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Black Friday…one of the biggest days of the year for retailers, in North America at least. You’ve likely already seen many of the Black Friday advertisements in your email inbox, newspaper flyers, favourite websites and social media feeds. Seemingly every business is jumping on board and joining the consumerist buying frenzy. Sure, we all love a great deal, but it seems to be getting out of hand. Like many other holiday sale events (ie. Boxing Day), many retailers are trying to capitalize as much as possible by extending their Black “Friday” sale into an entire week-long event.

rei black friday optoutside we are wildness

Not all retailers are following this trend though. Outdoor gear giant, REI has opted out of Black Friday, and is closing the doors of  their 143 stores on Friday November 27th and paying their employees to go outside in a campaign they’ve called #OptOutside. That’s a lot of revenue lost nationwide, and a strong statement in a retail world driven by sales. However, it seems as though people will still be able to make purchases through their website…albeit without any Black Friday deals. (please correct us if you know otherwise). They are also encouraging people to get outdoors into nature and take a photo and tag it #optoutside much like we do with our #rewildyourlife and #wildphotochallenge events.

What do you think? A brilliant marketing scheme by REI, or a genuine protest against the Black Friday madness? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Buy Nothing Day is widely promoted as an alternative to the indulgent consumerism of Black Friday, and has been gaining more and more awareness over the years. Regardless of if you will be making any purchases this Friday, I encourage you to get outside and enjoy this beautiful planet we live on. Here are 5 things you can do instead of shopping this Black Friday:

Go camping!

If you have to work this Friday, you can still plan a weekend camping trip and take off after work. Yes, the daylight hours are getting shorter, and it may be cooler this time of year, but Fall camping (or Spring if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere) can be one of the best times of the year for camping, so long as you’re prepared, and stay warm. That leads us into #2…

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Visit a park

If you live in the U.S., many state parks have chosen to waive any fees on Black Friday. It might be a way to save some money on this weekend’s camping trip you might be planning. Here’s more info about the state park free days from The Gear Junkie:

leo carrillo state park malibu california

Leo Carrillo State Park, Malibu, California

Cleanup your favorite spot

Is there any trash at your favorite beach, trail, camping spot, park etc.? Give back to the planet and make the spot more enjoyable for everyone by picking up the trash there and recycling whatever can be recycled. This group of wild ones from Vancouver Island got together to clean up the local wilderness.  on Instagram – “We make garbage look cool. Felt good today to drive into a remote lake where others felt it was ok to leave a mess behind. All this plus another truck full not in this photo.

A photo posted by Chris Istace (@stasher_bc) on

Make something / Learn a new skill

What if you could make something you needed instead of buying it? Okay so most of us can’t make our own smartphones, or big screen tv’s, but we can make many things instead of buying them (clothes, food, furniture, art, jewelry, etc.). No purchase can match the satisfaction of making something with your own two hands. Handmade items also make great gifts. Homesteading and wildcrafting skills have been mostly lost by our society, but there is a growing movement to re-learn these skills. If you want to make something, and you don’t know how yet, take the time to do some research and practice this Friday. There are many great resources online, in books, and you can also look for local classes and workshops.


angelo becomingwildman carving spoon

Photo by @becomingwildman on Instagram #bushcraft

Donate to a cause you believe in

Rather than giving your money to corporations this Friday, why not donate to an organization you believe in. Maybe there’s been a cause you’ve been thinking about supporting for a while now. Friday would be a great day send some money their way and support the work they’re doing. If you like the work we do at We Are Wildness we have a Patreon page setup where you can support our project here:

Hopefully, you find these ideas an enjoyable alternative to facing the crowds this Friday, or shopping from behind your screen.

Kevin Park

Kevin Park

Kevin is the Co-Visionary of We Are Wildness with his partner Alissa Wild. He is also Co-Director of We Are Wildness University and the Nature Based Business Network. He's a certified personal trainer and is passionate about teaching natural fitness, natural nutrition, helping other nature-based businesses and living a more nature-connected lifestyle.