11 Outdoors Hacks for City Dwellers

City Biker

So you moved to a major urban cen­ter like New York City and wor­ry that you will now only be able to expe­ri­ence nat­ur­al places through your dirt­bag friends’ Insta­gram feeds. As a city-dweller, access­ing the great out­doors isn’t impos­si­ble; you just need a few good hacks.

Here are eleven tips to help urban­ites get outside. 

Tip 1: The Hydra­tion Blad­der Space Saver
No place to hang out wet hydra­tion packs to dry? Throw them in the bot­tom of your freez­er to stop bac­te­ria from grow­ing and save clos­et space. 

Tip 2: Use pub­lic tran­sit to find the open road
Check out your city’s rules regard­ing bicy­cles on pub­lic tran­sit. In New York, you can buy a $5 bike pass (no expi­ra­tion) to trains that go from the cen­ter of Man­hat­tan to over 60 miles north of the city. That means more explor­ing and less traffic. 

Tip 3: Dec­o­rate your walls with your favorite maps
Car­tog­ra­phy is trendy these days, so store your maps on the wall. Your new art will serve as a dai­ly reminder you need to plan anoth­er trip, plus the dirt and rain dam­age will give your new dec­o­ra­tion a “vin­tage” look. 

Tip 4: Cre­ate your own bus route
Do some research on bus route options in your area. While it’s rel­a­tive­ly easy to get a bus dri­ver to drop you off at an unplanned stop when you’re already on the bus, it’s trick­i­er get­ting a pick­up that after­noon (or the next day after camp­ing out). Bring a smile (and maybe a six pack) on the way to the trail­head. Chances are he’ll be doing the route again the next day and if you ask nice­ly he’ll make an extra stop on his ride back to town tomor­row. Get there ear­ly, wave him down, and bam: you have your own camp­ing chauffeur. 

Tip 5: Get com­fort­able in your slip­pers
Are you real­ly sup­posed to car­pet your entire apart­ment? That sounds expen­sive. Grab your down slip­pers and your down­stairs neigh­bor will nev­er know you spent your mon­ey on a new rope instead. 

Tip 6:  Invest in a mul­ti-use hel­met
You have lim­it­ed space and a lot of gear. Next time you’re pur­chas­ing a hel­met look for one that will cov­er you for more than one of your sports. 

Tip 7:  Make your bike mul­ti-pur­pose
Speak­ing of mul­ti-use, invest in a bike that fits your city-self and out­doorsy alter ego. For­get the fix­ie. Use your moun­tain bike to slay local pot­holes dur­ing the week and sin­gle-track on the weekends. 

City StairsTip 8: Con­crete train­ing
What cities lack in rugged sum­mits they make up for with stairs. Final­ly, make work­ing in mid­town worth it and use your office secu­ri­ty key to access the build­ing on week­ends. Fol­low the emer­gency exit signs to the stairs, lace up your run­ning shoes and push your VO2 max. Plus, if it’s a new­fan­gled LEED build­ing you can hit the stairs before work and be show­ered and ready to go before the boss gets in. 

Tip 9: Get into the hos­pi­tal­i­ty game
You live in a city so you prob­a­bly pay a hefty amount of rent. Why not use some of that for your next trip? Sign up with Airbnb and have a fel­low adven­tur­er stay in your pad and help finance your white­wa­ter trip. 

Tip 10: Stuff your boat under your bed
Fold­able kayaks & canoes mean easy access to the water. Unpack, unfold, inflate, and pad­dle. You can even find a put-in acces­si­ble by pub­lic tran­sit and pad­dle back. 

Tip 11: The cor­po­rate out­ing
Non­cha­lant­ly float the idea of kayak­ing or climb­ing as a great team build­ing expe­ri­ence to HR. Next thing you know, your com­pa­ny will be pay­ing you to hang out the crag.



If you live in New York City and love the out­doors, be sure to check out Out­door­fest, May 30-June 8, 2014.