Last updated April 6, 2020
Since we’re all hangin’ out at home these days, I figured I’d share some cool ways you can bring the outdoors into your home! It’s pretty awesome that you don’t have to physically go outside to enjoy the great outdoors. I’ve been using a lot of these tips for years to incorporate my love of nature into my everyday life — especially when I don’t get to explore as much as I’d like. Like right now.
There’s a lot of info here, so take it slow. You don’t want to binge everything all in one day. Not that you even could… I think? Anyways, what’re you waiting for? Let’s explore the great indoors!
PSA: If you do venture into the outdoors, make sure you’re doing it responsibly. A lot of harm can be done if we don’t safely explore.
Catch some sun
Okay guys, get ready. My absolute favourite way to bring the outdoors into my home is… wait for it… some good ol’ natural light! Seriously. It’s that simple. I hate feeling like I’m living in a dark cave — and our basement suite sure feels like that sometimes. There’s really nothing quite like opening up those blinds and letting the sunshine fill up your home! And don’t forget to let the breeze freshen up the air, too.
You can also take advantage of outdoor spaces around your home. I’m lucky to have a beautiful backyard to hang out in, maybe you do too? Or maybe you have a balcony or rooftop patio where you can chill, read a book, and catch some vitamin D. If all else fails, channel your inner feline and hang out in a sunny spot by an open window!
Have a picnic, go camping + get creative indoors
You know what’s fun? A picnic in your living room. You know what’s even more fun? Trying to set up your tent on your bed! While you’re at it, put on a nature documentary and position your tent right in front of the TV — you can pretend you’re camping high in the mountains. Backpacker Magazine is even streaming campfires on their Facebook page. It’s like the Yule Log but for us outdoorsy folk!
Use your imagination! The climbing community is getting really creative and using their furniture in place of the mountains. I’ve even seen some photographers creating miniature outdoor landscapes and it’s freaking’ cool!
So grab a beer, some games, and you’re all set for camping at Mt Living Room.
Read an outdoor book
It’s not surprising that reading is high on my list of simple ways to bring the outdoors into your home. Books are a great way to escape, to learn, and to connect with people (even if they are imaginary). You can easily practice social distancing without feeling alone.
I’m a pretty big bookworm. Actually, if I’m being honest, I used to be. I still love reading but, big surprise, life got in the way. Now that I’ve changed my career and we’re home a lot more, I’m making more time to rekindle that joy. I’ve bookmarked a ton of books, especially outdoor adventure ones! Of course, you can always read the books you already have. They might not be outdoor-related, but that’s okay.
- A Long Trek Home: 4,000 Miles by Boot, Raft and Ski by Erin McKittrick
- Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness by Edward Abbey
- Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
- Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart: An Adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail by Carrot Quinn
- Tracks by Robyn Davidson
- The Nature Fix by Florence Williams
- Rising: Becoming the First North American Woman on Everest by Sharon Wood
- Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide by Jill Homer
- Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
- Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Women Who Saved the Appalachian Trail by Ben Montgomery
- The Last Season by Eric Blehm
- Pure Land: A True Story of Three Lives, Three Cultures and the Search for Heaven on Earth by Annette McGivney
- Found: A Life of Mountain Rescue by Bree Loewen
- Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home by Heather Anderson
- Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes by Alastair Humphreys
- Gorge: My Journey Up Kilimanjaro at 300 Pounds by Kara Richardson Whitely
- Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail by Suzanne Roberts
Listen to an outdoor podcast
I admittedly hopped on the podcast train late — I only started listening to them a few months ago. Man, I was missing out! Podcasts are such an amazing way to be entertained and learn while you’re doing other things. Apple and Android have podcast apps, but you can also listen to the shows directly from the author’s website or streaming services like Spotify or Stitcher.
Here are some awesome outdoor podcasts you can listen to while hangin’ out at home:
Watch an outdoor movie or documentary
All hail Netflix, Prime, Disney+, YouTube… and all the others! There are obviously a ton of binge-worthy shows on TV, but next time you’re stuck in an endless scroll, grab this list. I’ve found a ton of outdoor movies, short films, and documentaries to keep you inspired and loving on the outdoors from your couch.
I haven’t watched all of these yet, but they’re on my list. Let me know what you think!
Feature-length outdoor movies
Short outdoor films
Plan future adventures
There’s only so much TV watching, reading, and podcasting you can do. I do love myself a good couch, but eventually, I need to do something productive. And what’s more productive than planning your future adventures? If you’re anything like me, you have a bucket list a mile (or two) long and it’s not getting any shorter.
Now’s the time to start looking into those amazing places you wanna visit. Besides coming up with an awesome plan, what a great way to have something to look forward to once this is all over! I dunno about you, but I always plan months (maybe even a year or more) out, so not being able to travel right now isn’t the worst. It just gives me time to scheme up some adventures.
Take this time to do some research. There are a ton of great blogs (that need your support more than ever right now, wink wink) and travel guides to check out. Hop on Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram to get inspired for the epic trip you’re planning. Figure out things like when the best season to visit and awesome things in the area. You could even start planning it out (if that doesn’t bum you out too much). You might not be able to book things right now, but if you have a plan you’ll have a great head start when you can.
TLC your gear
What’s another great way to bring the outdoors into your home? Glad you asked. Just pull out your gear and give it some TLC! You’ve probably been avoiding it (I know I have), but there’s no time like the present to make sure it’s all in tip-top shape. It’ll probably take up your entire living room and the entire afternoon. That’s what we all want, right?
So give your boots a wash, clean your sleeping bag, and learn to patch the hole in your puffy. And it never hurts to organize your gear, either. Maybe next time you’re looking for something you can actually find it — I’m not talking from experience…
While you’re caring for all your gear, you might realize you want/need some more. If you can afford it, this is a great time to stock up on your gear. Even though many outdoor retailers have closed their physical stores, they’re still up and running online. And many are offering great deals! Some of my favourite places to gear up are MEC, REI, Backcountry, Atmosphere, United by Blue, The North Face, Columbia, Marmot, and Patagonia. And of course, there’s a lot more, but that was already a mouthful.
If you wanna support brands that are giving back, you check out my article where I dive deep into what some of my favourite outdoor brands are up to.
If you want to learn some new outdoor skills, now’s a perfect time! There are a lot of hard skills that you can learn from home. For example, do you know how to use a compass, read a topo map, set up a lean-to, or use a basic first aid kit? Or wanna brush up on your photography? There are lots of great online courses where you can learn about pretty much anything under the sun! Or if you wanna keep it as affordable as possible, there are a ton of great blogs and YouTube videos to teach you.
I won’t lie. I’m an online course junkie. So it’s not surprising that I’m using this time to educate myself on a ton of subjects. I’m expanding my outdoor skills, as well as my business knowledge.
No matter your outdoor experience, it never hurts to brush up on your skills and learn something new.
Love on your houseplants + garden
My final tip to bring the outdoors into your home is through houseplants and gardening. It might seem obvious, but it’s an amazing way to love on the outdoors when you aren’t physically in them.
I haven’t gardened since I was a kid, but this is the year I’m getting back into it. We wanted to do it even before the virus hit, but it makes even more sense now. I love nurturing and watching my plants grow and it’s so easy to do from home. And the great part? You can get started with them inside! You can even use all those millions of toilet paper rolls to start your garden. Soon you’ll have a jungle in your living room.
I hope you can make the best of exploring the great indoors by bringing the outdoors into your home. No matter how you do it, though, make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Don’t forget to chat with friends and family and take some time to do what’s best for you. It’s a strange time and we’re all learning how to manage it together.