The rugged outdoorsman is the quintessential manly man. He lives off the land, works with his hands and lets his beard grow long. He knows how to survive — and even thrive — with just his own brain and brawn out in the wilderness. No challenge is too much for him.
Today, we’ve lost touch with the outdoors. Americans typically spend 90% of their time inside. If you’re looking to regain a bit of your manliness, get out of the house, head into the woods and do one of these manly activities.
Climb a Mountain
Mountains are some of nature’s most impressive creations — towering into the sky, covered with jagged rocks and thick vegetation and teeming with wildlife. Because they’re so imposing, conquering them and fighting your way to the summit is one of the manliest things you can do.
Go the Distance
Climbing from the bottom to the very top of a mountain is manly, and so is hiking, biking and swimming any long distance. Instead of conquering a mountain, you’re mastering a variety of terrains, long periods of time outdoors and impressive distances.
Going out into the woods and bringing home dinner is one of the most primal, macho activities you can do. Tracking, hunting and trapping an animal can make you feel like a man, but bringing home a meal for your family, friends or even just yourself will make you feel even better. Even bringing home nuts, berries and other edible wild foods will have a similar effect.
Catch a Fish
Fishing is another manly outdoor activity that results in bringing home a healthy, tasty meal. You could do traditional line fishing or opt for fly-fishing. Even better, try your hand at spearfishing or noodling. Although noodling might not sound that manly, it most certainly is. It involves sticking your hand into a hole in shallow water, waiting for a fish — usually a catfish — to grab onto your fingers and then pulling it out with your bare hands.
Make a Fire
Once you get back to camp with the spoils of your hunting or fishing trip, making a fire and cooking over it can take your machismo to the next level. Splitting the logs, building the fire, lighting it and cooking your meal to perfection will show off the fact that you can take care of yourself, even when living off the land. There are also tons of cool ways to practice building a fire without matches or a lighter.
Build a Log Cabin
If you really want to get into the manly outdoor lifestyle, consider building your own log cabin. It might sound like an impossible task, but it’s actually quite doable and much easier than building a traditional house. You can customize your own log cabin kit and then build it with your own two hands. There’s no better way to feel rugged and self-sustaining.
Navigate the Old-School Way
They say men don’t like to ask for directions. This activity will let you embrace that tendency. Take a break from the GPS and head out into the woods with just a map or, better yet, just a compass. Finding your own way without the help of technology or other people will make you feel smart and accomplished.
Find a Rare Species
Finding a rare or notoriously hard-to-spot animal is another challenge that, if you succeed, will make you feel incredibly accomplished. Choose a species and learn as much as you can about it before you head out. Then, go into the woods to look for tracks and other signs and see if you can spot the sneaky creature. Grab a picture if you can for proof.
The more you can live off the land and use your own know-how and skills to survive, the manlier you will feel. Head out into the woods with only the bare necessities. Then, find your own way, hunt and gather, make a fire for warmth and build a simple shelter to sleep in at night. You’ll come out the other side of your trip feeling tough and capable.
Help Out Future Outdoorsmen
Being masculine isn’t just about finding your own way. It’s also about helping others find theirs. While you’re out there thriving in the wild, do a little something to help those that follow in your footsteps. Set up a shelter for someone else to use. Leave a care package hidden somewhere with flint and steel and useful notes inside. Just make sure not to disturb the natural environment.
You could also join a trail maintenance or environmental conservation group and take care of your local outdoor spaces. Taking care of others and the world around you may be the manliest thing you can do.