Reignite your love of being outdoors


From paddleboarding to swimming, camping to hammocking, there’s plenty for anyone hoping to start a new outdoor hobby. Just pick your favorite and get started!

Are there certain hobbies that have become increasingly popular in recent years?

Since the summer of 2020, water sports trends such as stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), kayaking and open water swimming have been growing in popularity across Northern Ireland. With an easily accessible shoreline and a lively social aspect that spills over into a club scene, the open water trend is set to continue.

Staycations have played a big part in the increasing popularity of camping and the discovery of the great outdoors, from people wanting a touch of adventure in their gardens at home, to others wanting to explore the many beautiful places we can visit across Northern Ireland have, rediscovered. Many hit the road, pitched up, gambled and enjoyed nights of adventure camping under the stars.

Other sports that have increased in popularity include fishing, golf and archery. Both fishing and golf offer time to escape from life’s stresses while providing much-needed relaxation, while archery – especially gentle archery – brings a sense of childlike joy and the opportunity to hit a perfect ten to become a backyard superhero to become for the day.

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Why do you think these particular hobbies are interesting?

Lockdown gave people time to reflect and rekindle their passion for the outdoors and experiencing sport. From a simple walk in the woods to playing Frisbee in the backyard with family and friends, exercise is no longer just about improving our physical health – many of us are now embracing new sports and fitness activities for mental health and that wellbeing. As attendees reap the benefits and share their experiences with others now, we expect current trends to continue into 2023.

Are there any unusual hobbies for which Decathlon provides equipment?

We offer more than 70 different sports, so there are always new sports to discover. A newer sport that comes to mind is pickleball. Not only is pickleball an extremely fun word, but it’s also a fun sport. A sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes is a great introductory sport.

Other lesser-known hobbies include hammocks. This activity is simply defined as setting up your hammock anywhere you like with a friend or group of people and just hanging out, napping, relaxing and being together in their respective hammocks. The benefits of this are similar to those of forest bathing, an activity that provides time for stress relief and relaxation.

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How important is the right equipment?

The right gear can often make the difference in enjoying and continuing your chosen sport, with the smallest pieces of equipment often making the biggest impact.

From finding the right socks, insoles or shoes for running, to finding a spare inner tube or pump for cycling, the small pieces of the puzzle are often the most important. Our team in store are experts in their sport and together with an informative website we make sure you get the right gear.

Does equipment have to be expensive?

In a world where sport has the potential to give so much, delivering innovative, enticing and high-performing products at prices that everyone can afford is not a job, it’s our mission.

How well informed is the Decathlon team on new equipment etc.?

Our team participates in seasonal product training courses that are sport specific to the department they work in. The training can be completed virtually; However, it is preferred if teams receive hands-on training on how to use the product. Recently our mountaineering department attended a product training session at Castle Ward where they put our camping gear to the test. The team invited a national product trainer from our in-house brand, Quechua, to brief them on each camping product while they enjoyed a weekend of camping under the stars.

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Our bicycle department, which includes a state-of-the-art workshop, is also regularly trained. Most recently, three members of the team attended Cytech training, the bicycle industry’s recognized training and accreditation system for bicycle mechanics. Through ongoing training for our teams, both locally and nationally, our team remains knowledgeable and ready to assist you in answering your equipment and safety related questions.

What types of nutrition-related products does Decathlon offer?

When it comes to being active, it’s important to take care of yourself. Our nutrition and body care brand Aptonia offers everything you need to take care of your body before, during and after exercise. From nutritional supplements to recovery and rehabilitation products, discover a wide range in store and online to make your active activities feel better, whatever they are.

Decathlon, Holywood Exchange Shopping Centre, Belfast; 028 9691 0080; www.decathlon.co.uk



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