Venture Outdoors vs. Florida Outfitter

By: Nancy Latimer

Venture Outdoors may be a nonprofit with volunteer Trip Leaders, but it’s not a rinky dink operation. Venture Outdoors has rigorous training to ensure that all Trip Leaders follow the same format including the planning, the introduction, the safety, and the experience. Recently, I was on vacation in southwest Florida and went on an Everglades kayak tour with a commercial outfitter. Many of the Venture Outdoors checklist items were the same as my Everglades trip, but Venture Outdoors covered things more thoroughly. I was impressed that Venture Outdoors trips are on par or better! Read on for the details.

I booked a three-hour Everglades kayaking tour with a reputable outfitter. They had excellent reviews on Trip Advisor. The trip cost three times the cost of a similar Venture Outdoors kayak trip. Like Venture Outdoors, it was a fully supported trip with the guide and her assistant. She supplied all the necessary equipment, kayaks, and PFDs. She also supplied water and snacks which is not a requirement for Venture Outdoors trips, but which many Leaders provide. So far, score one for Venture Outdoors for an economical price.

When I booked the trip, the owner was very responsive and gave detailed instructions on what to wear, what to bring, and what to expect. Like going on an outing with Venture Outdoors, I felt very prepared. We met at a nearby park and caravanned to the launch site. The guide introduced the trip with a map. No safety talk or paddle talk, although the four participants had kayak experience. No medical talk (I’m attentive to this since I have a severe bee allergy and carry an Epipen.) No introductions of participants. Being the Venture Outdoors person, I am I had introduced myself. Score three for Venture Outdoors, for the safety talk, the paddle talk, and the introductions.

We launched without incident into a calm pond with gators floating here and there, eyeing us. The sun was just rising, the water was like glass, and the birds were waking up. It was spectacular. There was some safety talk on the water as we met alligators. The guide stopped often to give facts and introduce the next section. This was similar to Venture Outdoors trips. Volunteer Trip Leaders are very knowledgeable. TIE!

We paddled through the mangroves, passing beautiful flora and fauna specimens. The Everglades has the largest population of bromeliads in North America and our trip didn’t disappoint. These are commonly known as “airplants” at the local Home Depot. My favorite thing was the mirror-like reflections of the vibrant greenery on the glassy water, magnificent. The Outfitter was great at identifying everything, giving history, and taking photos. As a Trip Leader I always try to take photos, but with all my responsibilities, I struggle. Thankfully Venture Outdoors has started adding a photographer on trips. That’s a plus for me (and you.) Score one for the Outfitter.

We ended the trip on time and the Outfitter sent us copies of her photos. Venture Outdoors often posts them on the Flickr site, but not quite as user friendly. Score one for the Outfitter.

In conclusion, Venture Outdoors is as professional an outdoor experience as a commercial Outfitter at a much better price!

 

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OUTDOOR News

  • 10 Adventure Photographers that will Inspire You to Get Outside

    February 21, 2017

    By: Grace Eggleston, Communications Intern

    Climbing, hiking, skiing! What’s your favorite outdoor activity?
    These 10 adventure photographers, categorized by sport, will inspire you to get outside no matter what the weather. They’ll have you dreaming of tropical waters, rocky cliff sides, and snow covered slopes all at the same time!

    1. Skiing- Jimmy Chin
    North Face athlete and adventure photographer Jimmy Chin spends his days climbing and skiing in the mountains. In particular he pushes skiing to the extreme, and is among an elite group of people who have skied Everest from the summit!

     » Read more about: 10 Adventure Photographers that will Inspire You to Get Outside  »

  • Venture Outdoors vs. Florida Outfitter

    February 14, 2017

    By: Nancy Latimer

    Venture Outdoors may be a nonprofit with volunteer Trip Leaders, but it’s not a rinky dink operation. Venture Outdoors has rigorous training to ensure that all Trip Leaders follow the same format including the planning, the introduction, the safety, and the experience. Recently, I was on vacation in southwest Florida and went on an Everglades kayak tour with a commercial outfitter. Many of the Venture Outdoors checklist items were the same as my Everglades trip, but Venture Outdoors covered things more thoroughly. I was impressed that Venture Outdoors trips are on par or better!

     » Read more about: Venture Outdoors vs. Florida Outfitter  »

  • Running Outdoors in a Pittsburgh Winter

    February 7, 2017

    AN ESSENTIAL EMBER
    By: Suni Lynn Lee

    Outside the temperature hovers around 10 degrees. As I stand staring out the window, watching the wind whip the snow into sparkling spirals, I feel motivation oozing out of me. Inside it is toasty warm, and I shiver at the thought of stepping out into the cold to begin my run. But, I turn away from the window, thinking, “Today is my day to run, and I will run.”

    Dressed in layers, I feel like an abominable snowman. I stuff soft cotton into my ears, pull a wool stocking cap onto my head,

     » Read more about: Running Outdoors in a Pittsburgh Winter  »

  • Women in Nature Hike

    January 31, 2017

    By: Grace Eggleston, Communications Intern

    During the summer months here in Pittsburgh, adventurous women from all around the city participate in Venture Outdoors’ popular Women on the Water (WOW) programs. But, as the kayaks at North Park and on the rivers have been put away for some time now, it was time to lace up our hiking boots and try something new. 

    So, this year for the first time ever, Venture Outdoors offered the very first Women in Nature Hike! Over 25 excited women met in North Park on January 22 for a leisurely Sunday morning hike in the woods,

     » Read more about: Women in Nature Hike  »

  • Getting to Know Our Staff: Fifteen Questions with… Ken Sikora

    January 24, 2017

    By: Grace Eggleston, Communications Intern

    There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes brain power that goes into planning your favorite programs, be it public, family-friendly, or custom outings. Learn about those who work inside so you can get outside.

    This week we’ll be interviewing Ken Sikora, our Head Trip Leader Specialist.Ken

    1. Briefly tell us about your background: where did you grow up, where did you go to school, and what brought you to Venture Outdoors?

    I was born and raised in Munhall, just south of Downtown. I went to California University of PA and studied Parks and Recreation Management.

     » Read more about: Getting to Know Our Staff: Fifteen Questions with… Ken Sikora  »

Featured Outing

 

Outdoor Leadership Training
Sunday, February 28
9 AM – 5 PM

This day-long, classroom-based training is designed to improve your leadership skills in a format that fits your schedule. The eight-hour course is a fast-paced mix of skill training, awareness development and fun.

SIGN UP HERE!