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The Ultimate Survival Guide for People Who Love Being Outside

April 06, 2020 7 min read

The Ultimate Lockdown Survival Guide | ioMerino

Well, what strange times these are. If you’d asked us just a month or two ago if we thought this is what the world would look like at the moment, we probably would have laughed. Sadly, this is no laughing matter. Although we’ll admit to having had quite a few giggles at some of the better memes going around. Especially the outdoor and adventure ones. Because hey, ya gotta laugh.

So we chatted with some of our Outsiders and gave you all the opportunity to tell us how you’re coping, and we’ve put together some of the best advice we’ve seen and heard. If you’re looking for a bit of advice or inspiration to get to the other side of this situation, here goes:


Plenty of people are reading books. Some people were already readers and are reading more. Some wanted to read more and now have the chance. While for others, it wasn’t really on their radar. If you find yourself with a bit of time, now, there’s plenty of good books about the outdoors and adventure to keep you going for a while.

Here’s some we’ve seen people reading:

Adrift: Seventy-six Days Lost at Sea by Steve Callahan
The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors by John E. Mills
Ant Egg Soup: Adventures of a Food Tourist in Laos by Natacha Du Pont de Bie
Around the World in Fifty Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth by Albert Podell 
Be Brave, Be Strong: A Journey Across the Great Divide by Jill Homer
Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston
Braving It: A Father, A Daughter, and an Unforgettable Journey into the Alaskan Wild by James Campbell
Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life by Arlene Blum
Catfish and Mandala by Andrew X. Pham
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit
Find a Way: The Inspiring Story of One Woman’s Pursuit of a Lifelong Dream by Diana Nyad
The Bird Man and the Lap Dancer: Close Encounters with Strangers by Eric Hansen
Gorge: My Journey Up Killimanjaro at 300 Pounds by Kara Richardson Whitely
High Adventure: The True Story of the First Ascent of Everest by Edmund Hillary
In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara
River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze by Peter Hessler
Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family and Getting Back on the Board by Bethany Hamilton
Touching the Void by Joe Simpson

And if you’re into trail running specifically as many of our tribe are, there’s a whole bunch of extra books including:

Mud, Sweat and Tears: An Irish Woman’s Journey of Self-Discovery by Moire O’Sullivan
Runner: A Short Story About a Long Run by Lizzy Hawker
Nowhere Near First: Ultramarathon Adventures From the Back of the Pack by Cory Reese
Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek with Steve Friedman
North by Scott Jurek & Jenny Jurek
Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner by Dean Karnazes
Run or Die by Killian Jornet
Running Man by Charlie Engle
Running Beyond: Epic Ultra Trail and Skyrunning Races by Ian Corless
Feet in the Clouds : A Tale Of Fell Running and Obsession by Richard Askwith
Running to Leadville by Brian Burk
Sky Runner by Emelie Forsberg
Finding Ultra by Rich Roll
Beyond Impossible by Mimi Anderson
Training Essentials For Ultrarunning by Jason Koop
Just A Little Run Around The World by Rosie Swale Pope
The Rise of the Ultra Runners by Adharanand Finn
There Is No Map In Hell by Steve Birkinshaw
50 Races To Run Before You Die by Tobias Mews
To Be A Runner: How Racing Up Mountains, Running with the Bulls or Just Taking on a 5k Makes You a Better Person (and the World a Better Place) by Martin Dugard

We’re sure there’s plenty more and if there’s one you particularly like and want us to add it to the list just let us know and we will!

“I’m so grateful I can still go for my (solo) runs. It always lifts my spirits and I can just zone out. I beach walk. I meditate. I have wide open spaces around me and for that too I’m grateful. I’m also reading Neale Daniher - ‘When All is Said & Done’ He’s an inspiration.” Jo




See that bit about books above? Same idea except you don’t have to read them. Plenty to choose from. Even if you don’t have a paid streaming service, there’s plenty of great films online for free.  

“I walk there each evening on my own, giving plenty of room to other individuals or families doing the same thing. I also have started watching the FREE online movies released by Banff Film Fest - it's great!" Doreen

Take a virtual tour

Heaps of places have virtual tours online. Like this one from a few of Australia’s national parks. It’s just a small taste of what’s out there if you look.

"Today I was meant to be running Prague half marathon with my husband and friends to celebrate the 70th birthday of my friend Bernie. Obviously that didn’t happen but we ran a half marathon anyway. With 180km of social distance! Other friends also ran to support us from their own part of SA. We kept connected through messenger and provided moral support to each other. Between us we ran 5 marathons this morning. I don’t run without my iomerino socks and tshirt.Stay safe everyone" Jenni

Watch live webcams

Want something more fly by the seat of your pants? Thanks to modern technology, there are now webcams in all sorts of places, to let you see what’s going in real time. Maybe not very much. Maybe lots. That’s half the fun. We quite like Africam. And if all else fails, there’s puppy cam and a bunch of others here. Guaranteed to keep you entertained for hours.

"Stuck on the ‘Vasco da Gama’ (cruise ship). We have been in isolation for 19 days. Our cruise was on its way to London. Denied entry at our first port - Penang - then denied entry to Phuket after sitting off shore for three days. First internet connection yesterday - so have spent the time on board / reading, playing deck games,
eating, drinking (hiccup), reading, drinking, chatting. After a while it all becomes ‘quite boring’. Our ship is virus free so we are very lucky? Butwould dearly love to put my feet on terra firma." Joy


Enough with the passive stuff already, just because you may not be able to do your usual training doesn’t mean you can’t train at all. What a great time to give your body a break and mix it up a bit. There are so many different workouts online it’s not even funny. We’re not even going to link any here, you know how to find them. Try something new. Try lots of new things. Who knows, this could be the start of a beautiful new thing to do.

“I’m still working, running solo 80+ km a week. Doing yoga at home to try and maintain my mental health due to anxiety at all that’s going on but thankfully I’m an introvert so being alone most of the time is ok by me.” Kay

Learn new skills

What a great time to pick up some new skills. Not just extra or different training, but maybe now’s a good tome to learn how to camp cook, tie knots, start a fire, pack a backpack, read a map. Again, you’ll find plenty of resources online to get you going. You could maybe even learn guitar so next time you’re sitting around that campfire, you can bust out a few tunes.

"Morning swim in the ocean with hubby, reading Jacinda Ardern’s biography, inventing dishes with what’s in the fridge, meditation, exploring local walking trails, sitting on the deck enjoying the bird life and sunshine. Also grateful to still be working, so am enjoying the reduced traffic! Laughing at the awkward ‘social-distance-dance’ with colleagues (we are taking it seriously but maintaining our sense of humour)!" Tina

Get out

As far as we can see, even the countries with the strictest lock downs let you have at least a teeny bit of fresh air at some stage. When it comes to giving out psychological advice, we’re pretty great at Merino. So we won’t be sharing anything too in depth in that department, other than to say we all know getting out in the fresh air when you can, almost always makes you feel better. Being stuck around inside can take its toll, not just on your physical health, but it can take away your motivation to get outside and do things. That’s something you really need to stay on top of if you possibly can. Routines are good. And forcing yourself to do things even when you don’t really feel like it often means you feel better for having done it.

"Just bought a second hand spin bike (since the gyms are closed)
- continue to do my nightly reflections on my three (or more) good things from the day - get onto all those little home projects that have been piling up - such as sewing and mending :) I hope you and the team stay well and stay active in this time." Patrea


Dream and plan

And finally, one of our favourites. A lot of us are using this time to plan new adventures. We’re reading blogs and articles, searching maps, diving deep into what we’re gonna do next when we can. Planning stuff is half the fun, so get wild and creative and come up with a new adventure to look forward to. Even if you don’t end up doing, the process of planning it will at least give you some light at the end of the tunnel.

“Lotta biking, dog walking with the family. Still working, happy for that! Streaming lots of concerts in the evening and enjoy local beers! We'll get thru this together! Be safe” Patrick

Buy local

If you’re still able to buy things, have a think about what you buy, where it’s from and who you’re supporting. Sure we’re bias because we’re a smaller, family owned business, but whether it’s fruit and vegetables or a new tent, now’s a great time to support those around you who need it. And actually, not just now, but always. We all love a bargain, who doesn’t, but if you do what you can, when you can, you’ll play a part in some small business making it through this all. Pre buy something for down the track, buy a voucher to use later, whatever you can do to make sure that local travel company or tour guide or smaller equipment company can get to the other side, is a pretty excellent thing to do.