Does the idea of getting up at 4am to stand in long lines at the mall sound about as fun as being tickled during a root canal? You’re in good company. Thankfully, the momentum of REI’s #OptOutside campaign continues to make Black Friday a little less terrifying.

A brief history: In 2015, REI closed their doors on the biggest shopping day of the year. They encouraged their employees and customers to go outside instead — and they still paid their employees! Customers were impressed. Employees were proud. The industry took note.

The last two years have seen more and more outdoor brands following REI’s lead. Many are forgoing massive markdowns in favor of fundraising or leading their own initiatives to raise money for important causes. These moves have inspired more people to make Black Friday a day to get outside or put their dollars toward charitable causes instead of spending money on so much stuff.

Less shopping and more outdoor fun? Let’s keep riding that wave, shall we?





If You Need More Reasons to Stay Away From Long Lines on Black Friday

Here’s what you need to know about outdoor brands who are doing Black Friday right.

1. Outdoor Research is Raising Money for Paradox Sports

A post shared by Paradox Sports (@paradoxsports) on


Outdoor Research is partnering with REI in hosting an Instagram contest to raise money for Paradox Sports — a non-profit that’s on a mission to revolutionize lives through adaptive climbing opportunities.

This holiday weekend, Friday through Sunday, each photo you post on Instagram with the hashtags #OptOutside and #OutdoorResearch will make a $10 donation to Paradox Sports. So get outside, find a fun activity, and raise money for a great cause. Win – win – win!

2. United by Blue Hosts Nationwide Cleanup Initiative

A post shared by United By Blue (@unitedbyblue) on


The sustainable apparel company United by Blue, is always committed to removing one pound of waste from oceans and waterways with every product sold. But this Friday, they’re inviting their customers to join them in cleaning up. To participate in Blue Friday, all you need is a pair of gloves and a trash bag. Find a park or a neighborhood that needs some litter removal, and get to work on helping a small piece of Earth look a little more beautiful.

Tag photos of your cleanup efforts with #bluemovement, and the first 250 submissions will receive a free UBB × Klean Kanteen steel tumbler.

United by Blue stores won’t open until 11 am on Friday, giving employees and shoppers time to do some cleanup before they come in.

3. Arcade Belts is Donating $5 of Every Sale to Protect Our Winters

A post shared by Arcade Belt Co. (@arcadebelts) on

You won’t find a discount on Arcade Belts this Black Friday, because they’re calling it “White Friday,” and donating to Protect Our Winters, instead. Arcade Belts reinvented a very simple piece of clothing, in a way that is functional and practical, with stretch material and simple, durable buckles.

If you grab a belt from Arcade Belts on Black Friday, $5 of your purchase will go to Protect Our Winters, a collective of professional athletes and outdoor industry brands who are leading positive climate change action through education, political advocacy, and community-based activism. 2016 was the warmest year on record, and Protect Our Winters refuses to ignore what that means for our planet.

4. TREDAGAIN Will Award $100 Gift Cards for Getting Outside

A post shared by TREDAGAIN (@tredagain) on

TREDAGAIN shoes are made from recycled tires, giving new life to road trip-worn wheels. You can feel good about spending your dollars on “upcycled” footwear. But if you tag a photo of yourself enjoying the outdoors on Black Friday, you might earn a pair for free! Tag your photos with @TredAgain and #LeaveABetterFootprint on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and you could be one of three to win a $100 gift card to TREDAGAIN.

5. Select State and National Parks Will Waive Fees as part of REI’s #OptOutside


REI is making it even easier to #OptOutside this year through a partnership with the parks system, which will offer free entrance and activities at select state and national parks around the country.

All state parks in Colorado, Minnesota, and Delaware will be free. Olympic, Mt. Rainier, and The Great Smoky Mountains National Parks will also be free. For a complete list of parks offering discounts and freebies, check out this resource from Backpacker Magazine.


Do you know of an outdoor brand that’s doing something cool (and responsible) this Black Friday? Tell us about them in the comments! And as always, if you visit a campground, we’d love to hear about it on The Dyrt

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