“It’s Good in the Woods” - Hiker Spotlight
“It’s Good in the Woods”By Steve Barrett, Creative Content Writer for Hilltop Packs
Justin Sylvester, an avid backpacker and hiker, is a New Hampshire native, having lived there since he was four years old. And through his YouTube channel he is enjoying the opportunities to meet others within the outdoors community across the nation and even around the world.
Justin’s YouTube channel, titled “It’s Good in the Woods,” has been a labor of love for him for the past three years, and the channel’s increasing numbers of views for the numerous videos found there show no signs of slowing down.Justin and his family – his wife and their daughter – all enjoy hiking and backpacking. The family also includes a wide array of pets and animals, including a dog and a hamster as well as chickens they raise as part of their homesteading lifestyle.
Justin refers to himself as a full-time homesteader who admits that backpacking and hiking are a major part of his world, which began when he was in third grade.“As part of a class trip, I hiked a one-mile walk at Pitcher Mountain, and that began my obsession,” he said. “I really loved the outdoors as a kid and that continues to this day.”
Of the hundreds of hikes he has walked in his lifetime, he said the most memorable trip was along Mount Liberty, when he met the woman who would later become his wife.“I was hiking with a blind gentleman by the name of Randy Pierce, which was an incredible experience, and my future wife was working on a documentary about him and his journey,” he said. “For many reasons, that hike will always mean the most to me.”
As for his YouTube channel, Justin started it in 2019 with the hopes of connecting with others within the backpacking / hiking community.“Before I committed to creating my channel, I talked with my wife, and she gave me great, simple advice,” he said. “She said, ‘just start recording and see what happens.’ It didn’t take me long to realize that YouTube is a great way to connect with others.”Justin said he didn’t honestly believe his channel was going to “go anywhere,” but within three short years the channel has accumulated over 16,000 subscribers with Justin showing nearly 200 videos.“There are a lot of YouTubers who have a great deal to offer on their respective channels,” he said. “I don’t try to ‘compete’ with anyone or claim to offer intense instruction, I just like to present natural, casual, viewer-friendly videos of me and my family or buddies hiking, backpacking, enjoying the outdoors.“It’s just me, just doing my thing.”
The videos cover a wide array of topics, and Justin said he is happy to receive feedback and comments from viewers.“The number of responses I’ve been getting has been mind-blowing,” he said. “I have met a lot of cool people and made many great friendships through the channel. In fact, I’m packing right now to go backpacking with other YouTubers.”As for his experience with Randy Pierce, Justin said it was 10 years ago when Randy – joined by his team and his guide dog, Quinn – took on the challenge of taking on all 48 of New Hampshire’s 4,000+ foot mountains in just one winter season.
“He wanted to do it to raise awareness of how blind people can do anything,” he said. “I was invited to go with him on this incredible journey, and it was an absolutely fantastic experience. I was honored to become an integral member of his team, and I’m honored to call him a friend.” The inspirational documentary made about Randy’s journey, titled “Four More Feet,” is available to rent or buy on Amazon Prime.“We are still close friends today,” Justin said proudly. “I will always carry with me the many amazing memories I made during that adventure. It was an opportunity of a lifetime.”
When asked why backpacking and hiking are so special to him, Justin summed it up with just one word.“Adventure,” he said with a smile. “It’s all about the adventure, man. All of it – backpacking, hiking, trail running, kayaking, canoeing, just breathing and living in the outdoors – is awesome. Just get out there and do it, man. It’s all good in the woods.” You can follow Justin on his adventures on his youtube channel belowhttps://www.youtube.com/c/ItsGoodintheWoods/