As summer is already here and the weather is getting warmer every passing day and restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic are being gradually lifted, many people have started to plan their vacation, naturally, outdoors.
The hard part is to choose where and what to do.
Society has positioned the word "outdoors" as if it is "packing in cars and going from point A to point B and camping in nature," said Ilker Tulunay, founder of the Outdoor Turkey platform.
However, the outdoors is much more than just going from A to B, he says.
In Turkey, due to the country’s natural richness, you have a chance to try around 50 different outdoor activities such as camping, caravan road trips, photography, cycling, skateboarding, sailing, running or parachuting.
Of course, the opportunities and conditions for all these activities are not equal. Some of them may have operational difficulties, some may be more time-consuming and some may be more costly.
Therefore, there are many activities such as hiking, running, trekking, camping, cycling, etc. that are widely available for almost everyone.
“Those kinds of activities attracted great attention during the pandemic period. People started to prefer beaches, forests or parks within the city instead of closed areas,” Tulunay said.
“The most important part here is education and training,” Tulunay highlighted, adding that the “nothing is going to happen to me” strategy doesn’t really work when it comes to nature.
“Simple mistakes can cause serious injury or even death. We've seen examples of this over and over,” he said.
Wearing all the equipment recommended can sometimes make you feel unconformable, especially during hot summer days, but you must make sure you are being safe.
Everyone is free to do any activity, of course, and being active means moving a lot, but you should also be careful, Tulunay explained.
Those who are overweight, have joint problems or any other disease should consult a doctor first, to prevent injuries.
“For example, let’s think of a person who spends most of his day sitting and is not being very active in a daily routine, but decides to buy a bicycle. He gets all the equipment and decides to go on his first ride. The goal here should not be to ride 80 kilometers from the first day. Shocking our internal organs, joints, muscles will not help anyone,” Tulunay said.
It is better to do everything gradually, he added.
“Try to concentrate on enjoying the process.”
Choosing good quality equipment is one of the most important steps in preparations for outdoor activities.
Good equipment should not be measured by its price, as expensive doesn’t always mean the equipment is good. To choose the right equipment, you should think about the risk of the activity you are planning to do.
“For example, you are simply camping and the ground is muddy after rain. If you are just walking around the campsite, the price or brand of the boot you use will not give you much advantage there, but if you are going to walk on a long route all day long, your shoes should be good enough to keep your feet dry and be ready for the next day,” Tulunay said.
OutdoorFest is an event organized by Outdoor Turkey and it's the nation's first and only outdoor activity festival.
“Over 59 brands and thousands of activity lovers took part in our first festival that was held for the first time in September 2019. We skipped our 2020 festival in order not to risk people's health during the COVID-19 period. Now we have rolled up our sleeves to hold our festival again in September 2021 in Istanbul,” Tulunay said.
The 2021 OutdoorFest will include wonderful concert performances, fun games, various workshops and camp-caravan accommodations.
“People of any age, families with children and pets, everyone is welcome to join the festival,” Tulunay said.
More information about the festival is available here.