I figured we'd take some time today to explain a little bit more about outdoorpals and what it is for. outdoorpals is an event-based app launching in early 2021 focused on helping people connect with fellow outdoor enthusiasts. In this blog post, I'll explain about how outdoorpals came to be and what dilemmas it can solve. In a future blog post we'll talk more about the functionality and the cool features of the app itself.
Where did the idea for outdoorpals come from?
In December of 2018 I moved to a new city and found myself without a network of friends to do my favorite activities with. I was able to make some friends in my neighborhood, but it was hard to find people who also liked the same outdoor activities as I did. Losing that sense of community contributed to me losing my drive to rock climb as much and I didn't know anyone to go skiing with for the upcoming winter. My schedule was a bit unique and so it was hard to hit up the local climbing gym during busier hours to try and meet people, and backcountry skiing in the area was not popular. I knew a few people who had passes to the local ski resort, but it was hard to arrange times to go which led to us not putting in much effort to try and make it happen. I still had a great season of skiing, but most of my inbounds skiing was by myself and I had to drive a good distance to meet up with friends from my previous town to go backcountry skiing with.
A couple weeks into that winter, I joined a few friends from my old town for a ski trip to Grand Targhee. On the way I told them about my predicament and stated that there should be an app that can help people build their network of friends for outdoor activities. We began brainstorming and even stopped at a dollar store to get a notebook to write down all the ideas. It was during this session that the basic functionality of the app and the name outdoorpals was born. We talked about the idea over the next two years, though it wasn't until the summer of 2020 that we were all ready to turn the idea into an actual app.
How can outdoorpals be of value to you?
The main purpose of outdoorpals is to connect you with other people who like the same outdoor activities and sports as you. outdoorpals allows users to host or see events locally and within their network. These events can be filtered by specific activities, skill level, and location. If you see an activity you would like to join in on, you send a request to join to the activity host. If you are accepted you will join a private group chat where you can discuss the activity specifics with the other members of the group. We never want "I have no one to go with..." to ever be an excuse to not get outside doing the things you love. In addition to this, there are a few other benefits we see for the app.
One of these benefits is that outdoorpals can become a place where more experienced adventurers can interact and mentor people seeking to expand their interests or try out new things. Many outdoor activities are best done with someone who has experience, not just so it goes better, but so it is also safer. Some of my favorite sports, such as sailing and ice climbing, have been taught to me by people who have mentored me into it. Now that I also have a sailboat, I love teaching new people the basics of sailing and I feel like its a great way to pay back the people that have mentored me. From talking with people, we've found that many people are more than willing to teach others a sport or hobby if it means they will have someone to go with in the future. We want outdoorpals to be that avenue for mentors and beginners to meet.
Another goal of outdoorpals is to help introduce or get people re-engaged with the outdoors. The benefits of being outside and active are awesome. More and more in the modern world it feels like people need to have these experiences. We at outdoorpals firmly believe that the outdoors is one of the best avenues for health, growth, and connection. However, a lot of the people who could really benefit from the outdoors often don't have a network of people who can encourage and go with them as they explore this new world. Whether its underserved communities or middle-age professionals who need some balance in their life, we want to be there to help make those connections.
The other issue we want to help with is streamlining your ability to plan activities with friends. There are plenty of times where I've done an activity and later when I'm talking with my friends about it, they wished they had got an invite. Ironically, much of the time I had invited other friends who were unable to go, but didn't think to reach out to them. One cool feature of outdoorpals is the ability to post your event just for members of your network who also have the app to see, acting as an easy invite for any of them to join you. When I moved this would have been useful because I had an acquaintance in my new town who also rock climbed, I just didn't know that. I had his number in my phone but since I didn't know him super well, I didn't know he climbed and was also looking for someone to go with. A similar thing happened with another acquaintance who was running a lot of the same trails I was, just we were each doing it by ourselves. A lot of times we already know the people who would want to do things with us, we just might not know it yet. outdoorpals can help with that.
Above all, we want people to be able to do the things they love and that is why we're so excited to be launching outdoorpals soon! Remember, it isn't outdoorpals without your friends so share the app with them and follow us on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/getoutdoorpals/) to learn more about some of the exciting things coming up. Also, check out https://www.outdoorpals.com/beta to sign up for our beta launch! Until then stay safe and get outside!