When Millennials chill out in the great outdoors, these are the products they’ll want to hang with.
While older generations tend to see nature as a place to get away from it all and conquer athletic challenges with the best (and most expensive) technical gear, Millennials just want to have relaxed fun with their friends in the outdoors, and share their experiences on social media, according to outdoor industry experts.
In his July 2015 article in Outside magazine, “The Outdoor Industry Has a Millennial Problem,” Michael Roberts, executive editor, digital development, wrote, “The post-college set in particular is turned off by the go-for-the-summit ethos that defines so many legacy brands. Many of them camp out mostly at festivals like Coachella or Burning Man. As such, they see the outdoors not as a proving ground to be attacked with ice axes and Gore-Tex, but as a playground to be enjoyed with portable sound systems and beer Koozies.”
A recent study by the Outdoor Industry Association found that, unlike the Baby Boomer generation, “Millennials . . . have a pack mentality. For them, it’s less about ‘I can and you can’t’ and more about ‘I can and you should come along.’”
Or if you can’t come along, you should follow along—on social media. Millennial travel blogger Trevor Morrow said in a 2016 CBS News article that social media is key for Millennials. “We want that photo. For me, I want it for the memories, but of course, I think you could generally say that we want to post it and share it with our friends on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.”
Toby O’Rourke, chief franchise operations officer for Kampgrounds of America, explained to CBS News how brands are adjusting their products to fit a more relaxed approach to the outdoors. “Brands like The North Face that used to focus on technical gear for avid adventurers are now also creating stylish, user-friendly and comfortable products that appeal to Millennials. Ads that once featured extreme athletes at peak performance are now likely to include friends casually gathered around a campfire.”
Read on for our curated group of Insta-worthy products Millennials will want to use—and share with friends.
Social Media Sensations
Absolute adventure. That’s what the Polaris® ACE® is all about. The single seat puts the rider directly in the center of the trail. Comfort improvements across the line have made each ACE the most comfortable ride yet. As a showcase item or prize for an outdoor adventure event, or an incentive or recognition product for the right demographic, this four-wheeler is all fun.
Incentive Concepts, LLC / PPAI 212912 / www.incentiveconcepts.com
The unique, patented CreekKooler floating cooler is the perfect choice to add some fun to outdoor recreation opportunities. Tow the cooler behind a kayak or canoe, fill it with ice and drinks for a cool serving display at a summer event, float it in a pool or hot tub, showcase it as a raffle item at a career recruiting event or auction, offer it to resorts and lake outfitters to use as a boat rental add-on, or target construction companies that specialize in boat docks, lake homes or swimming pools. The possibilities are endless. And it’s made in the USA.
Kanooler Products / PPAI 690429 / www.kanoolerproducts.com/custom-products
HERO Session packs the power of GoPro into a convenient, grab-and-go, everyday camera. Perfect for the first-time GoPro user or as a second camera, HERO Session is simple to use. Its single button control, stunning 1080p60 video, 8MP photos and rugged, waterproof design make HERO Session the perfect camera to record and share any adventure.
Premco Associates/PISI / PPAI 145323 / www.gopremco.com
When paddleboarding, jetskiing, hunting or enjoying any other active outdoor activity, it’s always a challenge to keep a drink nearby—and upright. The Amazing L’il Sucker no-spill vacuum holder adheres to surfaces to hold a drink in place and eliminate spills.
Best Promotions USA / PPAI 461689 / www.bestpromotionsusa.com
Kick Back And Relax
The insulated Adventure Wine Tote has space for two wine bottles and comes with wine and cheese service for two. A portable acacia table folds down for flat storage in the tote's interior. The tote comes complete with two PET stemless wine glasses, a cork screw and a bottle stopper. The exterior is made of waxed cotton canvas with rich brown details, and features a shoulder strap that can be looped through the handle to be worn as a backpack.
Picnic Time, Inc. / PPAI 143980 / www.picnicpromotions.com
The patented polyester fleece TAILGATE Hoody is a fun twist on an American classic which combines a hooded sweatshirt with an insulated Neoprene pocket that allows wearers to keep their drink cold and their hands warm. The built-in pocket doubles as a padded security pouch that stores a cell phone/MP3, wallet or other valuables. It’s available in black, charcoal heather, camouflage, outdoor camo, hydrator orange, hydrator yellow and in sizes S – 3XL.
J. America / PPAI 351699 / www.jamericablanks.com
This folding two-position recliner and captain’s chair in one has mesh backing for laying back and enjoying the breeze. A removable footrest, two mesh can holders and mesh magazine pocket means hours of relaxation. A carrying bag with strap is included.
BIC Graphic USA / PPAI 114187 / www.bicgraphic.com
The Joey camp chair features a lightweight aluminum frame that is both aesthetically and functionally appealing. With a variety of imprint locations available for silkscreening, the Joey offers a large promotional impact in a compact and engaging design, and includes anti-sink disk feet to prevent sinking into soft ground.
TravelChair Company / PPAI 113178 / www.travelchair.com
This rugged 100-percent recyclable and BPA-free 18/8 stainless double-walled vacuum insulated canteen keeps liquids ice-cold for 24 hours with no condensation, or hot for up to 12 hours. A universal wide mouth makes it easy to exchange lid styles and fill the bottle with ice. Pair any bottle with a paracord Canyard, a canteen lanyard, for ultimate carrying convenience or to clip onto a suitcase or backpack.
Xtreme Canteen, LLC / PPAI 691094 / www.xtremecanteen.com
Protect and Promote
Made from 100-percent cotton twill, this crushable pigment-dyed twill bucket cap offers casual sun protection with style and comes in sizes L and XL.
Heritage Sportswear / PPAI 177353 / www.heritagesportswear.com
With a wide brim for more coverage and protection, this 100-percent cotton packable sun hat has a 30+ UPF rating. A hidden adjustable drawcord at the crown keeps it in place. One size fits most.
SanMar / PPAI 110788 / www.sanmar.com
Popular for all outdoor activities, this sunscreen and lip balm combo unites an SPF 30 broad spectrum sunscreen bottle and SPF 15 broad spectrum tropical lip balm. Clipped together with a carabiner, this combo is a dynamic duo.
Raining Rose, Inc. / PPAI 232508 / www.lipbalmcompany.com
Made in the USA, Swamp Juice is an all-natural insect repellent that is DEET-free and repels a variety of blood-feeding insects. Pitch this fun and useful product to travel companies, outdoor tour operators, colleges, resorts, marinas, parks and recreation organizations, and all outdoor venues.
Crown Products, Inc. / PPAI 113430 / www.crownprod.com
Millennials are stewards of the environment and like to engage with brands that share their views. These floral seed sticks in a matchbook-style plain paper holder allow brands to promote eco-friendly products and causes or any theme related to growth or flowers. Custom-shape matchbooks are available. Recipients can plant the sticks and watch beautiful flowers grow in outdoor spaces.
Gempire/Gwi / PPAI 113471 / www.gempire.com
Five Keys To Millennial-Friendly Outdoor Events
- Wi-Fi – it’s a must. SnapChatting uses a LOT of data.
- Creature Comforts – they don’t call Millennials’ version of camping “glamping” for nothing. Millennials like to combine fun with indulgent luxury.
- Gamification –include an online competition component to any outdoor activities to appeal to multi-tasking personalities.
- Exercise—Millennials like playground games (kickball, anyone?) but remember, more “extreme” activities (water-skiing, rock-climbing, zip-lining, kayaking, paddleboarding) make for the best photo ops.
- Fido – Millennials like taking their dogs with them everywhere, so pet-friendly events and venues are especially popular. (Provide water bowls, pet cleanup stations, promotional pet items, etc.)
Source: National Recreation and Park Association
Get A Grip
Whataburger, a large fast-food chain, needed a unique branded decoration for a corporate golfing event that would work on the golf putter handle they were giving as a gift.
The client chose World Emblem’s Flexstyle for its texture, color and ability to capture fine detail. Flexstyle can be attached to hard goods as well as apparel, and the color options are virtually limitless.
Source: World Emblem International, Inc.
Julie Richie is associate editor for PPB.