20 Outdoor Influencers on Twitter
Every day, I know that I will be browsing Twitter to see what my favorite outdoor influencers have been up to. Opening up their nature windows to the world, these lovely people bring joy, inspiration and motivation to my day. Sometimes it’s a beautiful landscape, sometimes it’s a nature science fact, quite often it’s an adventure and it’s always worth it. Even during local lockdowns, they seem to have an endless stream of gorgeous local nature pics to share and are always up to something. With everything that 2020 has thrown at us, being up to anything at all is an achievement in itself and being outdoors is what we’ve missed the most so they are truly a breath of fresh air. Through their tweets, you can enjoy the outdoors vicariously and you don’t even need to be on Twitter. You can either click on this list to see them all in one smooth feed or hop onto their individual profiles on Twitter (see below for each account). If you like what they do, give them a follow, like or share their content, comment. The beauty of Twitter is that it’s a public platform and it’s very open – definitely a plus when it comes to the outdoors.
Why Outdoor Influencers on Twitter
Why Twitter? With its public-facing format, Twitter enables users to “converse” or share experiences in mini-journal format. I find this social media very user-friendly to follow any adventure or project and it doesn’t have the egocentric side of Instagram (not so many selfies), the only other social media that’s truly visual for stories. It’s also quite evergreen as content doesn’t disappear like it does on Snapchat.
Before we start, this is how I have selected these lovely people. First, they all create their own great content. A lot of people re-share other people’s content on Twitter without ever creating stuff and you never know who they are but these guys are the originals. What you see is what they do in their daily life, garden, backyard, mountain, river, hills. Second, they are not all strictly speaking outdoor influencers. Some are known for something else, like medicine or dancing, but their love for the outdoors shows in what they share and it provides a different window on the outdoors. Not a bad thing. Third, semantics. I use the term “outdoors” as meaning “being outside”, not hunting and fishing. Last – this list is only a beginning. I am an advocate for strong women and inclusivity and would love recommendations to make this list more diverse and more inclusive.
Enjoy the outdoor influencers of Twitter, listed very unscientifically by continent, featuring interviewees at the top.
#1 The Next Summit: A 14ers Blog by Alex Derr – Colorado, US
Twitter handle: @TheNextSummitA1
Alex is a mountain professional so it’s no wonder that most of his tweets feature a mountain in them. He’s also a very talented photographer and in his mountain tweets, his pictures are music to the soul. Just watching some of them, you’d want to put down your phone and plan a mountain adventure – which is probably the right thing to do:)
The more I think about it, the more mountaineering has to teach us about making it through this crisis. Here's a few thoughts on risk management, using the right gear, and compassion from a climber's perspective…#COVID19Colorado https://t.co/7SGcFJQbcj
— The Next Summit: A Mountain Blog by Alex Derr (@TheNextSummitA1) April 15, 2020
Meet Alex Derr
“The outdoors to me mean many things: a chance to challenge myself, my knowledge and my abilities; a place to get away from the stress and struggle of daily life; and a place to experience awe-inspiring splendor of the natural world. Colorado’s mountains are a sacred place to me, where man can best connect with the universe around us to discover things about ourselves and the world in which we’re just one small part.”
About: Alex Derr is a mountaineer and blogger based in Denver Colorado. He’s working to climb Colorado’s highest 100 peaks, along with all of America’s fourteeners. He created The Next Summit to share advice, stories, history & reflections from the Mountains of the American West. When not climbing, he is managing the Communications strategy at Visible Network Labs and finishing his Masters Degree in Environmental Policy, Management & Law.
#2 Hiking With Shawn – Illinois, US
Twitter handle: @hikingwithshawn
Shawn’s appetite for life is infectious and his outdoor adventures really make you want to discover Illinois, not the most obvious destination for outdoor seekers but apparently we’ve all been missing out. Whether it’s on his bike or with his hiking boots, Shawn is a true outdoor lover and I’m glad he accepted to introduce himself here.
Exploring Cave Hill in the #ShawneeNationalForest video https://t.co/xHrtVdlKmn pic.twitter.com/PoATcvuZCj
— Hiking With Shawn (@hikingwithshawn) November 6, 2020
Meet Hiking with Shawn
“The outdoors to me is the ultimate life saver, the cure to depression and misery. Before I was an outdoorsman, I made nothing but unhealthy decisions, I was alone, my health was failing and I felt a huge void in my life. Once I embraced hiking and biking, all that left. I’m healthier now than I’ve ever been, I found the love of my life and I get a chance to make people smile and await what I have to post.”
About: “I am 36 years old. Male. I was born and raised and still live in southern Illinois. Hiking with Shawn is my brand and I created it to promote the Shawnee National Forest and beyond. Aside from hiking, I’m an avid cyclist. I have an MBA and an addition masters degree in Public Health.”
#3 Stefanie Payne – Colorado, US
If you love national parks, Stefanie is your gal as she wrote a book on US National Parks. She is also a communications strategist at NASA headquarters so don’t be surprised if you spot a few moon tweets in her picture-perfect national parks feed. Stefanie graciously accepted to introduce herself and say what she loves about the outdoors.
Wild light in Arizona, and so oddly lit that one last butte at Monument Valley. It took me years finally get here… and it was everything I’d hoped. Didn’t hike enough there but I see those plans firming up for early in ‘21. ;-) #publiclands #sunset #arizona #beautiful pic.twitter.com/aJMqo2WfrI
— Stefanie Payne (@iStefPayne) November 5, 2020
Meet Stefanie Payne
“No matter what is going on in life, I slip into nature and immediately, I feel better — physically, mentally, and creatively. And I can do whatever I want out there, whether it be pushing my body in a new way, thinking through what I need to think through, or brainstorming a new endeavor. I especially love that enjoyment of the outdoors is something that almost all of us can relate to, and use to connect with each other on in some way — regardless of background, politics, or any of the other things that sometimes separate us as citizens on Earth. Each experience gives me peace in some way, and I’ve found that those moments are always just a car ride away, and available to almost all of us who want to get out there. For me, our shared natural places are consumed by peace, learning, and beauty that can be as intense or as simple as I need them to be. There is a lot of adaptability in nature. In all of my travels both afar and in my home country, it has been the voyages into nature that have benefitted me the most. If you are reading this, I am sure that the same is true for you.”
About: Stefanie Payne is a creative professional and communications strategist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. When not telling the story of human exploration in space, she writes about exploration on Earth — with books. podcasts, travel articles and photographs appearing in The New York Times, The Travel Channel, blogs for The National Geographic Society, DK Publishing, The Lonely Planet, Thrillist, GoPro blogs, The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The IBTimes, and others. In partnership with Jonathan Irish, a professional photographer represented by National Geographic Creative, Payne co-wrote and developed a 240-page coffee table book about their quest to explore and document all 59 of the U.S. National Parks during the National Park Service centennial in 2016, ‘A Year in the National Parks: The Greatest American Road Trip’.
#4 Raised in Alaska – Alaska, US
Twitter handle: @akkingon
I love Alaska, have loved Alaska since I watched a documentary movie on Alaska when I was 17. Promised myself I’d go to Alaska within 10 years – which I did. First trip was with my mother – the cruise type, 17 buffets a day and all. The second trip was as a young bride and involved a lot more active pursuits outside. Denali through and through. The third trip was 10 years later – an outdoor discovery of the Inside Passage from Anchorage to Sitka. Alaska is now on the other side of the world from London but thanks to Raised in Alaska, I get to enjoy this beautiful part of the world regularly.
Living large: Camping in the Arctic – Part 1 https://t.co/fftSOMErfE pic.twitter.com/s4d7lEnPIt
— Raised in Alaska (@akkingon) April 25, 2020
Meet Raised in Alaska
“I am an outdoor enthusiast living, and raising my children, in Alaska and I aspire to instill in my children respect, knowledge and a love of the outdoors. Our videos are based on our outdoor adventures, lessons, and projects.”
#5 Gurdeep Pandher of Yukon – Yukon, Canada
Twitter handle: @GurdeepPandher
I stumbled upon Gurdeep Pandher of Yukon by accident, when somebody else liked one of his videos. Who was this guy dancing his heart out in the Canadian wilderness? He’s a Canadian dancer and teacher who mostly dances outside. Yes, in Yukon where winters are snow cold! I’ve become a huge fan of his work and totally recommend you watch his videos. They are a ray of sunshine when everything else can feel dark.
The Sun was shining over stunning snow today.
I welcomed the return of sunshine by dancing near the pristine Yukon river waters. pic.twitter.com/Nc9PjcYG0L
— Gurdeep Pandher of Yukon (@GurdeepPandher) November 7, 2020
#6 Jane – Alberta, Canada
Twitter handle: @windsofjane
Jane from Alberta, Canada, is a travel blogger and an amazing photographer. Lucky to live close to Banff National Park (at least, it feels that way), she tweets about the gorgeous nature around her. If you love snow, ice, frozen lakes and winter wonderlands, Jane is your best option short of boarding a plane which you can’t do anyway because of COVID travel restrictions.
#7 Rue Mapp – California, US
Twitter handle: @ruemapp
Rue Mapp is an institution. A native of the city of Oakland (like Kamala Harris), she founded Outdoor Afro in 2009 to encourage African Americans to equitably reconnect with the natural world. Outdoor Afro has grown into a nonprofit organization with networks in 30 states and more than 40,000 participants. You’ll find Rue a lot more on Instagram nowadays but she’s still a great person to follow on Twitter as she works with a wide network of outdoor recreation advocates.
So thankful for this great coverage of #OutdoorAfro by @everettpotter in @Forbes! https://t.co/V0eWqDmttK
— Rue Mapp (@RueMapp) October 29, 2020
#8 Wilderness Trail Bound – US
Twitter handle: @ElCrackoDiablo
Ron, from Wilderness Trail Bound, is a wildlife photographer and his pictures of owls, beavers, or any other birds or mammals are stunning. A lot of people enjoy hiking without having a clue about the wildlife or flora they encounter. Ron is quite the opposite. He’ll go out to seek the wildlife so he can bring back photographic memories.
Nice hike today, I posted my hike stats on a GoPro self portrait of me in the high backcountry of Yosemite with Ragged Peak in the background pic.twitter.com/Yk2X6WIX7M
— Wilderness Trail Bound (@ElCrackoDiablo) October 21, 2020
#9 Calum MacLean – Scotland, UK
Twitter handle: @caldamac
Calum MacLean may be the only Scottish wild swimmer and film-maker I follow who narrates most of his adventures in Gaelic, with subtitles in English thrown in. His videos have been shared on BBC Alba (that’s the BBC in Gaelic) and his sense of humor is legendary. His unscientific guide to water temperature in Scotland is a riot. That and his ability to swim, hike, paddle in crazy places, whether they be remote, frozen, hostile or plain weird. He’s also a champion of enjoying the outdoors ethically. Check out his “Spirit of wild camping” video to find out more. Thanks Calum for introducing yourself below!
“Being outdoors allows me to be creative. Whether that’s in actually creating a video or taking photos, or even just making me think of issues in my life in a new way. I find I’m always happier, think more clearly and am better to be around after spending time outdoors. I love the opportunities for exercise – the thrill of plunging into some cold water, or a long endurance run over mountains. I like challenging myself, but also slowing down to investigate small details – how a snail eats, the dew on a spider’s web, mist in a forest. Being outdoors gives us the chance to play, and to learn – whether that’s about the history of a place, how land is used, what time the birds wake up at, how high up a tree I can climb before the fear kicks in, how many midge bites can I endure – there’s no end of ways to keep us entertained.”
About Calum: Calum Maclean is a film-maker, TV Presenter and avid outdoor swimmer. From plunging into rivers, wriggling through underwater tunnels and swimming amongst the ice in Cairngorms, his work showcases Scotland’s outdoors in his own unique style. His short films for BBC The Social racked up millions of views & his BBC ALBA series Dhan Uisge explored some of Scotland’s hidden swimming gems. From his “Scottish Water Temperature Chart” to the infamous “One Minute Midgie Challenge”, Calum is never one to shirk a challenge.
#10 Josh & Sarah. Veggie Vagabonds. Ethical Adventures – UK
Twitter handle: @veggievagabonds
Josh and Sarah are ethical nature evangelists. Not only do they love the outdoors, but they also advocate ethical enjoyment of the outdoors, providing vegan and low-carbon options to activities and products. If you are looking for vegan hiking boots, they can help.
Gotta protect our trails!#ukhiking @RamblersGBhttps://t.co/Uk1KtMRLFL?
— Josh & Sarah. Veggie Vagabonds. Ethical Adventures (@veggievagabonds) November 7, 2020
Meet Josh & Sarah
“To us, the outdoors feels like a realm filled with opportunity, that’s always there and feels incredible to embrace whether you’re happy, sad, excited, nervous or anything in between. When we stand in front of a vast landscape, it just feels like a world of opportunities, right there in front of you and yours for discovering. The thing that makes it extra special is that it’s completely personal and unique to you. What you experience might be starkly different to someone else, yet you can both love it just the same. What a fantastic thing, the outdoor world!”
About: We’re Josh and Sarah, two adventure-crazed nature lovers currently living in North Yorkshire. Before the virus began, we were 1,000 miles into an England to India cycling challenge and now we’re back on home soil preparing for an equally epic adventure slightly closer to home. You can find out more on our blog, Veggie Vagabonds, where we share our trips and tips on creating your own ethical adventures.
#11 This Hijabi Runs – South East England, UK
Twitter handle: @ThisHijabiRuns
Taz appreciates the outdoors through the lens of her favorite sport – running. What drew me to Taz’s tweets was her athletic feats and the fact that she motivates others. You see a lot of runners posting their personal bests with pics of their smart watches but few take the extra step to support others to run and enjoy their passion. Also, Taz loves running outside. Nature, yay! Hence why I am delighted that she is on this list.
“I’m Tazneem aka Taz. I’m a runner, run leader and an ASICS Frontrunner (brand ambassador). I love being outdoors. Whether it be experiencing the cold crisp air or basking in the rays of sunlight. Running outdoors helps me connect with nature and enjoy the beauty of the surroundings around me. It makes me feel free and to be able to run through winding paths through the forests or run up a hill only to get to the top and enjoy the view is such an inexplicable feeling.”
#12 Rachel – Dundee, Scotland, UK
Twitter handle: @vagabondbaker
Rachel is a wild swimmer who is not afraid of the cold outside. Not at all. Good thing too, as she does quite a bit of winter aka really cold aka ice swimming in her swimsuit without any wetsuit. She is also a baker and as most swimmers know, cake is an essential component of wild swimming. As you see, she combines two great qualities – wild swimming and baking.
If someone had told me a few years ago that I would be gleefully entering a winter swimming competition in 2020, in an ice cut swimming pool in Northern Sweden, I would have laughed incredulously! It's amazing what you don't yet know about yourself! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/LS827kApf5
— Rachel (@vagabondbaker) February 16, 2020
#13 James Shooter – Cairngorms, Scotland
Twitter handle: @James__Shooter
Have you heard about rewilding? Rewilding is letting nature take the driving seat when it comes to conservation. James is a nature photographer and filmmaker originally from Derbyshire, now living and working in the Cairngorms National Park. In 2016 James became one of the directors at SCOTAND: The Big Picture, a social enterprise dedicated to rewilding advocacy and communications. If you love Scottish landscapes and conservation, you’ll love his tweets.
The stunning Caledonian Forest along the banks of Loch Beinn a Mheadhoin in Glen Affric.
Lots of people working hard across different organisations and initiatives to make more of the Scottish Highlands look like this in a few decades time. pic.twitter.com/wLx0zI5fKe
— James Shooter (@James__Shooter) October 27, 2020
#14 Dr. Amir Khan GP – Yorkshire, UK
OK, I’ll admit. Dr Amir Khan is a general practitioner aka a doctor. He is not an outdoor professional, photographer or influencer in the strictest sense. However, the celebrity doctor, writer and full-time GP shares what he loves about Yorkshire and yes, he loves nature. During the first UK lockdown, he shared inspirational morning tweets with his local countryside that were really lovely. He’s at it again for lockdown 2 and he’s also a butterfly ambassador (and a great son to his mom who seems to be a formidable woman).
A bewitching fog has settled amongst the woodland, an eerie silence befalls the air
The leaves have been stripped from the branches exposing gnarly figures underneath
A quiet beauty for those who seek
Happy Sunday!#SundayMorning #SundayThoughts pic.twitter.com/dyWTaan9eH
— Dr Amir Khan GP (@DrAmirKhanGP) November 8, 2020
#15 Ashley Campeau – Suffolk, UK
Twitter handle: @TrueNorthTrail
Ashley is as much at home on water as she is on land. Working to promote outdoor recreation in her professional life, she is lucky to be able to escape with her family in the great outdoors that surrounds them. Canoeing is her new obsession since summer so her current feed features quite a few paddles and canoe-in camping pics.
My 35th year on this journey of life came and passed yesterday and inspired me to get out of bed early and go for a hike this morning.
A year older, and a tad wiser, I'm still certain of few things. Yet I do know life is precious and passes in the blink of an eye – cherish it.♡ pic.twitter.com/PlO3oUoo14
— Ashley Campeau (@TrueNorthTrail) January 27, 2020
#16 Hiking in Finland
Twitter handle @hendrikmorkel
Hendrik Morkel, the author of Hiking in Finland, has been living in Finland since 2002. He shares the natural beauty of Finland on social media and everything the country has to offer to backpackers, climbers, bikepackers, skiers, cyclists and packrafters. Since he’s already way up there in Scandinavia, he also covers Sweden and Norway (and the rest of the world), as well as gear reviews, videos and interviews. As his folks are Dutch and German, he also tweets in German so you can brush up on your language skills too. Oh. Did I mention he was a photographer too? 7.5 million views for his pics on Unsplash.
I wrote about our #family #holidays at @Rokuahealthspa in September. Now I want to go hiking again =)https://t.co/oNvxd5J0lt #Finland #Ad #hiking #mtblife #Rokua pic.twitter.com/XMrJzAbUgS
— Hendrik Morkel (@hendrikmorkel) October 19, 2020
#17 Rizuan Khatulpica – Malaysia
Twitter handle: @khatulpica
Rizuan is a nature guide in Malaysia and takes people on trips through the jungles of Malaysia, adding rock climbing days and caving to his clients’ wish lists. I like that he is a conservationist, having researched the rainforest at Perlis, a state north of Malaysia, including its wildlife, flora biodiversity and plantation. We rarely hear nature voices from Malaysia here in London so I’m glad that he is joining this list.
With friends from Germany guide at North Malaysia #travell #climbing #Food #photography #nature #Rainforest pic.twitter.com/vxF2oTpaeK
— Rizuan Khatulpica (@khatulpica) December 28, 2015
#18 Leo Chan Gaskins (he/him) – Australia
Twitter handle: @leogaskins
If you like sharks, you’re in luck. On Twitter, Leo is a marine ecologist studying the impact of large predators on ecosystem structure & function as well as a proud trans scientist. In the world of academia, Leo is also a NSF Graduate Research Fellow and Duke University PhD student in the Silliman lab. Leo investigates the impact of large predators on ecosystem structure and function. By understanding the connections and impacts within systems, his work will inform effective future management plans and restoration in coastal systems, and protect critical ecosystem services. Go, sharks!
I have a 5-min talk today at the #WSN2020 Conference!
It's about Megafauna in Salt Marshes & at 2:15PM PST. Are there a lot of animals over 45kg/100lbs that live in salt marshes globally? Join & see the cool results!
— Leo Chan Gaskins (he/him) (@leogaskins) November 7, 2020
#19 John Sheely – Victoria, Australia
Twitter handle: @Bundogs
I “met” John through wild swimming and I love that he works as curator of the Warrnambool Botanical Gardens too. In his tweets, you will find a blend of cool plant facts (waiting for flowers to bloom on the Puya) and gorgeous Australian swims. Yes, it’s a dream life.
#20 Hiking in Japan
Twitter handle @hikinginjapan
Created by American Wes Lang, this Twitter account will satisfy all your cravings for Japanese mountains and beautiful Japanese nature. Based in Osaka since 2001, Wes knows more about Japan’s mountains than most Japanese people. In 2008, he became the first American to climb the Nihon Hyakumeizan (Japan’s 100 Famous Mountains). He followed up that feat in 2015 by conquering the 100 mountains of the Kansai Region. Wes operates the website Hiking in Japan. Wes is considered the leading foreign expert on hiking in Japan.
In the subalpine forests of Honshū, Erman's birch (ダケカンバ) reign supreme. Look for them just below the tree line when hiking in the Japan Alps and Hakusan. #hikinginjapan #ermansbirch #ダケカンバ #japan pic.twitter.com/MGqr6IXBLt
— Wes Lang (@hikinginjapan) October 13, 2020
This list feels incomplete without outdoor influencers in other parts of the world such as Africa or non-English speaking Europe. Can you help me find them?