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If you’re a fitness fanatic, you probably spent the past couple of years mastering the art of the outdoor workout. Most gyms have reopened in some capacity since those tough, uncertain times a couple years back, but the outdoor workout remains an exercise staple for many reasons.
Without a gym membership fee or the need to purchase expensive gear, outdoor workouts are more cost-effective. There’s also a fun challenge that comes with exercising outdoors, putting your creativity to the test as you work with natural elements and a more basic set of tools. Outdoor workouts translate particularly well to calorie-burning and fat-shredding workouts, as the lack of equipment tends to necessitate more bodyweight and cardio-based exercises. Plus, who can deny the scenic benefits? Breathing in all that fresh air to fuel your workout is a whole lot more pleasant than sharing an indoor space with a bunch of sweaty strangers.
Utilizing outdoor fitness equipment can lower your blood pressure, letting you push yourself and reach your maximum potential. They also reduce the risk of injury. People frequently strain or over-exert themselves in the gym with weights, whereas using natural movements makes that less likely. Natural movements also increase mobility and balance, which prevent injuries and make you more resistant to them.
While many people just choose to bring their indoor routine outdoors, there are plenty of other options to mix things up if you get bored. Whether you’re lifting rocks instead of dumbbells, going for a run, or rollerblading, engaging in the outdoors can get your heart pumping like never before. Even a set of stairs can get the job done! Swap the AC and fluorescent lights for some sun and fresh air — your body will thank you.
Scroll below for the best outdoor fitness equipment that’s portable for any adventure you’re craving. We’ll even throw in the best outdoor workouts to tackle with each piece of gear.
1. Multifun Digital Counting Jump Rope
BEST FOR CARDIO
A jump rope is one of the most lightweight and portable pieces outdoor workout equipment that you can bring to your backyard, the beach, local park, and more. This high-tech one stands out from the rest thanks to a motivating digital counter that displays calories, circles, weight, and a timer. Just set your weight and the screen will tell you how many circles you’ve jumped, and how many calories you’ve burned. Steel ball bearings are built in to prevent bending and twisting of the rope. It also ensures stable and quick rotation.
Jump Rope Workout
Though jumping rope can serve as a great warm-up for bigger exercises, you can utilize your favorite jump rope for an awesome full-body workout that’s guaranteed to ramp up your heart rate. The key is to incorporate other bodyweight exercises — like jumping jacks, bodyweight squats and push-ups — between sets of jumping rope. Trust us, you’ll be feeling the burn after a few minutes of this. Check out the video below for an excellent jump rope workout from the Jump Rope Dudes.
2. Gaiam Folding Yoga Mat
BEST FOR ABS
Rolled-up yoga mats are somewhat portable, but using them after they’ve been rolled up for a long time can cause curling edges and prevent them from laying flat. For an equally convenient silhouette that never curls, consider this foldable Gaiam mat instead. Its unique shape and thin silhouette save space in a duffle or backpack, and the just-right stickiness prevents you from sliding around on the surface of your mat during your outdoor workout.
Yoga Mat Workout for Abs
The yoga mat is one of the most versatile pieces of outdoor workout equipment, great for offering a comfortable foundation and barrier between you and the unpredictable outdoor terrain. Yoga mats are particularly well suited for ab workouts. All those crunches and leg lifts are pretty grueling as is, but can be made all the more miserable on wet grass, hot concrete or messy dirt. A yoga mat provides some protection and much-needed cushion to help you crush an ab workout. We like this oblique-targeted ab workout from YouTuber Chris Heria, who blends all the best core-strengthening exercises into a comprehensive circuit.
3. TRX All-in-One Suspension Training
BEST OUTDOOR FITNESS TOOL
TRX is a trend that caught on fast all around the fitness community, and many people who had to miss out on gym workouts during the pandemic decided to invest in their very own TRX system. This all-in-one kit takes up minimal space but will give you the sweat of a lifetime. This bodyweight training mechanism consists of a TRX Suspension Training Strap, TRX Suspension Anchor, and TRX Door Anchor. It can also be anchored off a tree branch or beam.
Despite its ubiquity in gyms and utility in an outdoor exercise setting, TRX can be tough to get the hang of without proper instruction. The video below showcases 25 movements to perform using the TRX system, breaking them down into upper-body, lower-body, cardio and core segments to ensure your entire body is feeling the burn. You can assemble these into one humungous circuit, or categorize the exercises into bite-sized circuits for different days of the week. Either way, once you get a hang of the TRX system, you’ll see why it’s one of the most effective pieces of outdoor exercise equipment.
4. Adurance Weighted Vest Workout
BEST FOR CROSS-TRAINING
A weighted vest is a versatile add-on for multiple workouts, whether you prefer to run, bike, or complete a mat workout while wearing it. Reviewers love how comfortable it is for extended wear, and that the weight is evenly distributed, preventing bouncing and a lopsided feel. For anyone looking to up the intensity of their workout without needing to carry around dumbbells or wear ankle weights, this is a fantastic solution that will make you feel stronger than ever.
Weighted Vest Workout
The major benefit of a weighted vest is that it’s essentially going to make any basic movement more difficult and more effective. That means you can strap on your weighted vest and perform any number of bodyweight exercises — from push-ups and pull-ups to lunges and burpees — and that extra weight will really start to work its magic. In the video below, YouTuber Funk Roberts leads an absolutely brutal weighted vest workout full of dynamic exercises that will torch your entire body and have you gasping for air (in a good way, we promise).
5. Undersun Resistance Band, Set of 5
BEST FOR STRENGTH TRAINING
Lugging around sets of weights can be exhausting, but large looped resistance bands will tire you out just as well and are an effective piece of strength training equipment. Perform isolated exercises or total body moves with this five-pack that lets you work your way up in weight, and go with lighter options on recovery days or during periods of injury. One user calls it a “gym in a bag” after years of working out with weights and using this as a lower impact (but equally high intensity) alternative.
Resistance Band Workout
Fellas, don’t be fooled. Though a search for the best resistance band workouts might lean toward a female-centric crowd, rest assured that resistance bands offer an incredible alternative to weights, one that shouldn’t be slept on. Resistance bands maintain tension throughout the entirety of a movement, keeping your muscles engaged and working all the way through that final rep. You can easily translate weighted exercises you’d do at the gym — like bicep curls, shrugs and tricep extensions — as you can see in the video below.
6. Invincible Fitness Agility Ladder Training Equipment Set
BEST AGILITY TOOL
This agility ladder fits into the travel bag it comes with but expands into a uniquely challenging workout that’s used in popular boot camps, and training routines with top athletes and coaches. These ladders improve your agility, speed, and overall performance. They’re frequently used as a warmup, but it also counts as their own workout! This model is 15 feet long, with 11 heavy-duty rungs, and four metal hooks. It even includes small looped resistance bands to up the challenge when you take things to the next level. Develop your training skills or simply use this ladder as a cardio device.
Agility Ladder Workout
Whether or not you’re preparing for the NFL Combine or the Premier League, an agility ladder offers an awesome and fun way to burn calories outdoors. A good agility ladder workout will put your footwork to the test as you dash in and out of the ladder, which is why it’s such a mainstay for soccer and football players. Try these speed ladder drills in the video below to ramp up your agility and quickness.
7. Fit Simplify Resistance Bands Set
BEST FOR YOUR BUTT
These short looped resistance bands take up even less space than the long ones and can be used in a wide range of exercises, including yoga and pilates routines. They take up very little space in a bag, and you can easily carry all five with you. This is one of the most effective pieces of outdoor fitness gear due to taking up minimal space and providing maximum burn. They allow you to target and tone specific body parts without injuring yourself like with free weights.
Resistance Band Leg Workout
While the longer resistance bands we recommended earlier are great for full-body exercises, these shorter bands will do wonders for your glutes and legs. The best part? The movements are about as simple as you can get, with most of them utilizing some kind of basic walking motion with added resistance for that extra burn. These work great as warm-up for leg day in the gym, but offer a brilliant way to target your glutes during your next outdoor workout.
8. Sportneer Adjustable Ankle Weights
If resistance bands are too much for tight necks, backs and shoulders, or simply aren’t your thing, think about buying a pair of these top-rated adjustable ankle/wrist weights by Sportneer. They’re sized universal with adjustable velcro straps and can be used for physical therapy, aerobics, or walking. The fabric is soft, ensuring that your skin won’t chafe or get irritated during use. One buyer says that they are “the best I’ve found” while another holds it as a hack to increase the weight of her dumbbells.
Ankle Weight Workout
Ankle weights are a go-to tool for any booty-strengthening routine, but they also serve as a killer piece of outdoor workout equipment for your next park day. Ankle weights particularly come in handy during ab exercises, as the convenient straps and added weight bring some extra difficulty to your favorite core workouts. The video below shows how, despite their size, ankle weights can really take your outdoor workouts to the next level.
9. BalanceFrom Wide Grip Kettlebell Set
BEST GYM-LIKE TOOL
Though the kettlebell mostly sees action inside the gym, it’s small and portable enough to consider it a key item in this collection of outdoor workout equipment. This comprehensive set provides three different weights for a versatile strength workout, while the durable vinyl coating can withstand the wear and tear that comes from training outdoors. A favorite among the CrossFit crowds, the awkward shape of a kettlebell engages your grip strength and provides a great workout for building strength and burning calories.
Outdoor Kettlebell Workout
Though you can more or less use a dumbbell and kettlebell interchangeably, the latter’s top-heavy shape makes kettlebell workouts uniquely dynamic, and perfect for outdoor workouts. All the best kettlebell workouts — from kettlebell swings to goblet squats — are easily translated to an outdoor setting, as demonstrated exceptionally well by Obi Vincent in the video below. Try incorporating kettlebell exercises between others on this list — like the jump rope and agility ladder — for an outdoor workout that will ramp up your heart rate while strengthen your legs and improving your agility and coordination.
10. Under Armour Hustle Backpack
When a duffle bag feels clunky, keep your equipment in a lightweight backpack with a slim profile. This attractive Under Armour option is available in a range of color schemes to fit your specific style. Thousands of five-star reviews compliment this one-size-fits-all bag, from its water-repellant capabilities to a larger-than-expected size and a built-in laptop sleeve if you’re getting your sweat on before or after work. The comfort of the straps is significantly better than cheaper brands, so you never have to worry about back or neck pain.
11. Hydracy 1-Liter Water Bottle with Time Marker
Most people can’t sustain themselves throughout a tough workout unless they have one important thing: water. Skip the Gatorade and invest in this sleek, leakproof water bottle that comes with a fruit infuser strainer. It holds up to 32 ounces of water and comes with a time marker, so you know when to sip and how to reach your daily water goals. The plastic is BPA-free and is extremely hygienic since there are no straws or hard-to-reach nooks and crannies.