The Outside Prognosticator: If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Parapenting

Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.

Outside magazine, January 1996

The Outside Prognosticator: If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Parapenting

“There is apprehension,” says Susie Smyle, a trip packager with Boulder, Colorado-based All Adventure Vacations, of the booming phenomenon known as multisport sampler tours. These outdoor smorgasbords let clients try everything–rafting, hiking, biking, kayaking, skiing, and much, much more–in one- or two-week frenzies that sound like plots hatched by outdoor gear salesmen.
“People think they can’t possibly do all the stuff we plan, but we work through that and say, ‘Hey, it’s a vacation. Have fun!'” Dammit.

What’s the appeal? Smyle credits the energies of pent-up urbanos. “We get a lot of 30- to 50-year-olds from New York,” she says. “They want to come back and say, ‘I did it all.'” Whatever the reason, the market is loping toward a hyperactive extreme as outfitters compete to outdo one another. Current champ: the Go Active Sampler, a steroidal Whitman’s from Berkeley,
California-based Backroads, which includes indoor rock climbing, biking (road and mountain), aerobics, swimming, boardsailing, tennis, kayaking (river and sea), in-line skating, trail running, waterbiking, hiking, and yoga.

All in five days. All for $1,793, gear included. No refund if you bonk.

promo logo