Mental Health Awareness Month: Rich Manley on The Healing Power of Getting Outdoors

Mental Health Awareness Month: Rich Manley on The Healing Power of Getting Outdoors

To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month, we asked our ambassador Rich Manley to share his experiences of the healing power of the great outdoors.

Why does the outdoors make you feel good?
Ever since I was a kid, being outside has always been a passion of mine. I used to climb trees as a kid, rig up zip lines and ropes from treetops, build shelters in the woods and hike far and wide around the northeastern wilderness. I never quite fit in with cities or industrialized areas. The outdoors give me a sense of peace and always teach me lessons, lessons I can only get by being in and connecting to the great outdoors.
What does the outdoors mean to you and your happiness?

There is a constant pull toward the wilderness and being outside. Even though I work primarily in a city environment, I am magnetically drawn to the mountains and any natural place that surges with adventurous energy. Connecting with nature and feeling at one, mentally and physically, is an essential and reinvigorating part of my life. My happy place is outside, in the mountains, by rivers, or in the forest. It is a place that reminds me of what it means to be alive, to be human, to instill and maintain a childlike curiosity for how and why our natural World exists. I think, if there is a meaning to life, it can be found in the moments one spends in nature.

What’s your perfect gear for a trip into the outdoors?

I highly recommend the MT900 Ultralight Backpack. The design is perfect for customizing to body height and weight. The various pockets and attachment points, allow me to attach poles, or a shovel or other gear while trekking. The easy access side zipper is a huge plus, allowing me to reach items closer to the bottom of the pack over digging from the top.

The 2-Second Easy Fresh & Black Tent is another amazing item. Its a great tent that is easy to unpack, and open in just 2 seconds instead of dealing with separate poles and webbing. For my close to car camp trips, I take this with me as my go to camping tent. It’s best used when you are near a car and can pack it away in your trunk. Quick breakdown too..

The Evadict XT7 Trail Running Shoes are great! I often prepare for a lot of my climbing adventures and backcountry expeditions by trail running. It’s a great activity to build endurance and leg muscle for long approaches and treks. I love the comfort and grip on gravel, rocks, and rough steep terrain that the Xt7s afford. They also stand up to the abuse I give them!

Quechua Folding Cart - this item is a life saver! I’m constantly taking tons of gear on my adventures. Whether it’s climbing gear or camping equipment or film gear, I have always said “ I wish I had some kind of sturdy and easily collapsible trolly to transport gear”. Well, Quechua answered! This wagon is sturdy and performs well in rough terrain transporting gear. It also collapses for easy storage.

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