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With more and more Americans living in cities, making an effort to get out into nature is increasingly important. Green spaces help us cope better with stress, anger, and sadness.
Some studies have even found that being in nature improves mood and mental function. Plus, walking and hiking are great forms of low-impact exercise. Simply being out in the sun ups your vitamin D levels, and climbing uphill gets your heart pumping. Even a 10-minute walk after meals can help regulate your blood sugar.
Challenge yourself to unplug and head off the beaten path for an hour, a day, or even a week if you have it! We’ve curated these videos to inspire you to take some incredible hikes in the great outdoors.
The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide
Believe it or not, professional hiking is a thing, and Andrew Skurka is a “supreme long-distance hiker.” Budding extreme hiking enthusiasts can look to Skurka for advice on what you need to survive in the wilderness for two weeks. He also clocks the weight in his pack, since every ounce counts on those long stretches. This video is a teaser for his book, which covers the skills and tools to make your trek successful.
Protect Boulder-White Clouds
The pristine landscapes in America are worth cherishing. This video by the Sierra Club highlights the natural beauty of Idaho’s Boulder-White Clouds. The video explains why the area needs protecting, especially now with protections designating it as a national monument being in danger. There’s never been a better time to support conserving these lands for future generations and visiting our parks.
Liz Thomas American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day
National Trails Day is an amazing chance to try out so many different activities in the wilderness. These include hiking and trail running, but also some less accessible sports, like canoeing and horseback riding. Liz Thomas shares why giving back to these routes is so important to her. Check out the video and then visit nationaltrailsday.org to learn how you can join the 150,000 annual participants.
5 Ways to Get Into Your Tent Bug-Free
Leave No Trace wants you to do just that: Enjoy nature, leaving it as beautiful as you found it. Watch their cheeky video for some goofy suggestions on how to prevent bugs from sneaking into your tent with you. Then read their short blog post, which offers some handy tips on minimizing critters in the rest of your campsite.
Outward Bound in the Pacific Northwest
Outward Bound challenges you to push past your fears and venture to new heights. If the sense of pride radiating from their students after summiting a peak is any indication, the organization achieves that goal. This video shows that there’s really something for everyone in the Pacific Northwest. The vistas will fill you with awe and leave your heart calling for the great outdoors.
REI Trailheads: You Should Really Try Backpacking!
Newbie backpackers may find this REI expert video handy before heading out into the wild. The video acts as a crash course in backpacking must-haves and must-dos (or mustn’t dos). REI’s guide integrates tips from Leave No Trace and Ten Essentials, and also explains important issues, like how to “go” responsibly on the trail, and how to store food safely in your campsite.
The Search for Winter
You don’t have to be stuck indoors for the winter. There are some amazing outdoor cold-weather sports and activities that beckon loyalists to journey in search of snow. This video from Backcountry follows a group of skiers as they leave summer behind and head south to the remote, snow-capped mountains of Chile. The untouched winterscape begs you to come explore.
Wilderness Medicine: Usable Knee Brace
Injuries in remote locations are serious business. And if you’re truly isolated in the wilderness, you can’t necessarily rely on your cell phone to call for help. Staying mobile can help you get to medical professionals faster. This video from the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Wilderness Medicine Institute shows you how to create a usable knee brace. The brace has support but offers flexibility so that you can still walk. It’s well worth the two and a half minutes to watch!
Pack Packing: How to Pack a Backpack
As the field staffing director and a senior field instructor for NOLS, Marco Johnson knows his stuff. Johnson gives you a thorough rundown of how to pack your backpack. Each aspect of his packing has a purpose. Watch him demonstrate the ABCs (accessibility, balance, compression) as he puts it all together in real time.
Richard Louv on the Sense of Wonder
Richard Louv is a journalist and author who explores the link between nature and a child’s sense of wonder. Louv makes the point that by engaging less with the outdoors, children are losing their sense of wonder. If this video sparks your interest, visit Louv’s site to learn more about the importance of helping children embrace nature.
The North Face: Alex Honnold in Yosemite
Alex Honnold is a legend in the climbing world. In this video, The North Face tags along with Honnold to Yosemite’s Half Dome. In 2008, Honnold became the first person to summit the Regular Northwest Face without any safety equipment — like ropes! He’s since gone on to break other records. This included the rope-less summit of El Capitan, which stunned the climbing community. Watch to see Honnold in action and get a glimpse into his psyche, including a freak-out near the top of his climb.