All of us here at Outdoor Revival have one or two sports that we really live for. They are what get us outside, what gets us moving, and what motivates us to keep pushing ourselves and growing. For some of us, that’s a team we play with a couple of times a week. For others, that’s a personal practice like running or biking.
But what happens when you spend time on the road moving from place to place? Your basketball team can’t always go on vacation with you, even though that might be pretty cool. Depending on who’s on your basketball team, I suppose. If you live a traveling life though, you’re going to need a traveling sport or two. Something you can practice just about anywhere.
Even better, you can pick up a few of them and pack a couple of simple pieces of equipment in your car before you hit the road. Then you’ll have a way to get active outdoors just about anywhere. Best of all, once you own the gear, most of these sports are basically free. So today we’re going to go over some of the best sports you can take on the road. If you get really into them, they might even wind up taking you on the road.
Running or hiking
Let’s start simple, with something that just about everyone has done and can do. Running and hiking are by far the most portable and accessible of all sports. When you really get down to it, you don’t necessarily even need shoes. Although, they do help.When you’re traveling, running is one of the best ways to stay active every day. You can do it any time of day in any terrain. Explore cities you’ve just arrived in, mountains where you’re camping, or beaches you’re vacationing on. Not only is it great exercise, but it’s also an excellent way to see the sights and get the lay of the land.
Most people buy a nice pair of running shoes that fit their feet well, offer plenty of arch support, and lots of cushion in the sole. That helps to protect your knees ankles and hips over long distances. However, many people opt for lighter trail running shoes, minimalist slipper style shoes, or even toe shoes these days. The choice is yours. About a hundred dollars will usually get you a basic set. Or, just use whatever sneakers you’ve got and run for free anywhere in the world!
Here’s another sport we’ve almost all tried, but not many take much further than their hometown. Biking is one of the best ways to see the world while getting exercise. Just like running, you can do it anywhere in the world for free. Well, it’s free once you drop a couple of thousand dollars on a bike. At least, that’s how much a really nice bike costs. You could always second hand one for much cheaper if you’re not looking to hit any trails. Or just take your grandma’s, she’s not using it anymore.
The best thing about biking is that you can cover so many types of terrain with the same sport. Ride across the city and out into the mountains on the same bike if you have the right one. You can do fast, dangerous, downhill mountain biking, or sustained, endurance road biking. You can even travel the world by bicycle if you’re really resilient.
Many people see skate boarding as a punk rock sport of the past, or something you can only do if you’re under twenty and your pants rest halfway down your thighs. Now both of those things have an important place in the history of skate boarding. But the truth is that it’s one of the most versatile sports out there. You can use a skate board as a means of transport, or as a tricky artform through which you can progress and learn. However much risk you want to involve, you can do it in just about any city on the planet.
Take to the streets and just cruise if you like. You’ll get anywhere you’re going at least twice as fast as walking, and you’ll have twice as much fun. Or, if you want to get tricky, head to the local skate park. These days, just about every city out there has one. Some are really cool and modern. Some are really run down and shall we say… sketchy? Either way, you’re sure to get an inside look at the city and probably meet some locals. No guarantees on the quality of either.
A good skate board will cost you about a hundred bucks to set up. A cheap pair of skate shoes will be around sixty, and a helmet goes for around fifty. Don’t skip the helmet. Brain surgery costs a lot more than a helmet.
Snowboarding or skiing
Although snowboarding and skiing require a lot more gear than any of the other sports so far, they’re great sports to add to your repertoire. After all, if you’re into board sports, you’re going to need something to do in the winters.
Not only are snow sports incredibly fun, they can also take you all over the world. Japan is famous for having powder lighter than air. Europe has some of the highest most beautiful mountains in the world. California has terrain parks bigger than your hometown. Everywhere you go there’s a unique mountain experience to be found.
And although it’s easy to spend up to a thousand dollars on your snow setup, let alone the hundreds of dollars you’ll spend for a lift ticket and lunch, you don’t have to ride in resorts. If you have the proper training and equipment, the backcountry offers endless free fresh tracks. But don’t take it lightly. If you’re going to ride anywhere outside of the watchful eye of the ski patrol, you’ll need proper training and experience to stay safe.
We can’t cover board sports and leave out surfing. One of the most paradisiacal sports on the planet, surfing is also one of the freest sports. Not only are waves available all over the world without cost, but beaches often offer lots of other ways to cut living costs as well. From free camping to free seafood, it’s not hard to live on the beach forever.
Like all board sports, surfing isn’t exactly easy to get the hang of. But if you take a couple of lessons at any beach around the world, you’ll get the hang of it in a week or two. From there, you’ll just need to buy a board for one or two hundred dollars and a lot of sunscreens. Boards do break from time to time, depending on where and how you’re riding. But all things considered, a surfboard is one of the best ways to ride for free all over the world.
Not all paddle sports are very portable. Strapping your canoe to the top of your car, although entirely possible, isn’t exactly easy. However, kayaks and stand up paddle boards are pretty easy to take along on your next vacation and can provide an incredible way to exercise, relax, and explore the world. If you paddle board, you can take to just about a body of water for a bit of peaceful paddling. If you kayak, you can explore rivers, lakes, even the ocean in ways only a boat allows. What’s more, these days you can even travel long distances by kayak, or do kayak camping. Inflatable kayaks allow you to cross long landlocked distances on foot if need be. Or pack your ‘yak down into the back of your car with ease.
The price of the gear can really vary here. After all, a paddle board is a very different piece of equipment than a kayak. But expect to pay no less than two hundred dollars for a SUP and more for a kayak or other boat. The nice part though is that if properly cared for, they will last a lifetime and your kids will likely get plenty of use out of them for years to come.
Swimming or scuba
If water is your jam, or you spend a lot of time on the coast, swimming is the cheapest sport of all. No shoes, no clothes, no gear, just your body and the water. You can swim in the ocean, lakes, rivers, you name it. It’s not only relaxing and fun, but it’s also one of the best forms of exercise you can get. It strengthens muscles that no other sport can and is extremely good for your joints and spine.
In fact, runners or other athletes who run into joint problems often turn to swimming as their next form of exercise when they’re told they can’t keep at their sport of choice. It’s a common part of rehab from joint surgeries as well. No need to wait until you’re out of commission to start though. Plus, if you buy a scuba mask and a set of fins you can dive into some of the most incredible places imaginable. This is a great idea if you’re going to be traveling around the Caribbean, Mediterranean, or other coastlines.
Although the gear for climbing certainly isn’t cheap, the sport itself is entirely free. Once you’ve got what you need, you can spend days, weeks, or even months out in the mountains with basically no money. That’s actually how the pioneers of the sport lived, in the beginning, it was all about getting away from money and society.
Now, you don’t have to cut all ties if you want to rock climb, but it’s a great way to spend time in nature without spending a dime. What’s more, you can learn a lot about yourself and the world around you. Best of all, rock climbing achieves a natural form of fitness and mental control that no other sport can offer.
In order to go bouldering (climbing close to the ground) gear can be just shoes and a bag of chalk. That’s about a hundred dollars. If you’re looking to get into basic outdoor sports climbing, you could be spending up to five hundred dollars on a harness, quickdraws, shoes, and rope. However, the sky’s the limit when it comes to trad climbing. My gear rack is probably over two thousand dollars of equipment at this point. I know climbers who are approaching ten thousand. The gear is not cheap, but most of it lasts half a lifetime.
Fishing is next on my list of outdoor sports to learn and pack in the car. Some might argue that it’s not a sport, but I’ll let them argue that on their own. If you’re on the road, taking your rod to the river is one of the best ways to spend a day in peace practicing your thing.
It’s not just rivers that offer great fishing, either. You can fish the oceans, lakes, and basically any other body of water you come across. Around the world, you’ll learn about different fish and aquatic creatures as well as cultures and landscapes. Aside from running and swimming, fishing is the oldest sport on this list and has cultural roots all around the world. If you travel with a pole and a bit of curiosity, you’re sure to learn something new everywhere you fish.
Depending on what type of fishing you get into, you can spend nearly nothing or several hundred dollars on your setup. Like all sports, fishing isn’t about the price of your pole, it’s about how you use it. Or hey, if you want, you can get into net fishing, spear fishing, or even bow fishing. That’s enough to keep you busy for at least a couple of lifetimes. Fortunately, you’ll be eating delicious seafood to keep you going.
If you think roller skating isn’t a sport, you’ve clearly never been to a roller derby bout. Skating can get pretty hardcore, and it’s great physical exercise. But the best thing about it is that it can just as easily be a relaxing way to cruise the town as a high-intensity team sport. Plus, there’s almost no other sport on the planet that’s as hard of a workout for your thighs as skating is. Or if you like, you could go for a set of blades. Whatever you fancy. Either way, it makes great cross training for skiing during the summer.
A good pair of skates can be anywhere from eighty to two hundred bucks. A helmet, which you definitely want will be forty or maybe a bit more. And if you’re just starting out, it would be wise to get a set of knee and elbow pads. All told, you’re looking at somewhere between two and three hundred dollars for a basic setup that will last you years and years. Skating is a great way to cruise the strip in your hometown, or explore a new city.
Slacklining is one of the newest sports on our list today, but it’s also one of the most versatile. It’s a great sport to spend an afternoon on your own practicing balance and hanging out in the park. Or you can set one up with your friends and take turns trying tricks and take steps.
Slacklining has a pretty steep learning curve at first, but once you get the hang of it, the possibilities for progression are virtually endless. You can string up your line to any tension in virtually any location where it’s long enough to reach. Put it over water, sand, grass, rocks, whatever. Pick your preferred level of risk. Or if you’re really into it, get a little more gear and start rigging high lines you can suspend hundreds of feet in the air. That’s a feeling you won’t get with many other sports. Definitely not for the faint of heart.
A simple slackline kit can cost as little as forty bucks. A setup for rigging one hundred meter long lines will be closer to two or three hundred dollars. If you start setting up highlines, you’ll be looking at five hundred or more. Once you’ve purchased one though, if you care for it well, you could be in business for years to come. And rigging your line is 100% free.
Stay safe and have fun
Whatever new sports you decide to pick up this season, be sure to take it slow, and learn carefully. Don’t go charging at a new sport without carefully considering the risks. Even a seemingly tame sport like running can ruin your body if you aren’t careful. Each new type of exercise takes its own unique toll on your body. It’s usually best to ease into a new sport and cross train so that your body is ready for what you’re planning to put it through.
Safety is even more important if you’re getting into a more extreme sport like skateboarding, snowboarding, or slacklining, to name a few. Some of the sports on this list involve serious risk of injury or death, so don’t go charging in like a maniac. Take your time, learn safely and carefully and you’ll have a more full, and fun season.
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