I’m not really an expert on women but I do happen to know a few. Here, with only minor editorial adjustments and comments, are the thoughts and desires of some of America’s most adventurous women on what they want in an adventurous man.
Sarah Wood—Exec. Director at 5Point Film Festival
“Adventure for me can mean a lot of things, and relationships have certainly been an ‘adventure’ in my life. For someone like me, who works more than I should, and has windows of opportunity for the outdoors, it can be hard to find the time to nurture a relationship.
“A great partner for me has to be independent, confident, and secure. I enjoy a confident partner (no matter what their athletic level) who simply enjoys being out, by themselves or with me. It is more attractive if a partner has their own goals and can take care of themselves.
“Littering is a huge turn off. No whining, complaining, or making excuses, and the man better be able to start a fire. There is no room for laziness, inflated egos, flakes, or excuses. I don’t like having too much of an agenda or being with someone so hard core that he can’t enjoy life without his heart rate maxed out the whole time. On the other hand, a little showing off is cute, especially if he happens to biff while doing it.”
Stasia Raines—Dir. of Marketing & Communications Outdoor Nation
“It’s cliché yes, but I want a guy who’s up for anything. Let’s do something we’re good at then let’s try something we’re terrible at and laugh. For me adventure involves some level of risk and sometimes that means simply trying something new.
“I want him to realize that the journey is where the fun happens. There’s nothing worse than a guy who’s crazy amazing at his activity of choice then proceeds to abandon you on the trail. Stay with me; I want to trust you. We’re in this together. Don’t get me killed.
“He has to be willing to enjoy the experience despite said discomfort is important. No whining allowed. He has to be able to encourage me to push my limits and try my best while also believing I’m pretty rad. I find that kind of man to be a total catch.
“Humility’s a great thing and I wouldn’t hate it if he had a great beard.”
Tandie Bailey—FC Team Mountain Bike Rider
“It’s important for my other half to be capable—both physically and mentally—to take a trip or adventure to the next level. I want a partner that is comfortable (stoked even) to seek out a new trail or take a new turn and roll with the punches that adventures are sure to bring. I want him prepared and able to take care of himself, able adapt to new situations.
“It’d be icing on the cake if he knows where I left my helmet, even when I don’t all the time. I want a man that is humble. I want a man that isn’t too proud to be happy for me if I beat him up a climb. I need a man that pushes me to my limits but would never make me feel bad for not being able to keep up. I want a man with a kind heart, healthy body, and a strong mind.
Sarah Fennel—CEO Restore Humanity
“He has to love traveling and be willing to step out of his comfort zone. There’s nothing better than a guy who has respect, openness, and interest in other cultures.
“A sense of humor is essential and he has to be a solid, trustworthy guy—one who has your back in tough situations, and is able to be present and just go with the flow, making the best of tough situations—in life and travel—while holding a deep respect and concern for humanity at large.”
Creedence Gerlach—Scuba Journalist
“He has to enjoy drinking and eating local selections and can’t be afraid to get lost once in a while. Simplicity is really important—extravagances are nice but they can’t be essential.
“He has to enjoy meeting people and animals, spending time reading or just quietly enjoying the view. I think it’s important he puts safety above adventure because that lets us have more adventures in the long run. He doesn’t mind my messy hair and no makeup look and can apologize/accept apologies after a dust-up. Above all, he has to have a great sense of humor.”
Magee Walker—Heli-Ski Instructor
“I don’t want to be with anyone who’s afraid to try something new and just sticks to what they’re already good at. He has to take my opinion and risk tolerance into account and can’t take unnecessary risks, disregarding the experience and levels of risk tolerance of those they are with. He has to appreciate the journey as much as the destination—it’s cheesy, but true. Adventures aren’t about racing to a summit (unless, of course, you’re in a race) they’re about going and enjoying the ride.”
Chelsea Booker—Studio Manager Camp4 Collective
“I want somebody who’s down for anything. He should be willing to let me lead but I hope he’s better at it than I am. It’s really helpful if he has a great sense of direction since I don’t. He’ll always say yes to my next idea for an adventure spot, be it a quick trail run up Ensign Peak, a last minute desert dust fest, or two weeks in Maui.
“He’ll hold my hand and help me down the steep parts of a hike but has a magical sense of when to let me do it myself. My ideal partner is down for everything but shares a voice of reason when mine escapes me. He’s ok with having a general agenda but is happier veering off from the regularly scheduled program because something rad and unexpected comes up. He’ll also turn around and backtrack in order for me to get the perfect shot.
“Also, I need energy! Someone who can mob through the bamboo forest while also having the ability to chill out at the peak’s summit to take in the view. I need a person who is laid back enough to sit and stare at a river because the sun feels good on our faces—even when we should’ve packed up camp to move on hours ago.
“He appreciates my ability to get my hands dirty and hippie it up for a weekend, and will never give me shit for freshening up a bit when the opportunity arises. My ideal guy understands my innate urge to purchase the latest and greatest and supports my gear addiction. Still a gentleman in the woods, he helps me into my new hammock and stands guard while we both find out what my ability to tie a decent knot looks like.
“He pushes me to climb a little higher. He’s considerate—asking about my old knee injury once the mileage begins to add up but trusts me to continue on as far as I decide to go.”
So, there it is—everything you need to know about being an adventurous man for those of you who hope to have an adventure companion of the fairer sex.