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Topic: Engaging the SO, Advice please?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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BGTwinDad Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 17 2012, 4:18 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hey, all!

Sorry if this is the wrong forum... it's not exactly about kids, but more about "family" ...

Basically I'm hoping you can provide some tips and advice on introducing my "city slicker" wife to the outdoor world in such a way that her chances of really enjoying it are maximized.

I'd like to get back into my old habits of hiking and backpacking, like I used to do.  The kids are both in Boy/Girl Scouts and having a ball, and I miss being "out there."

My wife is willing to go and try it, and certainly "all in" on at least me & the kids going.  But she has ZERO experience in the outdoors, and so it's a bit frightening to her.  Bugs, heat, cold, and so on.

We've been doing a lot of talking and communicating about it, but I'm just not sure what to do (or avoid) to help make her experiences enjoyable, as she dips her toes in the water, so to speak.

The plan as I have it at the moment, is to pick up some progressively longer day hikes, and some overnight and weekend car-camping in fair weather.  Tag along on the occasional Scout weekend... Just progressively bite off a bit more each time till she finds the limit of her comfort zone.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Advice?  Thanks!!
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ol-zeke Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 17 2012, 4:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Day hiking, car camping, all good starting points.  Keep close to some place with showers the first weekend car camping, and bring her chocolate.  By now, you should already know if that means dark or milk.  Make it the good stuff, not just the leftover Hershey's from the S'mores experiment.  :)

To make it more fun, allow her to do whatever she likes.  If she likes building the fire, so be it.  You do as much as possible to make sure she has a fun time.  It is true for all of us. We continue to experiment with activities we enjoy.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 17 2012, 5:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Let her help plan. I really got into backpacking when I was given the task of meal planning or gear shopping, or tackling the route we would hike. Get her a good atlas or a trail map. Buy her an outdoor/camping cookbook. Tell her you will still prep and cook, but let her choose what to make. Take her to an outdoor store and introduce her to some gear. Even a place like Bass Pro or Walmart will give her an idea of what she needs. Get her a good camera and teach her to take pictures. A book about birds/flowers would be great too.

Sleep on an air mattress in a decent sized tent the first few times. Take her on a hike with a waterfall or a nice view. Have a surprise for her hidden in your day pack, a piece of chocolate, good cheese, a cold soda. Tell her how much getting out into nature relaxes you and energizes you, allowing you to appreciate the time you share together. She will learn to love it too!


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 17 2012, 8:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(BGTwinDad @ Jul. 17 2012, 4:18 pm)
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But she has ZERO experience in the outdoors, and so it's a bit frightening to her.  Bugs, heat, cold, and so on.

There's your key.  Do more outdoors things in general.  Pick comfortable weather for picnics, walks, yard activities.  Get her used to outdoors.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 18 2012, 3:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Feel free to drop in on, or send her to, the Women's Forum for answers to questions she may have.  You'll have to dig in the archives, but there have been some good threads on everything from clothing to peeing in the woods (get her a copy of "How to **** In the Woods" if she has no experience with that).

Good luck with that!


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 19 2012, 12:19 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Make sure she sleeps comfortably: warm light sleeping bag, and comfy sleeping pad

Make sure she has stylin clothes: lightweight nylon duds.

Make sure she is not bedeviled by mosquitoes, head net, long sleeve shirts and pants, and bug spray.

bring a shower bag and wet wipes for cleanup. They make a shower bag that has a shower nozzle and is a sylnylon stuff sack.

Make sure she has good food, and take care of the dishes and cooking so she can see how the routine goes.

Make sure she has comfortable boots or shoes, and enough walking in them before a trip that she does not experience blisters.

Feel free to carry 100% of the tent, the stove, and the food, to keep her pack weight down.

Take precautions to keep yourself from stinking like a wet dog.  PERSONAL HYGEINE.

On a longer trip, wash clothes in a sylnylon dry bag stuff sac, with a bit of soap.

at the trailhead, stash a cold one in the stream for when you return.
the morning before the hike, have a nice breakfast in town if possible, and a good burger after the hike.

Don't get lost, or take the wrong trail, you bonehead.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 19 2012, 11:00 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks, all.  Good advice, as I had hoped/expected.

I'll have to point her at the Women's forum.  Don't know why that didn't occur to me.

I'll take all this to heart... now just gotta arrange some gear and schedule a hike!
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 19 2012, 2:16 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Just want to add my 2 cents.

I haven't met too many totally non-outdoors people who have been "converted" into diehard backpackers.  She may certainly get out with you and have a good time and be willing to go again... but don't assume that one fun trip means she wants to spend all of her weekends in a tent.  So, make sure you mix it up a little and be open to vacation ideas that she wants to do that you're not thrilled about (and, no, letting her choose the next backpacking/camping destination doesn't count!)


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 19 2012, 2:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

^^ this.

When my wife passed away, and I started dating again, I decided it was not necessary to find a woman who backpacked.  She just had to enjoy something about the outdoors.  Marcy likes to kayak, and will camp out on weekends kayaking.  She also likes sitting on the beach sipping adult beverages, which is not my idea of a good time.  I can do that at home.  :)  I do SCUBA dive, so she can sit on the beach while I dive, so there is that.

My main criteria was that she allow me to pursue my own interest in backpacking for several weeks a year.  She does that, sometimes begrudgingly, but most times she is happy for me to get away for a week or so.

It is Ok if your SO stays home while you go out with the kids.  It will give her a break, and will give you and your kids time to bond.  Some great memories are to be made this way.  


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 19 2012, 2:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Both of these last two posts are sage advice, and something the wife and I have already discussed at some length.

I should probably clarify a fine point here.  It's not so much that I'm trying to get her into something she's not interested in, but rather help her have a comfortable, enjoyable experience doing something she'd like to try, but has no experience with, having been raised by a pair of couch potatoes.

She's got a fairly adventuresome spirit, and enjoys a challenge, not afraid of hard work and sweat (ex- college cheerleader) but it's fear of the unknown makes her cautious.

Plus, she very highly values spending family time doing what the various family members want to do... to the extent that she'll sit in a car with me by the railroad tracks waiting for a train to photograph, in exchange for a day spent hitting all the consignment shops in town... followed by a day watching the kids play laser-tag.

We seem to have the "my turn / your turn" thing down fairly well... it's just the outdoor thing is new to her and -- to put a movie spin on it, I'd rather her initial experiences be "Casablanca" or "The Avengers" than "Battlefield Earth".
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