Go Inside to Have Fun Outside

Entering the outdoors is no doubt intimidating. Depending on your continent, there are insects capable of killing you and large animals capable of turning you into a mid-afternoon snack. Also, we hear that there are spiders out there, sometimes lots of them…

A broad consumer study conducted by the outdoor industry shed some light on the perception that most of us have on the outdoors. Most notably, it concluded that “people see the backyard as much as they see the alps as outdoors.” This broadens the definition of what the outdoors means to most of us, including a calm afternoon on a porch with a beer, or even a nice afternoon stroll around the block.

The outdoors ground us. One of our longtime favorite clients at Katadyn put it this way to us: “When my family starts to get grumpy or snappy at each other, we get up and head outside for a hike, bike or ski trip - whatever gets us outside of walls.” Shawn Hostetter, Katadyn

Now, picture a typical outdoor advertisement featuring a climber dangling from 10,000 ft up a cliff face or a skier gliding through fresh powder on not so much as a slope but a cliff. While spectacularly photogenic, these images don’t fit within this average outdoor experience, and as a result don’t speak to where most of us land in terms of our outdoor comfort.

Dave’s first impression of Outdoor Retailer captures it nicely: “The outdoor industry is a tight knit group of easygoing and welcoming people, who are generally physically fit because of their love for moving in the out-of-doors. Inspiring as a mountain top or deep canyon is, they can also be daunting for some. Everyone at OR has been there and back. They’re happy to help bridge the gap between your back door and that peak.” Dave Buchanan, Capsule

In any situation where intimidation is the barrier, both brands and humans need to work on breaking down the wall. For the outdoor industry, this means emphasizing what makes a brand personable and human over the technical feats of highly engineered outdoor products.

For the rest of us, remember that brands help us to dream bigger than our comfort zones and push us to feel like we are a part of the movement. Go buy a tent (preferably one from a brand with personality; Kelty) and pair it with a sleeping bag and pad from Nemo Equipment and a hammock (ideally from Grand Trunk), and start in grandma’s backyard. Keep it simple to start and let yourself and your family discover the outdoors.

About The Author

Aaron Keller

I am an author, strategist, researcher, cyclist, reader and consummate entrepreneur. When an interesting idea crosses my path, I find any way we can bring it to life. Earning an MBA from the Carlson School and numerous valuable credits at the school of hard knocks, I’ll sit at a boardroom conversation with anyone. Want to talk business strategy, consumer behavior and design? Oh, it’s on.


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