Outdoor Experience and Jackson Kayak team up for summer fun

by By Rima Austin, contributor  | April 12, 2018 8:13 AM

Pictures by: Misty Walker

Jackson kayaks are stacked neatly on metal racks outside the east wall of the store, and around the front, bikes are lined up like methodical soldiers pointing the way to the front entrance. The vibrant colors draw the eye in every direction once one crosses the threshold and onto the polished wood floor.

To the left there is rock climbing gear in sunset reds, mustard yellows, and ice blues, where one could find shoes, ropes, and just about anything they need to go from bouldering to rappelling. To the right is the clothing section where any hardcore outdoors person would not be disappointed. There is Patagonia, Marmot, and Kavu clothing; Chaco, Keen, and Birkenstock shoes; and backpacking and hiking accessories, such as Eno, Mountain Smith, and Sea to Summit. You have entered Outdoor Experience, in Cookeville, Tennessee.
outdoor experience


If one thinks that the hiking and climbing equipment are all there is to see, however, they would be sorely mistaken. A narrow doorway opens up to an equally narrow set of creaky wooden steps, reminiscent of Grandma’s house, leading to the attic of the building. Although Grandma’s house it is anything but. The attic is for campers and boaters. The greys and blues of the Osprey backpacks contrast with the grass greens and violet purples of the North Face sleeping bags, and the cooking corner would please a four-star restaurant chef. If outdoor sports and hobbies are the spokes, then Outdoor Experience would be the hub.


It is because of their experience and knowledge of outdoor sports that Outdoor Experience, or OE, takes advantage of the summer months to reach out to the public and persuade people to get outdoors. Every year, the employees of OE host a climbing workshop. The workshop usually involves rock climbing and rappelling. In the past, there has been a nominal fee that pays for the gear should a person not own their own, and anyone can sign up for the event, including children. It usually takes over a two-day time span and is located somewhere that anyone living in the Upper Cumberland area can get to within an hour. OE has also created another way to reach out to the public. This year, they have teamed up with Sparta’s Jackson Kayak and OE’s newly acquired Caney Fork Cycles to sponsor Demo Day, at Cane Creek Park.

“We have a rental fleet of Jackson kayaks and bicycles that we keep year around to rent out to the public by the day or on the weekends,” says Heather Call, owner of Outdoor Experience. “On Demo Day, we gather the cycles and kayaks up and bring them to Cane Creek Park here in Cookeville. We invite the public, and they can come try out any of the styles at no charge.”

Outdoor Experience welcomes the accomplished outdoor enthusiast but even more so they look forward to seeing the novice. The employees at OE love to see patrons come in with the enthusiasm to try new experiences that will get them off their couch and out of their front doors. If there are any questions about gear or if you would like to know more about the events that are available this summer, Outdoor Experience can be reached at (931) 526-4453 or on their website http://www.outdoorexperienceonline.com.

“The Outdoor Experience welcomes and appreciates your business,” says Call. “And remember, life is too short to stay indoors.”

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