41 GIFs to Convey how Good/Bad that Adventure Really Was

Being an outdoor person means being part of a subculture that’s not often understood by the mainstream. As soon as you fall into conversation with a fellow member of this exclusive club, though, you can relate to nearly experience they describe from the wild.

From desperately (over)extending our sport’s season to our pride at putting together a well-organized backpack, regular folks have reason to wonder at our quirky ways. But for all of us in this inner-circle, we get our weirdness — and we love swapping the adventure tales that cause others to scratch their heads.

However, in trying to convey the depth of our feelings when explaining, say, the frustration you felt while setting up a tent during a windstorm, words can fall flat. That’s where gifs come in: those little animated series of photos that display exaggerated movements and expressions and get to the heart of how we’re feeling.

Alas, our subculture may be a little too niche for such niceties; while regular folks get their pick of gifs to express everyday life, finding something that shows how it feels when you’ve hiked all day and no one wants to cook a hot meal is a little harder.  

It’s only right that the extent of our emotions, dreams, and failures in the outdoors get some visual love, too. The following is a smattering gifs, representing the way you might feel in various outdoor situations, ready to supplement your tweets, texts, and Facebook ramblings.

1. When your friend is going on an adventure and you’re not:

2. But when you’re the one going:

3. When you take your dog outdoors:

4. When someone takes you outdoors:

5. When deliberating which essentials to pack:

6. What you think the trip will be like:

7. And how you anticipate that family trip:

8. And the wildlife interactions you envision:

9. When you’re at work dreaming of a weekend ride:

10. Then the weekend comes and you get the heck out of the office and onto the trail:

11. But then you realize you overpacked:

12. And your trail partner wants to stop and study everything:

13. When you forget about that extra weight on your back:

14. When you’re trying to demonstrate the wonders of the outdoors to your teen:

15. But you’re not sure you’re actually getting anywhere on that trail:

16. So you keep telling yourself:

17. When you finally summit and cross off that major bucket list item:

18. At camp, you’re setting up your new tent for the first time:

19. Or you’re trying to set up your tent and it’s windy:

20. Or another group tries to take your camp spot:

21. And how you feel after you get camp set up:

22. What you think your campfire will be like:

23. But one match at a time doesn’t seem to be cutting it:

24. Of course, then this guy steps in, breaking your pride completely:

25. And all this time, you’re growing more hangry after backpacking all day and find no one’s started dinner:

26. When the food is finally ready and someone passes you your bowl:

27. When you hear noises outside your tent:

28. What you think when you hear noises outside your tent:

29. Then you finally get back to sleep but for the third night on the trail, your camp mate starts snoring:

30. And you realize you’re sleeping on a slope:

31. When you forget to zip your bag overnight and find a surprise has crawled in:

32. And after your third day in and the weather’s not cooperating — on purpose:

33. But then there’s always that one person making the best of it — even after three days stuck in the tent:

34. And this whole trip was about trying to introduce your significant other to the magic of the outdoors:

35. So then you need to summarize a trip gone wrong:

36. What it feels like after a short jaunt on the local trail after coming home from that long backpacking trip:

37. Or those times in winter, when you’re not the one breaking trail:

38. When you finally get to the downhill:

39. Right before you faceplant:

40. When you’re determined, come what may, to extend your season:

41. But no matter how it went in any of these scenarios, you always come home like:

About the Author


Gina Begin

Although she’s a Florida girl, exploration called her away after the final bell of her high school career. Over the years, she has been consumed with skiing, climbing, kayaking, mountain biking and getting lost on back roads. When she's not playing the part of a photojournalist, Gina can be found collaborating with women worldwide through her nonprofit, Outdoor Women's Alliance, and working to improve her outdoor skills and wilderness safety certifications.