Outdoor activities to inspire your next journey

Looking to try something new this year? Let us inspire your next adventure and motivate you to try something new, with a few suggestions of outdoor activities to add to your to-do list.

There’s been a dramatic rise in the number of people heading into the great outdoors, whether that’s for exercise, new hobbies or to socialise with friends. We think this is great news, as we’ve always strongly believed in the huge mental and physical health benefits of time spent outside. Read on for a few suggestions to get an alternative perspective on the outdoors.

The outdoors in flight

Birdwatching is a great option if you’re looking for a quiet escape, and you don’t have to be an expert or have any equipment to enjoy the benefits. The RSPB’s Guide to Birdwatching is a good place to start, as it walks you through the experts’ tips and suggestions on how to enjoy this activity no matter your ability.

Whether you like the idea of going it alone, or are thinking of joining an organised birding tour, Bird Spot’s 10 tips for novice birdwatchers offer easy-to-follow guidance for a birdwatching beginner. And we all agree on the most important piece of advice – have fun!  

Capturing the world

We see so many beautiful sights when we explore, and you don’t need an expensive camera to capture them. Our Rohan photographer, David Swailes, highly recommends giving outdoor photography a go, and shared some tips and tricks for getting the best pictures with your phone when you’re out and about.

  • Before taking a photo on your phone, give the lens a quick wipe with your sleeve. Brushing your hand across it can smudge the lens easily and make your pictures appear hazy
  • Go into the camera settings (usually a cog icon), and see if your phone has the option to have a grid on the screen. Gridlines can really help with composition and framing an image
  • Take control of your exposure with the exposure slider. This is often found at the side of the screen, and looks like a vertical line which you can slide your finger up and down to make the image lighter/darker. In most modern phones, this slider is split into two versions – highlights and shadows
  • When taking landscape photos, phone cameras will naturally expose for bright areas in the sky, so sliding the shadows up can recover any lost detail in the foreground
  • Avoid zooming in if you can. Sometimes this can't be avoided, especially when photographing wildlife, but using zoom will dramatically reduce the picture quality
  • Find out if your phone has a shortcut for opening the camera app. You can usually swipe up from your home screen - being able to access the camera quickly means you're less likely to miss fleeting moments

Just like birdwatching, outdoor photography can involve long periods of staying still, so keeping warm is essential. A lightweight, insulated layer that you can pack away and pull out as soon as you start to cool down is a must, and we have plenty of options to choose from.

Be sure to check out our gloves too, as some of them, like the Synergy Gloves, use conductive technology that means you can use your phone while wearing them, so you never have to choose between warm hands and the perfect shot.

Photo Credit: Kate Davies

Take the plunge

A fun and refreshing group activity with proven health benefits, plenty of people have turned to open water swimming or dipping over the past few years. If you’re wanting to give it a go, it’s recommended to start at a supervised open-water swimming centre, so you can learn the basics in a safe environment. Outdoor Swimmer have a list of supervised venues in the UK, so you can find one local to you.

Healthscape are very familiar with the benefits of open water swimming. They’re a community who provide peer support, and enhance their attendees’ mental wellbeing, through activities such as cold water dips. They’re also a beneficiary of our Gift Your Gear initiative.

Warming up is a must as soon as you’re out of cold water, so we’ve sent Healthscape warm clothing and accessories through Gift Your Gear, to protect their swimmers and volunteers from the seaside chill. Plenty of layers, and accessories like cosy beanies, necktubes and gloves are ideal for raising your temperature once you’re out the water, and a hot drink within the first 10 minutes of being back on dry land is highly recommended, too.  

It’s also worth considering a durable bag to store your extra layers before an open water swim, and any wet clothing after you’ve climbed out the water. Our range of Men’s and Women’s backpacks offer sturdy protection for your kit, at the same time as being comfortable and supportive for you.

Pedal power

We know that a lot of our Rohan customers and colleagues alike are into cycling. Some of our Directors enjoy it so much they recently biked across part of the Lake District while taking part in Hike Bike Paddle, raising funds for our charity partner, the Youth Adventure Trust!

If you’re thinking of giving biking a go, our Marketing Director, Giles, has a few recommendations for pieces of Rohan kit that will keep you comfortable.

“The Stretch Bag Shorts were excellent – stretchy and very versatile through different activities and temperatures from the 5am start to the warmer afternoon.

The Tellus Fleece was also a great piece – midweight and fits a treat for walking and taking off the chill when you get to foggy higher ground. The midweight socks as ever work well from cold to warm and never feel too hot!”

Are you thinking of picking up a new, outdoor hobby? Are any of the activities we’ve mentioned ones that you already enjoy? Let us know over on our Facebook or Instagram pages, we love hearing from you!

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