Ahh, the wonderful world of gatekeeping; of keeping the outdoors all to yourself because you’re simply better and more deserving than everyone else. 


Forget beginners hoping to find their way on hiking tracks, at climbing crags and on mountain bike trails. Everyone should be born with an innate knowledge of everything outdoors or not bother stepping outside. And if they don’t? Follow these techniques to remind them that the outdoors isn’t for everyone, it’s for you.

1. The #Wanderlust Influencer

Maybe it’s the Instagram post of you showering under a waterfall, or the story of you swimming in a coastal rockpool. Either way, inevitably the DMs come through asking where on Earth you are.

You sigh, with all the gravitas of the enlightened traveller you are, and artfully dodge the question with either a vague reference to the 2000 hectare national park, or with a tearful plea that tourists will flock and destroy the site if you tell this best friend from primary school. Phew, that was a close one.

Read more: The Effect Of Instagram On #Adventure


2. The Ron Swanson

You find yourself in an outdoor equipment store, potentially purchasing a new hiking pack, or water filtering straw, when a shop assistant pops their head around a display of dehydrated meals.

‘Hi, is there anything I can help you with?’, they ask with hope twinkling in their eyes.

You look at them, a knowing smirk on your lips, and then embody that infamous Parks and Rec character and simply respond,

‘I know more than you.’

The 60+ year old Mountain Designs manager with a face wizened by more summers in the outdoors than you’ve ever known, looks at you in confusion. Good, let them be confused, you have no need to explain to them the trials that await you on the Coogee to Bondi track.


3. The Tinder Date

They’re cute. The date is going well, even if you still shudder at the fact you met via technology. Your profile says you’re outdoorsy and, unable to help themselves, they’re drawn in by your elusive, allegedly low-maintenance charm, ‘So you like rock climbing? That’s awesome, maybe you could take me sometime?’

You chuckle to yourself. What a simple fool. Don’t they know that you’re far too advanced to go and bother with beginner crags? Besides, you simply haven’t the time or patience to teach another person how to climb.

‘Yeah, maybe,’ you say, knowing full well that you won’t. 


Visit Small and Perfect Kilcunda on the Bass Coast, Emma Woodward - Kilcunda, Cafe, couple, date, Kilcunda General Store

Sips coffee to fill the silence | Photo thanks to Visit Victoria

4. The Hiking Gear Expert

It’s a hike-in site and you clock them before they even set up their tents: newbies. Maybe it’s the khaki drink bottle from high school cadet days, or the Denali hiking packs straight off the Anaconda sale rack. Either way, you somehow find yourself drawn to them like a moth to an Aldi Special Buys flashlight.

Go on, make introductions and then take it upon yourself to suggest a new tent, or pack, or sleeping bag, that’s far superior. Never mind that your suggestions are four times more expensive than their gear (which frankly looks to be in decent condition despite daring to be affordable, but you’ll never admit it).

Finally, explain to them they can collect firewood and start their campfire in any of the allocated campsites. If they didn’t read the park’s website and figure out there’s a fire ban, that’s on them. It’s called natural selection: let the rangers weed out the weak.


5. The Campsite VIP

 Step 1: Check the National Parks website and see that your favourite campsite is busier than usual this weekend. 

Step 2: Let everyone know about the tragedy that has struck your life. 

Complain to your partner. Whine to your parents over Friday dinner. Post an Instagram story to all of your friends and followers, let them know that you found it first.

It’s not fair, all these people booking at your campsite nowadays have ruined your weekend plans. Blame social media, how dare it make these sites so popular and accessible. 

Nevermind that you left it until the week before a public holiday to book. Nevermind that it’s one of the few 2WD accessible and family-friendly sites in the area. This is everyone else’s fault.


6. The One Size Fits All

Remember, only one type of person belongs on the trails. If you see anyone who is plus-sized, openly LGBTQIA+, a person of colour, a disabled person, and/or a woman, feel free to treat them passive-aggressively.

Read more: Mansplaining 101

Congrats! You’ve successfully soured the outdoors for them. Good for you, you don’t need pesky diversity destroying the lifestyle you’ve deemed only appropriate to and accessible for you! That stuff is far too political for when you just want to kick back and enjoy some nature.


Why LGBTQIA+ Visibility Is So Important In The Outdoors - Andy Leake, LGBT+, Diversity, Representation, Guys, Partners, Couple

The trails are for you and your friends only. Like these two best mates | @thelastofthebackpackers


Finally, revel in the fact that you’ve successfully gatekept, gaslit, and girlbossed your way to the top of outdoor society. Well done. From here, only success and irritated trail fellows await!

* Disclaimer

If it wasn’t obvious, this is satire. Please don’t take the above advice seriously. In fact, use this as a guide on what not to do. 

Everyone is welcome in the outdoors. If you’re a gatekeeper, someone who treats beginners, or anyone else, with a lack of respect well then… may all your campsites be fully booked out, may all your matches be wet, and may all your trails be closed.


Feature photo thanks to @jmcrae_