Three simple outdoor guidelines


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Over the years, many outdoor “experts” will state what rules there are for the outdoors.

Lists to take, techniques to perform, etiquette that must always be adhered to and gear to acquire.

Rules as absolutes.

Rather. I’ve found that there are three simple guidelines to follow that are helpful. They seem to hold up in all situations for the outdoors.

Works for me anyway.

  • Be safe

That does not mean to avoid performing outdoor activities that push the envelope, but to do so within your own skills levels , within the environment appropriately and with the appropriate planning, logistics and calculated risks understood.

I am a solid 5.6 climber when following. I would not attempt The Diamond nor would I free-solo any of the FlatIrons.   On the other hand,  I am comfortable backpacking off-trail, performing third class scrambling and can read a map reasonably well. Backing solo in these conditions are perfectly safe for me; may not be for others.

Be smart about it and go on the trips that are safe for you.

  • Be courteous of others and their experience

Basically: Don’t let your fun impact on other’s enjoyment of the outdoors

Enjoy music on the trail? Cool. Perhaps use some air buds.

Want to make a phone call to a loved one? A polite thing is to do so discretely and perhaps not at a scenic overlook.

Love to ride some sweet single track? Awesome. Ride where it is allowed and be courteous to fellow trail users.

Have a dog? Keep it on leash where leash laws are mandated esp in a very crowded trail area.

I have had hunters thank me when safety orange is worn.

Don’t have the proper gear, training of experience for an outdoor activity? Get a friend to come along or modify your plans so the SAR groups don’t have to come and get you out.

Hunting season? Wear some safety orange so hunters can see you properly.

You get the idea.

As the old libertarian nugget goes:   “Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins.”

Applies for a lot of life, too.

  • Have fun

Another loose definition.

Pushing the limits physically is something many people enjoy.

Others like to saunter and take many breaks by lakes or scenic overlooks.

Both are great because it is something people enjoy doing.

Checking a box off a list and being miserable about it? With limited free time, life is too short to be doing something that is not enjoyed on any level. Unless you find that fun, of course. 🙂

Hiking a steep talus field can be fun!


Just some guidelines I’ve found useful over the years.

Maybe they’ll work for you.

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Jarrett Morgan
6 years ago

Great guidelines. I think people would do well to have these in the back of their minds. Another guideline I try to follow is be calm. I love being out in nature and firmly believe there aren’t a lot of reasons to leave a calm state.