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Choosing the right outdoor sport for you

The number of outdoor sports you can choose from is growing every day. It can be hard to choose which one to start with. One of PackandTrail’s contributor’s, Susie Wing, has a few questions for you to help figure out which sport you should start with.


So you know you want to take up a new sport and you know that you want it to be outdoors. So far, so good. But what if, when you come to research it, you find yourself overwhelmed by choice? It might seem obvious, but when you start to consider what the ideal outdoor sport for you might be – it’s important to remember to begin at the beginning!

Land or sea?

Apart from the obvious differences between these two, there are things you may not have considered. Yes, you’ll probably get wet in the water-based activity (think canoeing, kayaking, sailing, windsurfing) but you will also be far more confined by seasons (no-one likes to canoe on a frozen river) and more at the mercy of the elements (sailing without wind is no fun). Things like running, cycling, hiking and climbing can take place in almost all weathers so they may be a better bet for guaranteed fitness.


Some outdoor activities require significant expenditure on equipment so consider carefully before you make your mind up. Take diving for instance; as well as a sturdy wetsuit and dive mask, you will also need a broad range of accessories from a regulator to fins to a drysuit if you really get into it. Whereas with running, it’s wise to invest in a decent pair of trainers, your nearest sports shop should be able to advise you based on your needs, but that’s about all you’ll need. Grab any old t-shirt and shorts from the drawers and you’re ready to go.

The best laid plans…..

How organised are you? Are you prepared to spend hours poring over the finer details of your activity? For example, if you were planning your first ski trip then you would have destination, accommodation, equipment, clothes, travel, footwear and much more to consider before you even got to the sport itself. Those among you who are more immediate may prefer not to get caught up in such detail and just head out hiking in the nearest countryside when the fancy takes you.

To team or not to team?

Are you a social butterfly or a quiet wallflower? It’s wise to consider this before you make your mind up as some outdoor sports are necessarily more sociable than others. In sailing it’s not uncommon to spend a number of days cooped up in a cabin with the same five faces. Can you take this? Or do you prefer to exercise alone?Whatever you choose, it’s certainly better than nothing at all. Your physical health is of paramount importance – and looking after it now will set you in good stead for the future. 

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