By now, we’ve all dissected and drooled over and been inspired by (and also as a marketer, I’ve been absolutely blown away by) REI’s fantastic #OptOutside campaign for Black Friday. I was thrilled to see them take such a stand to really encourage us all to spend time not around the TV or dinner table, but outdoors. It’s completely on brand for them so it makes sense – but it echoes what I’ve seen (and as you know, personally experienced) recently about a bigger push to slow things down, step away from our tech and simply be present outdoors.
Since I’ve been doing a lot more of all that, I wanted to share a few of the tools, groups and orgs that are making it ever easier to get outdoors safely either alone, with friends, or with a group of strangers:
- AllTrails – Invaluable app that allows you to suss out any trail before you go and download it to your phone so you’ve got it even when there is no cell service. I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve been lost on a trail and when I’ve been disciplined enough to download the app and my hike before I head out, it has always guided me back to my car. Especially good for parks and trails that have multiple routes out or if you are hiking with anyone who consistently asks “are we there yet?”
- Modern Hiker – Another great resource for finding hikes in your area, which ones allow dogs, what to look out for and what you can expect while you’re on the trail. I especially like the detailed notes for hikes that don’t have a ton of signage. You can tell every writer has actually hiked these hikes so you know you can follow their guidance for a safe hike every time.
- 52 Hike Challenge – This group, headed by the very inspiring Karla Macador, was started when Karla herself was going through serious life upheaval and change and found the only way through it was hiking. I feel that 100% and have been following along with her challenge to both herself and others to hike once a week in the span of one year. It is an amazing community and I’ve taken up the challenge as well. Check out their site, follow them on Insta, take the challenge and get outside every single week!
- Outdoor Women’s Alliance – Their entire mission is to empower women worldwide through outdoor adventures. There are local groups in many cities that host regular hikes. This is particularly great if you want to star hiking regularly (hello #52hikechallenge!) but you don’t want to go alone.
- REI Classes – When I first got back into hiking in a meaningful way, I hiked with friends often. Alone sometimes. But when I’d travel for work and didn’t know the area well, I wanted a group to hike with. Enter REI’s amazing classes and outings offering. You can hike with amazing women, learn to rock climb, kayak, you name it. All for very reasonable prices and all with great guides. Highly, highly recommended to spice things up a bit or gain new outdoor skills.
There are also a ton of amazing outdoor bloggers who I rely on for longer trips away (the best way to get that Mt. Whitney permit, can you really hike Half Dome with the cables down?, what is it like hiking the JMT?) and I’ll be sharing those soon. Would love to know what resources you are relying on as you #optoutside. Let me know!
(Image of a magical sunset at Jumbo Rocks, Joshua Tree – one of my favorite spots to camp!)