“During Great Outdoors Month, we celebrate the majesty of our planet and the freedom we have to witness its awe-inspiring grandeur.” -Donald J. Trump, Proclamation on the Great Outdoors Month
Summer is the time to get outside! There are so many fun activities for the whole family to participate in during the hot summer months. From simple backyard barbecues to week-long hiking trips, June through August is the most popular time of the year for outdoor activities, especially for camping, boating, fishing and light hiking.
According to the Outdoor Industry Association, 49% of Americans report that they participated in an outdoor activity in 2017. (This number includes jogging and trail running.) Though the number is high, there is still the other half who missed out on the chance to connect with nature and reap the many rewards being in green spaces has on our lives. Every year, through local government and our President’s proclamations, we celebrate Great Outdoors Month to encourage Americans to take advantage of the millions of acres of public land and get outside!
Established originally in 1998 as ReserveAmerica®, Aspira™ to help make outdoor spaces easier to access, Great Outdoors Month now encourages Americans to explore our country’s public lands while boosting our nation’s economy.
According to Greatoutdoorsmonth.org, the outdoor market brings in “$734 billion annually in gross output” and supports 4.6 million jobs.
June through July official organized events occur in our country’s parks and outdoor recreational areas to encourage stewardship, physical and mental health, family and friend bonding, conservation, as well as promoting an active outdoor lifestyle.
There are over 600 million acres available for public access for boating, fishing, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, camping, hiking, biking, archery/shooting sports/hunting, caving and other outdoor pursuits. For these activities, you’re gonna need some serious summer gear!
There are many scientifically proven mental and physical health benefits from spending time outside:
- Just 20 minutes spent outdoors gives you the same burst of energy as one cup of coffee, as well as improves your concentration and short-term memory.
- Plants release of Phytoncides increases our white blood cell count, in turn, strengthening our immune systems.
- A few days camping increases creativity.
- Being outside lowers stress, depression and anxiety.
- We get 90% of our Vitamin D from sunlight which helps us absorb calcium, as well as prevents osteoporosis and reduces inflammation.
Research from the University of Derby, along with the Wildlife Trusts, both in the U.K., found “that connection to nature may provide people with resilience to meet the challenges of everyday life, while also facilitating exercise, social contact and a sense of purpose.”
For those who live an active outdoor lifestyle, you already know how getting outside to camp, hike, fish, hunt or even just walk through the forest makes you feel amazing. For those who don’t have as many opportunities, Best in Bunch encourages you to #EscapeTheIndoors and #GetOutside at least once to take advantage of all that nature provides, even if it is in one of your city center’s green spaces.
Here are some of our favorite outdoor products that help make your time outside safer, easier and more enjoyable and comfortable.
There are plenty of types of fishing:
- Deep sea
- Catch and release
- Fly fishing
- Ice fishing
Part of Great Outdoors Month includes free fishing weekends. To fish in America, you need a license. Offered in one-day, short-term, annual or lifetime, you will need to obtain a fishing license in the state you want to fish in before catching any fish. The money from your fishing license goes towards paying for fish conservation, management, habitat protection and education.
What type of fishing you participate in dictates what type of equipment you need. For example, for fly fishing, you’ll need a longer fishing pole than freshwater fishing. Not all reels are the same, either. There are a dizzying array of lures, baits, jigs and other essential fishing gear on the market, all designed for different types of fish and conditions, as well. Takemefishing.org has a wealth of information to help you chose your fishing gear.
Because we want to pick the right tool for the job, we’ll let you research rod and reel combos but we will recommend a beginner’s fishing kit which includes lures—reusable, artificial bait that attracts fish—bobbers, weights, hooks, sinkers, swivels and pliers—everything you need besides a rod, reel and line, to catch a fish!
This 118-piece Tailored Tackle fishing kit includes the basics you need for freshwater fishing:
- Deep diving crankbait
- Daredevil spoon
- 2 rooster tail spinners
- 5 Senko worms
- 5 bass worms
- 6 grubs
- 25 fishing hooks
- 30 split shot weights
- 3 egg sinkers
- 3 worm weights
- 6 jigs
- 10 barrel swivels
- 5 red beads
- 5 wacky O-rings
- 1 slip bobber float
- 5 slip ties
The pliers have an integrated crimper and hook remover. The included lures are designed to catch bass, trout, walleye, catfish, pike and crappie. Everything is organized nicely in a tackle box.
Whether you tool around in a Jon boat, sail the seven seas, ski behind a speed boat, or leisurely cruise around on a pontoon boat, there is a lot of equipment you are required by law to have on your boat. There are a lot of fun accessories, too. Something we find necessary for any boat is a GPS/fish finder. We like the Lowrance HDS-7 Fish Finder/GPS combo unit.
The Lowrance HDS-7 is a complete unit with 3-in-1 fish finder and GPS with Active Imaging Sonar, fish targeting, smartphone integration, pre-loaded enhanced 3D mapping, a 50-channel GPS and a high-resolution touch screen. Included are Navionics charts, which you must pay extra for on other units.
Forty million people camp a year and it is growing in popularity with Millennials. You don’t need any special skills to camp—just an eagerness to learn and an ability to adapt. Camping requires some basic summer gear and preparation. It is an excellent budget vacation for everyone of all skill levels and age groups.
It’s incredibly difficult to pick our favorite summer camping item because we have a ton, but we are particularly fond of the 12 Survivors Tree Nook Hammock.
Hanging a hammock as opposed to pitching a tent is a way to lower your ecological impact when camping. Studies have found that sleeping in a hammock provides a more restful sleep. The 12 Survivors Tree Nook hammock kit comes with hanging straps and a carrying case. It is constructed of comfortable and breathable (so you don’t get too hot) honeycomb ripstop nylon and it holds up to 500 pounds.
Through October 1, join in on the National Wildlife Federation’s Great American Campout by committing to go camping—whether it is in your backyard, national park, private campground, tent, RV or cabin.
Hiking is an incredibly rewarding experience—the peace and quiet, the scenery and wildlife…hiking gives a sense of accomplishment—especially for those who plan properly, have the right equipment and practice trail safety.
It is especially important to pack the right gear when preparing for a hiking trip. You need to keep weight down, but also make sure you have plenty of water or a way to filter water, enough food and a way to cook it; plus, weather-appropriate clothing and sleeping gear. The wrong equipment and being ill-prepared gets hikers in real trouble and has even caused hikers to perish.
The LifeStraw GO water filter bottle is a 23-ounce water bottle with an integrated Lifestraw 2-stage activated carbon filter which removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites. Fill your bottle with water directly from the source. There is no need to wait for a reaction, you can drink right away.
This is just a snapshot of some of our favorite outdoor summer gear. Subscribe to Best In Bunch to receive the latest reviews in your inbox.