A couple of decades ago it was a rarity to have couples join forces to promote wilderness adventuring. Canadian paddlers had Gary and Joanie McGuffin, and I think that’s about it. The job of filming and promoting nature was held mostly by men, and thankfully a few single women. But couples were not commonplace.
Now, being a couple and creating YouTube videos of wilderness trips together is becoming quite the norm. There are dozens of young, enthusiastic love birds capturing their summer canoe trips or winter camping excursions on camera, and sharing it to the world on all forms of social media—including YouTube.
Here are some of the best-known outdoor celebrities and some up-and-coming outdoor couples sharing their experiences—together—on YouTube.
Freak of Nature
Freak of Nature
Teunis and Brittany Richards of the Freak of Nature YouTube channel are both First Responders living in eastern Ontario, along the border of Algonquin Park. They both have charm and wit while on camera and are ethical and safe campers and canoeists. They’re subscriptions are a bit on the low side (1,300 to date) but don’t let that fool you. The Richards' good blend of adventures are a joy to watch. My favourite so far is their 12-day canoe trip down the full length of Ontario’s French River, ending in Killarney Provincial Park. It’s epic!
Explore The Backcountry
Brad Jennings started up his channel Explore The Backcountry a few years back after a television pilot with his dad Wayne got kiboshed. He then turned to YouTube—and has not looked back since. The excursions now include Brad’s wife, Leah Schmidt. Together, they embark on countless adventurous and exploratory canoe trips, mostly rediscovering long forgotten ‘lost’ routes. Brad and Leah should be applauded for all their work on getting attention to places less paddled. Their series on the far northern canoe trip titled The Little North chronicles a 450-kilometre canoe journey across Canada's Little North, a vast wilderness sprawling for over a million square kilometers in the northern reaches of Ontario and Manitoba.
Canoe The North
Canoe the North
I’m not sure why Keenan and Ashley’s channel Canoe The North doesn’t have more thousands of subscribers (they’re sitting at just over 5,000 right now). The film work is incredible, the canoe trips they take on are amazing, and their camaraderie between each other, and their two dogs Hugo and Betty-Lou, is charismatic. Do yourself a favour and check them out. The video on their huge Lake Huron trip is outstanding.
Chris Prouse is an amazing filmmaker and storyteller. Her channel will captivate you. Guaranteed. The videos are a mix of Chris’ outdoor travels with her spouse, Julia, and son, Cedar. They’ve completed Algonquin’s Meanest Link not once, but twice, just for “funsies.” The most riveting film is when they deal with a nuisance black bear at an Algonquin backcountry campsite. I’m not saying it’s Chris and Julia’s best film work—but watch it to the end to see what happens.
Jonathan Kelly started up his video channel Lost Lakes—formerly Backcountry Angling Ontario—way back in 2017 and captured on film his 95 days of solo canoe tripping. The channel grew, and so did Jon. A couple of years into it, he introduced his new girlfriend, Erin Elizabeth, into a good majority of the films; to date they’ve clocked countless far north canoe and winter trips together. Jon has that wilderness poet thing going on, and he’s great at capturing the beauty of all that is out there. Having Erin along definitely helps give confidence to any women out there that were led to believe that wilderness tripping is a man’s world. She can swing an axe better than Paul Bunyan. Check out the episode where they get engaged while canoe tripping around Lake Superior’s Slate Island.
Rach Outdoors channel has an addictive quality to it. First and far most, it’s real canoe tripping, places the normal paddler could go and enjoy a mild adventure. Rachel Stetson and her hubby, and dog, represent the majority of canoe trippers out there—clad in brightly coloured Tilly hats, zipped up PFDs and a showing an all-around positive attitude towards experiencing the natural world. There should be more channels like this one. My favourite is their canoe trip on the French River’s Eighteen Mile Island Loop. I love that canoe route.