Mar 26, 2020

Getting Your Outdoor Fix, Without Leaving Home

With “social distancing”, “isolation”, and “quarantine” quickly becoming the most used words in our vocabulary, a lot of us find ourselves longing for the outdoors more than ever.


Sarah Smith

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With climbing gyms closed, provincial and state parks sealed off from the public, and strong urges to stay inside the house, we’re all bound to get a little stir crazy, if you haven’t already. I’m going to try to give you a few tips and tricks to get your daily dosage of the outdoor life, without having to venture outside your own home.

The recent releases of documentaries like The Dawn Wall and Free Solo have helped shoot climbing up the scale of popularity. On a mild summer day, local crags are often packed with climbers eagerly waiting for their turn on the wall. When the weather turns cold or wet, indoor gyms are used to help climbers hone their skills, expel some energy, and hang out with friends. This pandemic has unfortunately led to a lot of temporary closures of the climbing gyms and outdoor crags we love. So how can someone in isolation still get their climbing fix? Well if you spend any time on Facebook or Instagram, you’ve seen the videos of people climbing their kitchen cabinets! Get out your shoes, rope and some quick draws and set up a little circuit right in your own kitchen.

If that’s not quite for you, a lot of people have taken the next step and built little walls in their backyard. Of course, in order to do this, you need a few more materials, like proper wood, tools, crash pads, and something that at least resembles holds. The extra time and work needed to put into it would definitely pay off in the long run, and by the time we’re allowed back out into the world, your climbing skills will be sharp as ever.

If climbing isn’t your thing, there are still plenty of other options to get the feel of the outdoors from right inside your home. If you’re more of a cyclist and getting pretty bored of watching regular TV on the stationary bike, you could try using Youtube for some virtual cycling videos. You can pedal through the mountains in your own basement. Put the fan in front of your face and just like that you can feel the outdoors without even leaving your house.

Spending so long indoors can make you go crazy.

These suggestions may sound great for the solo isolator, but they don’t really help those isolating with family. If you’re struggling to keep the kids entertained without using screens to do it, this last idea might be for you. With lots of provincial and state parks shutting down, camping is not really much of an option. Luckily, you can still have the camping experience inside your own house. Move the furniture out of the way, pitch the tent in the living room and bring in the sleeping bags. Bring in some board games and cards, throw on some music, and make s’mores in the oven. If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard you can pitch your tent out there to really immerse yourself in the experience. Regardless, put the screens down for the night and settle in for a little adventure at home with your family.

These are very trying times for many of us. Spending time in the outdoors, doing activities that we love is often our only escape, and without that, many of us find ourselves struggling to get through this. I urge you to change up your routine and try something new, even if it feels silly. If we all stay inside, we can get through this quickly and painlessly. So have fun, stay safe, and stay active.

Cover photo: Himraj Soin, Producer & Co-Founder of The OutdoorJournal has set up a tent in his back garden.