Get Outside, Connect and Keep your man card

Tossing, turning, and restless is an understatement to describe last night. I struggled to shut off my thoughts that were keeping me from a peaceful sleep. I knew there was only one way I would be able to settle my mind. I had to face my thoughts, realize what I was thinking was “okay,” and get them out in the open. Even if it means being labeled and/or losing my man card.

If you’re reading this and have stayed up to date on my blog posts and website you know we’re about connecting with others in the outdoors. Our mission is three part; Connect-Learn-Explore. The Connect part is at the forefront of what we’re about. We believe people aren’t connecting on deeper levels enough. We’ll show people our greatest hits on social media but never share the B-side.

Since launching HBF Outdoors, LLC. we have connected with hikers, backpackers, bushcrafters, and outdoor enthusiasts from Pennsylvania and across the country. This past weekend we held our Basic Compass Navigation Hike. Over 15 people attended to learn how to use a compass, navigate through the woods, and hike the beautiful Rock & Ridge Trail at Blue Knob State Park.

Between the attendance at the compass event as well those registering for upcoming events I took a deeper look at the connections we’re making and noticed something interesting. The ratio of men to women.

Today, more women are getting outdoors, involved in the outdoor community, and making a statement. And personally, I think it’s awesome! There was a time when the outdoors was marketed heavily towards men. The ruggedness of the outdoors was communicated as a man’s world. But times have changed and it’s long overdue. I am honored to have two women on the #LHX2018 team who are making an impact in their communities and inspiring other women to get outside. And as we look towards next year’s #CLX2019 we already have two women for the team and hoping to add more. Women are connecting in the outdoors and making a difference.

I started to wonder why more women than men were signing up to attend our events. So I decided to do some digging and discovered what, in my heart, I already knew. And if I’m honest, I already knew the answer because well…I’m a man. It’s simple, men aren’t connecting on a deeper level. Forming brotherhoods is a dying art.

It’s not that men aren’t getting outdoors. Simply look at Instagram and you’ll see we’re getting outside. Doing those rugged manly things that a true woodsman does, or at least some are giving it a try and learning. We’re chopping wood, building fires, building shelters and sipping whiskey by a campfire under a canopy of trees with our bros and buds. But what we’re not doing enough of is connecting on a personal level.

Now guys, before you decide to form a “man card removal posse” hear me out. Connecting with others in the outdoors is more than showing off your skills, bragging about your gear, and tearing into a seared steak with your bare hands. It’s more than fist bumps, grunts and a pissing contests (figuratively and literally). Connecting is also about knowing those you’re connecting with, in the outdoors. As men, we need to move past the superficial surface level connections. We need to be building deeper friendships and bonds with guys who will have our backs no matter what we face in life.

Connecting with others on a deeper level does not mean you’ll lose your man card. I’ll step out on a limb here and say, if you think connecting with other guys on a deeper level means the possibility of losing your man card…you never had it in the first place. Because opening up to others, sharing life, and walking with a bro or bud through a struggle is being a man. And connecting on a deeper level can also enhance our outdoor experiences.

Men for thousands of years have come together in intentional groups to sharpen each other in different ways. It’s through challenges from other men that we grow.

As men, we need to get back to forming brotherhoods. I’m not talking about the casual greeting we give so easily these days; “hey bro.” Brotherhoods can be the antidote we need for fatherlessness and depression. You don’t need blood-brother rituals, matching tattoos, or secret handshakes to create a brotherhood (not that any of those things aren’t cool). All you need is initiative and the right guys to connect to in the outdoors.

HBF Outdoors, LLC. is focused on connecting people to others in the outdoors to form a community and build relationships that impact, support, and change lives. So, guys, the truth is you won’t lose your man card because you think opening up and sharing life is not the manly thing to do. You’ll form a brotherhood that can last a lifetime.


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