will do (in decent weather).

I did not grow up in an outdoorsy family, but I started enjoying outside stuff as I got older, and now I "know" what I need to know to be very adequate at hiking, camping, kayaking, etc. But, I don't know how to rock climb, or alpine ski, or trap shoot. Start with the basic stuff - you get to be outside, its great! and then when you find more skilled pursuits, you'll be in the context to learn it.
posted by RajahKing at 12:25 PM on September 8, 2016

Check with your state's version of the Department of Conversation, Missouri's has free or dirt cheap classes for everything you listed except snowshoeing.

Have fun.
posted by ridgerunner at 12:31 PM on September 8, 2016

Go to REI, look for the bulletin board near the bathrooms. There will typically be tons of options on there for you to consider.
posted by spilon at 12:47 PM on September 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

Call the nearest Adult Ed or Recreation Dept., ask them to do a course on local trails or kayaking or whatever. They are *always* looking for ideas and people to help get stuff started.
Go to the nearest sporting goods store that has rentals. If they rent kayaks or canoes, they'll now where there are groups, or when there's an open trip.
Take a gun/ water/ etc., safety course.
Go to your state parks, read bulletin boards to find out what groups or activities are available.
Check notice boards at your local indie coffee shop or bookstore or library.
Check meetup.
posted by theora55 at 1:06 PM on September 8, 2016

Most states have a program called Becoming Outdoors Women (BOW) which does exactly what you ask. Generally their goals are to increase state park use by women, who are underserved by the state parks because so many didn't grow up being taught outdoorsy skills, and to do it in a safe all-woman environment. (They also run a lot of programs for single mothers, so the next generation of kids can grow up into park users even if they don't have an outdoorsy dad, buy maybe just a single mom who'd like a cheap, nearby vacation option and just needs to learn to pitch a tent and build a campfire.)

Anyway, they are very popular, not too far away since they're in state, and not too expensive since they're tax-subsidized. In my state they're over three-day weekends, there are several each year, and they each enroll about 100 women. Cost is reasonable and scholarships for financial need are available. Check out your state's!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:02 PM on September 8, 2016 [5 favorites]

I bought $25 show shoes off a Facebook group on a whim! Took them out to a local park and shoed around. Learned some things -- definitely needed snow pants! -- but that was all there was to it.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 2:06 PM on September 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Snowshoeing is easy. You just strap those suckers on and find some snow. Kayaking is the same. Don't get a river/whitewater kayak with a rounded bottom, because those are designed to roll. Otherwise, the hardest part is getting into the boat without ending up in the water!

For those two activities, just go for it. Nthing Meetup for the outdoors.
posted by cnc at 2:27 PM on September 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I converted from a sluggishly sedentary person to someone who loves the outdoors and is moderately active in the last three years. It took quite a bit conscious effort on my own and some help from people more into these hobbies.

In the beginning I went on a few backpacking trips with friends. Then I took some trips through REI. Meetup groups are also good for day hikes with a group. All these activities increased my confidence level in managing things in the wild. Eventually, I did more hiking by myself and plan to do some solo backpacking too.
posted by Pantalaimon at 3:42 PM on September 8, 2016

I don't even know what I don't know

Turn to the Girl Scouts! Especially if you're a woman! This probably isn't true for all councils, but mine allows adults to come to trainings for their own benefit. They range from Hiking 101 to, I don't even know, llama trekking?

Here are questions, not answers, in a format to give you some structure: the Girl Scouts Outdoor Progression.

Videos of outdoor skills -- again it's not the answers, but it could help you figure out what you'd like to work on first.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:00 PM on September 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

P.S. If you happen to be in Western Washington I can swamp you with resources for this stuff.
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:01 PM on September 8, 2016

The Boy Scouts have a great training course for this called Introduction to Outdoor Leadership Skills (or IOLS). This training course is meant for leaders to learn all the skills necessary to get a Scout to First Class rank. It's great for adults who have absolutely no experience in the outdoors as it provides a crash course into camping and other basic skills. So this course teaches basic camping skills such as choosing a campground, camp cooking, basic knots, firebuilding, Leave No Trace, map/compass, etc. It normally is one or two weekends depending on the instructors.

Call up your local Boy Scout council and tell them you're interested in IOLS but aren't currently an adult leader. They would probably be willing to let you take the course. You might have to take their Youth Protection Training first, but that's about a 15 minute free online course.

IOLS is pretty common. Once you complete that, you could start looking around for a Powderhorn course. This course is more advanced and meant to be for leading more high adventure style courses. This might be harder to get into if you're not a Scouter.

If you need help finding your local Council, send me a message and I'd be glad to put you in touch!
posted by Deflagro at 9:14 PM on September 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

I grew up non-outdoorsy urban. Once I went camping and didn't think to bring a sleeping bag or a blanket. Just some beer and some coldcut sandwiches. Then I worked for a large canadian outdoor co-op.
If you live close to an REI consider getting a part-time job. Big stores need an influx of staff at peak season so often 4-8 hours is enough. Then you'll have access to staff training, staff rentals, staff discount, staff auctions, staff outings, and also just all the other staff. The store I worked at had good hiring policies so the staff varied in age, background, and outdoor experience.
posted by peterpete at 10:26 PM on September 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

I came here to suggest the Sierra Club, and I'm thrilled to see so many people suggest them. My rudimentary sleuthing of your history makes me think you may live in WA or OR - if so, there may be a local group near you (I used to work for Sierra Club in WA and they had a very active outings program). All their outings are run by volunteers, and there has been a big push lately towards being more open and inclusive for people who aren't already big outdoors types. You could start with a short hike and progress. The national outings program also does trips that are essentially trainings for backcountry/wilderness camping, over night kayaking/hiking trips, etc.
posted by lunasol at 10:23 PM on September 9, 2016

Thank you all for your excellent suggestions!
posted by stellaluna at 4:24 PM on September 12, 2016

You may already know this, but -- it just occurred to me that, if you're walking around in woods other than state & national parks, you should probably maintain an awareness of hunting seasons (just google and you'll find the specifics for your state). For under $15, you can get a blaze orange hat & vest to wear during those times.
posted by ourobouros at 10:47 AM on September 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

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