Where to Buy Great Gear for Outdoor Adventures in Music City

You want to have the right gear when you go explore Nashville's nature.

The birds are singing, the azaleas are blooming, but the humidity isn't yet oppressive and the mosquitos are still MIA. Yes! This is the best time of year to be outside in Music City.

Hiking, biking, paddling, running, you name it, Nashville offers it. Nashville doesn't always get the credit for outdoor activities that our neighbor to the south (Chattanooga), we have lots of opportunities to commune with nature. Whether you're a hard-core outdoors enthusiast or more of a casual greenway stroller, a group fitness fan, or a solo explorer, there's an option for you.

And, you know what that means, lots of opportunities (excuses?) to buy new outdoor gear. You don't need to go to a big box shop or buy online. There are locals who know their stuff and are ready to help. Here are three of the best places to shop for the great outdoors in Music City.

LifeView Outdoors: This isn't just a blink-and-you'll-miss-it kind of location. This is a I-had-no-idea-there-was-a-store-there kind of location. LifeView is location on Logan, off of Thompson Lane, near, but not quite in Berry Hill. But once you find this off-the-beaten track shop, you'll be glad you did. LifeView has run its online commerce operations from this location for years and now has a retail shop with thousands of products and lots of brands for fending off the elements while getting outdoors.

The Craghopper brand, which has drying loops and insect and sun protection, plus Kavu, Chacos, Marmot, Hydroflask and one of the largest collections of Kuhl in Tennessee.

Cumberland Transit. Since 1971 Cumberland Transit has been a mainstay for the city's outdoor elite. There are now two locations, one on West End near Vanderbilt and the other in East Nashville. Brands stocked include Eno, Patagonia and Nalgene. The East Nashville shop looks small on square footage, but you'll be surprised how much stuff you can find in the small space. Check out the programming Cumberland Transit offers, including a fly fishing introduction on May 7.

Mountain High Outfitters. For those in the suburbs, MHO's Franklin location is the place to find running, camping, yoga and other outdoor gear, from brands like OtterBox and GoPro. A southern outdoor chain, Mountain High sponsors a number of free and paid outdoor events throughout the year.

Hook 1 Outfitters. If you're on the north side, and if you have an interest in all things relating to kayak fishing, Hook1 is your slice of outdoor heaven. The shop is stocked with whatever you need to reel 'em in and staff who knows the best fishing holes and other secrets.

FlySouth. As its name suggests, this Midtown shop is the place to get ready for fly fishing escapades. Workshops on tying flies and other basics are also offered.

Need some buddies to explore with? We'll be posting round-ups of outdoor activities all summer long. But a great place to start is this weekend's Cumberland River Paddlefest, sponsored by Paddle Adventures Unlimited. This is a free event at Old Hickory Park, with music and free demos of canoes, kayaks and paddleboards. It is also a great way to meet others who share your outdoor sensibilities.

Lightning 100's Team Green Adventures gets people away from their desks and moving all year, thanks to great partnerships across the city.  They do everything from forging to sand volleyball to paddleboarding.

Metro Parks' Outdoor Nashville division is the go-to for free local adventures.