Over four years ago REI debuted the the hashtag #OptOutside in protest of Black Friday. The term has become synonymous with hiking, backpacking, kayaking… really any activity that is outside. With over 13 million uses as of August 8, 2019 the trend isn’t slowing down. The outdoor movement is booming thanks to the power of beautiful photos and locations shared via Instagram—which presents an opportunity for all users to be educated on the realities of the outdoor movement.
Thousands flocked to fields in California this past spring to take selfies in fields of wildflowers not realizing the massive negative impacts their literal footprints would have on the land. National parks lands have been diminished by the Trump Administration, creating the potential for private companies to benefit but also damage the land for profit.
While it’s wonderful to spend time with loved ones outside and document those experiences, there is still a lot of education that needs to happen on how we can be better to our lands as well as the groups of people who came before us.
There are some badass women on IG who are leading the charge on how we can do and be better.
@jennybruso | @unlikelyhikers
Jenny is a writer who created the Instagram community, Unlikely Hikers to host group hikes for all peoples regardless of their identify, background, or body size. As she states on her website, “the outdoor industry and outdoors social media display a very narrow definition of who is ‘outdoorsy’ and that isn’t representative of most of us.” She encourages her followers to fill their feeds with diverse individuals and groups so their worldview can expand and improve.
If you love hiking, body positivity, and representation then you’ll want to be friends with Jenny ASAP!
Pattie Gonia is a backcountry drag queen with emphasis on the word QUEEN. Not only does she educate followers on how easy it is to pick up trash while out in nature (even in thigh-high patent leather boots), but she also has created an ally guide for those looking to better support the LGBTQ+ community. Pattie will make you laugh and cry with her stories.
If you love drag, advocacy, and not taking yourself too seriously then you’ll never be without with Pattie on your feed.
Kiona is the reality check that everyone needs. A child of immigrants, Kiona has been a world traveler all of her life. In her 20s, she began blogging about the “basic bitchness” that she witnessed while traveling. Her no holds, blunt way of sharing how harmful behaviors, peoples and perceptions can be intimidating at first, but necessary for anyone who wants to truly understand and respect the people, traditions and places that they’re traveling to.
If you love to learn about different cultures, traditions, and varied POVs from POC & LGTBQ communities then add Kiona to your daily ‘gram reading.
@abbihearne | @thehearnes
Abbi is an adventure photographer alongside her husband, Callen and dog, Charlie who lives part time in Moab and the other half in their big rig traveling the world taking photographers of insanely stunning weddings. Abbi is always looking to grow not just her follower’s understanding of Leave No Trace best practices but also her own impacts as an individual. She even calls herself an “imperfect outdoor advocate” and that transparency makes her even more relatable.
If you love photography, family and skydiving then you’ll need Abbi in your life.
@naturechola | @getout.stayout
Karen is a nonprofit founder whose smile lights up almost every post she shares. She is a proud Indigenous-Mexican that is working to reconnect indigenous-migrant children with the outdoors through hikes, camping trips and multi-day backpacking adventures. She has advocated for the accessibility and protection of public lands in D.C. and isn’t afraid to call out #whitewashed industries to do better.
If you love inclusion, authenticity, and transparency then click that “follow” button to reap the benefits of having Karen in your virtual life.
Brianna is a writer who lives with her husband and two fur-children Dagwood and Bucket in a bright orange van named Bertha. Based in the Salt Lake City area, this desert dwelling family has had their fair share of adventures—they go wherever the dogs can go. Brianna is a natural storyteller who wears her heart on her sleeve. She isn’t perfect and she doesn’t try to be.
If you love the desert, dogs, and down-to-earth folks then you won’t be disappointed by the Madias.