Access to adventure: Lakewood couple launches store with secondhand outdoor retail, nature workshops

From the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to the Lake Erie, Northeast Ohio is bursting at the seams with outdoor adventures. But partaking in the North Coast’s outdoor scene isn’t always easy. Kayaking, surfing, climbing, and backpacking require skills and gear—both of which typically come with a high price tag.

But Lakewood residents Josh Scott and Hannah Kelling are poised to change that with their recent launch of The Cleveland Outpost, a Rocky River-based shop selling used and new gear with the ethos “adventure for all.”

<span class="content-image-text">Sales help Cleveland Outpost host workshops on topics like outdoor photography and backpacking.</span>Sales help Cleveland Outpost host workshops on topics like outdoor photography and backpacking.The duo opened shop doors at 1328 Linda St. this past summer—originally due to open on March 15 but delayed until June 1 during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic—but they cooked up the Cleveland Outpost plans long before that.

Scott, who thru-hiked the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail in 2016, and Kelling, an American Canoe Association level-two kayak instructor, are well-versed in the outdoor adventure scene. Their goals for the shop go beyond gear sales—they want to share their firsthand knowledge while making outdoor adventure activities accessible and welcoming.

“We’re targeting beginner-level adventurers and also people [who] feel they’re excluded from the outdoors,” says Scott. “We’re open supporters and allies of the LGBTQ community, and we know people of color have long been underrepresented in the outdoor scene. We plan on being not only a safe space, but a celebratory space. This starts by lowering the price of gear.”

The Cleveland Outpost sells a mix of 80% used equipment and 20% new gear. Donated gear is resold at no more than 60% the original retail value, and a portion of proceeds go toward outdoor organizations.

Patrons can also sell their gear for consignment through the Outpost, or opt for a gear-swap for store credit. Scott and Kelling accept items large and small, from kayaks to camp stoves—It’s truly a “the more, the merrier” mentality.

“Some of the coolest gear we get are these little pieces that people can buy for $5, like a stove or cooking pots,” says Scott. “The more gear people bring in the faster we can grow, and we like it this way because we want Cleveland to be in charge of our growth rather than investors.”

Gear sales are the tentpole of the Cleveland Outpost’s business model, but Scott says his main passion lies in community building.

<span class="content-image-text">Hannah Kelling and Josh Scott of The Cleveland Outpost.</span>Hannah Kelling and Josh Scott of The Cleveland Outpost.Sales help Cleveland Outpost host workshops on topics like outdoor photography and backpacking. Local experts lead these soon-to-launch workshops, which will include classroom and in-the-field curricula, followed by an online community for workshop graduates.

The planned workshop series is just one way Scott and Kelling are making “adventure for all” more than just a tag line by making adventure more accessible to all as well.

“If you allow someone into a sport like kayaking, and you do it in a way that this person who never thought they had access to a sport like kayaking—which is arguably a fairly privileged activity—then all of the sudden you have someone interested in the water, and you have someone interested in the waterways and protecting them,” argues Scott. “Also, when you make something accessible for one person, it becomes accessible for more people.”

To learn more about The Cleveland Outpost’s workshops, gear inventory, and local events, including virtual “folk Friday” concerts with local artists, follow the shop’s Facebook and Instagram pages, or visit the website.