5 must-see outdoor documentaries
Find inspiration and excitement in five great outdoor documentaries.
180 Degrees South (2010)
One of the most well-known outdoor documentaries, 180 Degrees South follows adventurer Jeff Johnson on his path to recreate the 1968 road trip to Patagonia of Doug Tompkins (founder of The North Face) and Yvon Chouinard (founder of Patagonia). The trip is an adventure lover’s dream, with plenty of hiking, skiing and surfing and ending with Johnson’s effort to climb the Corcovado volcano in Chile.
This documentary examines the life of extreme skier, Shane McConkey. Whether you have heard of him or not, this is a great biopic for any extreme sports enthusiast or adrenaline-junkie amongst us. Following his death in 2009 from a failed ski base jump, the film focuses on McConkey’s legacy and his impact on the sport of skiing. In the words of the risk-taker himself: “You have one life. Live it.”
The Barkley Marathons – The Race That Eats Its Young (2014)
Every year in a tiny town in Tennessee, 40 people attempt to run the Barkley Marathon, also known as the world’s hardest trail. With a top secret application process in which candidates must write an essay titled: “Why I should be allowed to run in The Barkley” and pay the measly $1.60 fee, the chosen individuals will attempt to run more than 100 miles (supposedly a lot more) in just 60 hours.
The ultramarathon is the work of mad geniuses Lazarus Lake and Raw Dog, as a mock on the infamous failed prison attempt in 1977 by Martin Luther King Jr’s assassin, James Earl Ray. The course changes every year and in the 25 years of its existence, only 10 people have finished. This is an entertaining documentary from start to end.
Finding Traction (2014)
An inspirational tale of human spirit and endurance, this documentary tells the story of ultra-runner Nikki Kimball and her journey to become the fastest person ever to complete America’s oldest hiking trail – the 273 mile “Long Trail” in Vermont. The story aims to inspire people to spend more time outdoors, while empowering girls and women to believe they can achieve anything, regardless of their gender.
A beautifully shot documentary that follows the attempt of three distinguished climbers, Conrad Ankar, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk, in their endeavour to climb the Shark’s Fin of Mount Meru. This was the first ever attempt to climb the summit in the Himalayas and is a gripping tale of friendship and perseverance. Did they succeed? You’ll have to watch it yourself to find out.
This is a guest post by Netsportique, a UK-based sporting goods manufacturer and retailer, offering equipment for all types of sports.
- The films can be seen on various film streaming channels and DVD.