Last week marked the third year of the #OptOutsideWithRVi Challenge. We encouraged everyone to avoid the long, Black Friday check-out lines, supply chain issues, and inflation. Instead, we invited you to enjoy the outdoors and all that nature has to offer. How did you spend Black Friday?

For the challenge, we asked you to share your adventures with us by tagging us on social media. Names of participants were then entered to win our Outdoor Adventure Pack: a $100 REI gift card, 26 oz Yeti water bottle, a beanie, and a cooling towel.

#OptOutside origins: In 2015, outdoor goods retailer REI made the unprecedented decision to close its doors on the biggest shopping day of the year and pay its employees to “Opt Outside,” encouraging them to enjoy the outdoors in nature with family, friends and the community. Participation grows each year, with millions of people and hundreds of businesses and organizations supporting the initiative.

With ongoing pandemic concerns and the economic side effects that linger, large group gatherings, in-person community service projects and long-distance traveling is still not advisable. But as we’ve grown accustomed to some new norms, being outside prevails as a “go-to” choice for many. It remains a relatively safe environment to maintain social distancing and enjoy the positive physical and mental benefits of nature.

This year, some of our furry friends joined the campaign, including Hank and Willow, who were smiling all the way! Families enjoyed outdoor holiday light shows and cozy fire pits. Hikers took to the trails for trail clean up and invasive species removal, and others hopped on two wheels for some mountain biking adventures. Thanks to all who participated! We hope you’ll join the challenge again during Black Friday 2022.