We just spent a weekend at the Outdoor Adventure Show in Toronto and had such an amazing time – all 4 of us! If you have the opportunity to check out this event in a city near you – DO IT! And definitely bring the entire family along. You won’t regret it, and here’s why.
1. You will be INSPIRED!
Everywhere you turn there’s a new idea for a way to get outside & enjoy the great outdoors! Presentations, displays, experts, gear, and a giant room full of other outdoor adventurers, all at your fingertips for an entire weekend!
We left the show feeling like we can do anything we want to and now know who to reach out to for gear & advice. From the beginning stages of planning a trip, to the gearing up and packing, to actually going on the trip, there was someone there to help with every step and someone who’s done it before. It was inspiring to see it all and definitely very motivating! For all of us, Huckleberry included – he’s now very keen to live the RV life and to fly on a small plane to the far north, two things we’ve never talked about with him.
2. You can GEAR UP!
From canoes, kayaks & tents, down to life jackets, tuques & camping food – there was an outfitter, brand or retailer there to help you gear up for your next adventure!
We didn’t go with the intention of shopping, but so many others did. There were show specials advertised around every corner, and pretty much every exhibitor took cash or card for payment. There were even change rooms at the clothing booths! You could climb in just about any tent you might like to buy, and there was a demo pool for the boats!
3. You can snag FREE STUFF!
And who doesn’t love free stuff? GIMME ALL THE SWAG!
Huckleberry made it his mission to collect all of the cool stickers (you’ve noticed that every brand in the outdoor industry does stickers, right?). We got some really neat rocks to match our adventurer styles (after taking a really cool quiz). I snagged a bottle opener, a new reusable shopping bag, and a pen. We also went home with an interactive colouring book & some Yukon Air paper airplanes. A friend even left with a free t-shirt for her kiddo and OH MY GIVEAWAYS! There were so many show-exclusive giveaways to enter – for trips, gear, experiences & more!
4. There are ACTIVITIES for everyone!
I was definitely a little concerned about keeping a busy 3-year old happy & entertained while spending an entire day at this show BUT that was taken care of for us! In fact, we didn’t even touch the toys & activities we packed for Huckleberry.
There was a “scavenger hunt” of sorts that had kids getting their show passports stamped at designated exhibitor booths with a promised trinket & chance to win 1/25 prizes at the end. PLUS rock climbing! There were puzzle geocaches to engage with, films to watch, food to sample, and more!
Oh, and comfy seating off to the side when you need a break!
5. You can meet your OUTDOOR ADVENTURE HEROES!
I was so excited and honoured to get to meet AND HUG Leanne from Live Love Get Outside and Guy from Happy Yak – these are two people that I’ve interacted on social media with for a few years now and meeting them was amazing! A paddling friend of mine had a blast chatting with Kevin Callan The Happy Camper and another friend was really looking forward to getting to meet Camper Christina.
Presentations & films were put on by a wide variety of “famous” outdoor adventurers with opportunities to chat with most of them as well. Check out the presentation schedule & exhibitor list of your local Outdoor Adventure Show to see if any of your heroes will be there!
While this wasn’t a huge selling point for my kiddos, it can definitely be powerful for them to see you get excited about meeting someone you admire. And we had a good heartwarming chuckle after coming home & packing for a winter picnic when Huckleberry recognized the Happy Yak logo on our lunch and exclaimed that he met the man that made it for us!
6. You can LEARN and GET ADVICE!
If it wasn’t made clear in points 1 & 5 – YOU ARE AMONG EXPERIENCED OUTDOOR ADVENTURE FOLK! Ask all of your questions! Bring up all of your concerns! Get all of the recommendations! Attend all of the presentations! Seriously, soak it all up…and let the kiddos do the same! Get them involved.
7. You can PLAY and INTERACT!
Have you ever been in an AirStream? What about a rooftop tent? Want to feel the difference between a 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-person tent? Don’t know what length of paddle you need? The Outdoor Adventure Show is an incredible opportunity to TRY before you buy!
I have never been into and out of so many tents in one day (and that’s not an easy thing to do while babywearing) and it was really cool to check out so many boats & campers & SUPs & so on, in one place at one time. So convenient for shopping around & for keeping everyone excitedly entertained!
8. You can WEAR WHATEVER YOU WANT!
This point is a wee bit sarcastic – we are a little bit done with arguing about weather-appropriate clothing after the winter we’ve had and it was such a relief to let Huckleberry choose to wear whatever he wanted for this adventure. It was liberating to spend the day feeling like we were getting a form of outdoor adventure while wearing t-shirts, shoes & jeans as opposed to all of the wool & mittens & boots!
Concinved? If you’re going to check out the Outdoor Adventure Show, you can find all of the necessary information by clicking any of the relevant links in this post. I can’t wait to hear about your experience!
Have you ever attended a show like this with kids? Tell me all about it in the comments below!
*I received weekend passes to the Outdoor Adventure Show in order to facilitate the writing of this post. All experiences & opinions are my own.