This article was produced in partnership with Columbia Sportswear
Weekends are precious for outdoor adventurers: They’re a respite from the hectic schedules of the workweek and a chance to slow down and enjoy nature. Just ask Yassine Diboun and Willie McBride, Columbia ambassadors and co-owners of Wy’east Wolfpack, a Portland, OR-based organization dedicated to helping people stay active and connect with the outdoors. Diboun and McBride are both accomplished endurance athletes—check out Lowest to Highest, a film by Kirk Horton profiling one of their FKT attempts. But in addition to chasing FKTs, they’re passionate about helping people from all walks of life discover the joy and value of outdoor exploration.
“There’s always going to be more work to do,” Diboun tells Men’s Journal, “so I think it’s important to carve out these times where you can just get out and get after it.”
For Diboun and McBride, getting outside brings all kinds of benefits. That includes physical ones, like improved fitness, as well as mental ones, like learning to push past challenges and giving your mind time to wander.
“Getting out to these places on a regular basis is just like a sanctuary for me,” says Diboun.
A Little Exploration Yields Big Benefits
Whether they’re pushing themselves to the limit in a long-distance ultrarun or coaching clients at Wy’East Wolfpack, Diboun and McBride’s work illustrates the restorative benefits of time spent outdoors. Anyone can reap those benefits, no matter what your experience level is. Here’s a closer look at some of the rewards you can look forward to, whether you’re hitting the trail or exploring your local park.
It Keeps You Healthy: No matter how you choose to spend time outside—running, cycling, kayaking, or just walking to the grocery store instead of driving—you’re giving a boost to your health. Working your muscles through outdoor exercise is one benefit, but Diboun and McBride emphasize that moving your body helps your brain and your spirit, too. Stepping away from screens and getting outdoors can help you feel recharged, refreshed, and ready for whatever’s next on your agenda.
It Helps You Overcome Adversity: When you embark on a tough day hike or a challenging bike ride—or whatever your chosen outdoor activity may be—you have to dig deep and push through the difficulties to achieve your goal. Reaching the summit or hitting your mileage goal is one reward, but in the process, you achieve something even more important: the mental toughness to go beyond your comfort zone in pursuit of a greater aim. That perseverance will help you handle adversity in all kinds of situations, both on and off the trail. At Wy’East Wolfpack, Diboun and McBride teach being “comfortable with discomfort,” and it’s a skill everyone needs in order to accomplish their goals. Spending time in nature is a great way to develop it.
It’s Fun: This one’s obvious but important. Being outdoors is an ideal way to leave the demands of work and routines behind and let loose. That can mean different things for different people: skinning up a mountain in search of pristine powder, for example, or tossing around a Frisbee at the park on a sunny afternoon. No matter how you choose to recreate, making time for fun is essential for a happy, balanced life.
It Shifts Your Perspective: Cascading waterfalls, soaring mountain peaks, serene forests, vast deserts—the earth is full of wonders, and getting outside is the best way to experience them. But there’s more to it than just seeing the sights; spending time in nature and experiencing the earth’s everyday marvels firsthand is humbling, invigorating, and a powerful reminder that you, too, are a part of nature. Stepping away from the manmade world and enjoying the dirt under your feet is the best way to strengthen that connection.
It Fosters Community: The outdoors offer plenty of solitude, but getting involved in outdoor activities is also a great way to meet people. That’s a big reason why Diboun and McBride founded Wy’East Wolfpack: To help more people from all walks of life build stronger connections with nature and experience the joy of outdoor activity. Getting outside is even better when you’re sharing the trail with others, and building a bond with nature isn’t the only connection you’ll make—you’ll make new friends along the way, too.
The Gear to Get You There
When it comes to outdoor adventure, your gear shouldn’t stand in your way. It should help you go farther and stay comfortable, so you can focus on the trip rather than the clothing you’re wearing to get there. Whether they’re heading out for a multi-day backcountry journey, coaching clients, or enjoying a day hike, Columbia’s Silver Ridge Utility Collection can help you achieve your goals.
The Utility Lite Longsleeve and Utility Lite Plaid Longsleeve shirts offer built-in Omni-Shade UPF 50 sun protection and double chest pockets for convenient storage on the trail or in transit, and the Utility Pant features a moisture wicking, two-way stretch fabric for maximum comfort. Better yet, these shirts and pants have a classic, laid-back look that makes them easy to wear on a hike, while relaxing in a city park, or wherever the journey takes you.
With these dependable apparel essentials on your packing list, you’ll have your clothing situation handled. That means you can experience the real value of the adventure: reflecting, pushing yourself, and enjoying the natural beauty around you.
Check out the video above to learn more about Diboun and McBride’s philosophy on weaving outdoor exploration into everyday life—and how with the right attitude (and the right gear), you can make it a bigger part of your life, too.