How to Document Your Hike

When you’re hiking in a place that might never be the same, make sure you bring home a story you can share.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Don’t fear the blank page.

Write as if you’re recounting the day to a friend on the phone. Start with a scribble or simple description; it’s OK to be messy. Your style will likely change during the trip anyway. “You grow into what you like,” Kirk says.

Get into a habit.

Routine is essential. Set aside time each day to get the camera out or record the day’s events.

Find balance.

Capture the landscape, camp life, your hiking partners, trail milestones, and failures as well as successes. You want a well-rounded view of the trip.

Get Gritty.

The most memorable moments often happen when the weather is bad or people are working hard. When you’d rather not get out the camera, you probably should. 

Choose your weapon.

Journal It’s cheap, light, and batteries are not required.

Camera Whether you use a phone or DSLR, it’s the fastest way to record a trip.

Video Shell out for that action cam, or upload phone vids to the cloud—both Apple and Google can automatically combine your videos (and photos) into a highlight reel.

Blog Share your experience with the click of a button, either on-trail or at home. Try the (free) Off Exploring or BonJournal apps.

Paintbrush Drawing or painting your trip requires more supplies (and patience), but research shows that integrating visual and motor skills is one of the best ways to cement memories.

The Experts

Writer and artist Kolby Kirk and pro adventure and documentary photographer Jody MacDonald.