LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — It’s back-to-school season, but there are still lessons to be had outside of the classroom, and in the outdoors.

Collin Tarr, Moosejaw said the opportunities for outdoor recreation in Michigan are endless, but recommends comfortable gear, which includes the right backpack.

“It takes time to find the right pack, just like it takes time to find the right pair of shoes or pants,” Tarr said.

Tarr said Michigan is unique because of fresh water, amazing forests and the upper peninsula. Tarr recommends places in mid-Michigan such as Sleepy Hollow State Park and said a lot of places in Michigan don’t require permits. 

Tarr said because Michigan is generally a flatter state, it’s easier for people to backpack for the first time.

“Michigan is really special because it’s one of the most accessible backpacking places I’ve ever lived,” Tarr said.

To lessen the discomfort of carrying a backpack while exploring, Tarr recommends backpack fitting.

“You take walking in and down the shop and stretch that out to 15-mile days over a week. Those small issues you feel where it’ll become bigger and bigger and bigger and will get really uncomfortable,” Tarr said.

Tarr said the first step is to measure yourself, and to do so, go to a place like Moosejaw for sizing. Then, to put weight in the pack – he said around 20 pounds is typical.

After that, he said to pull the straps starting with the waist, then under arms, chest, and over the shoulders- – and of course- make sure there are no pinching or gaps.

“If the frame is too small, it will feel like you’re getting pinched, if it’s too big and you’ve got gaps, the weight is going to rest improperly and it’s not going to be as comfortable,” Tarr said.

Tarr says we as a society are the furthest we’ve been from being connected to the outdoors, but that it’s important to connect with the outside world.