When most people think of a trip to Las Vegas, what comes to mind will be casinos, spectacular shows and entertainment, and amazing restaurants and nightlife. While these are definitely the main attractions, there is so much more to see and enjoy. In fact, Las Vegas makes an ideal base for nature lovers and anyone looking to spend some time enjoying exciting outdoor sports and experiences.
Whether you go for the hot desert or the cooling waters of Lake Mead, whether you’re looking for the thrill of speed or prefer to move under your own steam, you’ll find something for yourself.
Of course, the gear that can be considered essential for outdoor sports will depend on how you’re travelling. Are you able to load up an RV with all the gear you’re planning to use for your favourite pastime? Or have you flown in with limited luggage?
Whatever kind of sport or outdoor fitness activity you want to enjoy in Las Vegas, there are some items no-one should be without.
The right gear
One of the great things about Las Vegas is the wonderful climate. However, when you’re planning sports activities, be aware that the temperature can average over 40 degrees in July, climbing, in the desert, to over 50 degrees. Hiking in the arid landscape is an unforgettable experience. If that’s what you’re planning, you’ll need to bring some basic items with you.
Whatever walking trails you want to follow, you’re going to need the right shoes. The trainers that you wear to the gym or around town are not strong enough to support your feet and ankles on uneven terrain.
The last thing you want is a sprained ankle to spoil your day, so invest in some sturdy walking boots and a few pairs of sweat-absorbing socks to keep your feet dry and comfortable.
If you want to challenge your skills as an outdoor rock-climber, there are over 3000 routes accessible from Las Vegas. These range from the popular sites such as Red Rock to the more advanced Kraft’s Boulders.
If you’re a complete beginner, start by spending time with a qualified instructor who will supply all the equipment you need to climb in safety. It goes without saying that if you want to climb independently, you’ll need to bring your own equipment. Also, never climb unless you have your safety helmet with you.
Equally, if you’re going to hire bikes to cycle some of the breathtaking routes in the desert terrain, such as the 34-mile River Mountains Bike Trail, the supplier will provide you with a safety helmet. However, if you have your own, don’t hesitate to bring it.
The sun burning down on your head for long periods can be dangerous. If you’re wearing a baseball cap to prevent your head from overheating, consider a style that includes an internal pocket where you can insert an ice pack. Take along several frozen packs in your cooler so you can replace them as needed.
During the summer months, to avoid the risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, ensure you’re wearing sports gear constructed from breathable fabrics that will help you to stay cool. It’s not a good option to remove layer after layer of your clothing as this only increases the risk of sunburn.
No matter what sport or activity you’re going to practice, protect your skin from the sun’s intense rays by applying sunscreen at regular intervals. Go for SPF 50+. If you’re going to be doing water-based activities, such as kayaking on the Colorado River, scuba diving at King’s Wash, or rafting through the Black Canyon, you’ll need to ensure the sun-screen is waterproof as well. You may only feel the extent of sunburn a few hours after exposure, so don’t let it ruin the rest of your stay.
One essential piece of equipment that will serve you well, regardless of the activities you want to do and whichever part of the region you want to explore, is a pop-up marquee to provide protection from the sun and a temporary ‘home-base’ where you can cool down to enjoy refreshments or a picnic.
If you’re travelling with a group, why not make it easily identifiable? A 3x3m printed marquee, with a roof fabric such as NextUV, which has an SPF50+, can offer shelter for 9 people. Weighing around 32kg, even when you’re flying, it’s easy to bring along with you as check-in luggage.
Sounds obvious, but many people neglect to consider how they’re going to dispose of their waste responsibly and respect the natural environment they come to enjoy. Take a plentiful supply of litter bags with you and play your part in preserving the delicate natural ecology of Nevada. Take your waste with you back to base and dispose of it responsibly.
When you return to your base after your activity or during a long drive to the starting point, you’ll need to refresh and rehydrate. It’s a no-brainer that you should always have an abundant supply of drinking water with you, as well as ice-packs. So, a cool box, even a small one, is an essential part of your sports equipment.
Recording your amazing experiences to share with friends and family is an indispensable part of your trip.
Your phone’s battery life will depend on the model and the extent to which you use it, of course. However, when you’re spending a day in the great outdoors, the last thing you want when you’re far from the nearest power source is to run out of battery. That’s why it’s a good idea to have at least one fully-loaded portable charger with you in case of emergencies.
Whether you’re travelling solo, with a group, or as part of an organised package, we hope that some of the suggestions above will help you have a memorable stay in the amazing Las Vegas.