Outdoor Advocacy

A Smooth Operator’s Guide to Outdoor Dating

Being a single outdoorsperson is tough, isn’t it? The forests, mountains, crags, creeks, and hills are usually not a hot spot for singles. And if you venture into civilization, you’ll most likely be hard-pressed to find someone that you share those interests with. So whether you’ve happened upon a prospective partner in the field, city, or (gasp) online, you’re going to want to ease them into the outdoor lifestyle without figuratively (or literally) throwing them to the wolves right off the bat. Heck, you can even put together a pretty impressive date with a little imagination, and you can move past the cliché picnic or walk in the park. Here are a few ideas to get you started. Feel free to try them out and comment back later about your inevitable triumph of an awesome first date.

dv1603025Cook dinner together…over an open fire
Cooking dinner together is a great date idea. It builds teamwork, trust, and can make you look pretty damn impressive if you know what you’re doing. Take it a step further and cook over an open flame. If your partner doesn’t already know how to build a fire (without lighter fluid or starter logs, you cheater), this can be a pretty impressive thing. If they indeed do know how, you can work together to get it going. Then it’s time to break out your caveman culinary know-how. Have a meal in mind that doesn’t involve hot dogs or marshmallows and get cookin’. You can help one another out while sharing conversation, and when it’s ready to eat, you can either enjoy the fruits of your labor and a job well done, or laugh about how inedible it is and order a pizza. Either way, you’ve bonded over a fire, the most basic of needs in life.

Nighttime canoe trip
Everyone enjoys a night under the stars, so take your date out on the water where you can relax, enjoy the scenery, and have uninterrupted conversation. Share your knowledge (or hastily researched pre-date knowledge) of astronomy. Point out constellations, talk about the legends behind them, or hell…just lay there and look up. If you can’t make conversation in that setting, then you’re probably reading the wrong advice. Be sure to bring blankets, snacks, insect repellent (ALWAYS bring insect repellent), and a lantern. We’ve all seen “The Little Mermaid,” so we all know that this date idea is a can’t-miss.

operator1Go snipe hunting
For the uninitiated, “snipe hunting” is a harmless prank played on scouts, campers, and the non-outdoorsy during which the aforementioned newbie is taken into the wilderness (not alone, obviously) in search of a fictitious animal. The idea behind the prank is to “accidentally” teach said person about the outdoors. Tell them all there is to know about the ground they’re tromping on and all of the cool things it has to offer. Here’s where you get REALLY smooth – set up the “hunt” to end in a predetermined location that you’re particularly fond of; a rock formation, a great view of a river or lake, whatever. Have a bottle of wine or a few brews and a couple of glasses waiting there. You sly devil, you.

Disc golf outing
Engaging in a little friendly competition is always a great way to get to know one another, share in a little light-hearted ribbing, and loosen up around one another. It also seems that folks tend to get a little more comfortable with physical contact via high fives, pats on the back, and other “go team”-type touching. This means that they will be way less offended when you go in for that make-it-or-break-it smooch at the end of the night (if you’re that type of guy/gal). But forget putt-putt or bowling. You’re an outdoorsperson! Take them to the nearest disc golf course. You don’t even have to be good, because let’s face it, you’re supposed to let them win the first time anyhow. It will get the two of you out into the real outdoors and not some rundown mini-golf course littered with creepy clown obstacles and too many people in cut-off jean shorts.

operator3Hit up the shooting range
Few things get the adrenaline pumping quicker than going and shooting off a few rounds at your nearest outdoor gun range. It’s shocking how many people have never fired a weapon, and while guns are a bit of a sticking point in today’s world, it is often a valuable ability to have. If they’ve never been, you can show them the ins and outs (assuming you know the ins and outs), and if they have, well…it’s still loads of fun. It will build trust in each other and confidence in both individuals. Note: This date is only wise if you are one hundred percent positive that your date is not a serial killer.

Regardless of what you do, remember…ALWAYS bring insect repellent.