There’s nothing quite as refreshing as a simple walk in the woods. The smell of fresh air, the sounds of birds chirping, the wind whistling through the elms, and the friendly chatter with other hikers. It also doesn’t hurt that, when you’re out of cell service, the pace of things slows down, and you can really take it all in. Of course, a walk in the woods isn’t so pleasant if you’re not prepared. Without the proper clothing and gear, a day in the woods could turn into a miserable affair. You could get cold and wet from wearing clothes not suited to the conditions. Or, your feet might get blisters from wearing cotton socks drenched with sweat. To be comfortable and have fun doing just about anything outdoors, you need the right gear. Backpacks, shoes, apparel—there are so many choices out there that it’s tough to know where to begin and what to choose. Fortunately, the Northeastern United States is home to some seriously impressive retail stores that sell the equipment and supplies you need. Plus, they have knowledgeable staff members who can recommend the right products and give you advice on visiting the wild areas of the region. Whether you need a T-shirt
that will wick moisture to keep you dry, or Merino wool socks
to protect your feet, these top shops will help you explore the outdoors like a pro.
Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters: Brattleboro, Vermont
When a family-owned business thrives for three generations, you know it’s doing something right. That’s the case with Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters
, which opened in 1932 as an Army-Navy surplus shop. Over the decades, Sam’s has steadily expanded its offerings to include the latest products for running, camping, and hiking, plus it offers the supplies you need for more technical outings, like kayaking and winter sports. The business has also expanded to include two additional locations in Keene, New Hampshire, and Hadley, Massachusetts. The staff members at Sam’s have a wealth of outdoor experience, and they’re super-knowledgeable about gear. But, you won’t run into any patronizing vibes here. Sam’s prides itself on the relaxed atmosphere of its stores and its efforts to place helpful sales associates in every department. There are no high-pressure sales tactics at Sam’s, either—visitors are welcome to enjoy free hot popcorn, whether they’re browsing or buying.
Farm-Way: Bradford, Vermont
Featured image provided by Paul Sableman