Outdoor enthusiasts flock to the NEC for outdoor inspiration

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The National Outdoor Expo held Saturday 18th Sunday 19th March at the NEC Birmingham, saw over 20,000 outdoor enthusiasts attend the second edition of the event in partnership with Ordnance Survey.

Immersing themselves in the best that the outdoor industry has to offer visitors came face-to-face with the famous faces who inspire and motivate them to live a healthy, active and sustainable lifestyle in the great outdoors.

The show’s two stages played host to experts and adventurers from across the world of outdoor pursuits including Ben Fogle, Helen Skelton, Julia Bradbury, Hamza Yassin, Darren Edwards, Ray Mears and Alastair Humphreys, entertaining packed theatres with the highs, lows, achievements and failures from a life spent outdoors.

Visitors spent the weekend making the most of the Expos’ watersports offering on Pendigo Lake from NOWCA, BOTE and Red Paddle Co. Budding climbers tested their skills on the Climbing wall sponsored by Salewa, Wildcountry and Evolv and learned bushcraft skills with Explore Our Nature. Cadac Dometic provided a popular campsite cooking feature and Mountain Rescue England and Wales were on hand teaching visitors essential mountain safety and first aid.

Visitors were able to shop their favourite brands, get the latest kit and tech and discuss their requirements with the experts. Top brands including Ordnance Survey, Valley and Peak, Rooster, Salomon, Craghoppers, Vango, Tentbox and Preppers Shop ensured visitors found the right kit for them. Visitor surveys indicate that the event will have contributed over £9 million in terms of visitor retail, with average spend at nearly £400 per attendee.


The team at The Outdoor Guide ensured that visitor’s outdoor accessibility needs were met and provided expert advice on how to make the most of time spent outdoors. Waterproofs and Wellies ambassador and children’s TV presenter, Gemma Hunt, returned to the expo and presented Raccoon Media Group CEO, Mike Seaman, with a certificate in recognition of the contribution the company has made to the charity.


Working with Earth Runs (an organisation that encourages people to get active by rewarding them by planting trees), the National Outdoor Expo has planted 3,500 trees to support over 1 million mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians with a legacy of between 75-100 years. Once fully grown the carbon offset is expected to offset 35,000kg of CO2e per year. Working in partnership with Cloud Massage the expo will see 34 trees being planted in a deforested region of Kenya, 159 Ethiopian nursery school children receiving meals and provision of 540 days access to literacy education to girls in India


Raccoon’s mission to be zero-carbon by 2025 was also a focus at the show with visitors and exhibitors heavily encouraged to consider the environment with their attendance. Many visitors opted to offset their carbon footprint with the Ecolibrium Trees+ initiative and as a result carbon footprint has reduced by 25% from 20kg CO2e per visitor in 2022 to 15kg CO2e per visitor in 2023.

Esther Beal, Event Director at The National Outdoor Expo commented: “The feedback we have had after this weekend’s event has been incredible and we are delighted to have created an event that offers something for everyone. We witnessed passions being ignited for a huge range of outdoor activities and we cannot wait to return to the NEC next year for an even bigger and better show.”

The National Outdoor Expo will return on 23-24 March 2024, tickets will go on sale on 23rd September 2023. To be notified when tickets go on sale register for the Expo’s newsletter.