Regarding COVID-19: Please recreate responsibly and practice social distancing. Closures and travel restrictions are changing rapidly, always check and respect local regulations.

Stream These Adventure Films For Free Right Now

Find more than 60 films and documentaries freely available online—and don't be afraid to donate.

If you’re anything like me in this moment, your watch list has grown pretty short in the last week or two. While COVID marches inexorably onward, the winter and spring haven’t been canceled, as far as we can tell. Around this time every year, a handful of film festivals typically releases their features and presents them in theaters around the country.

This year, not so much. While many events have been rescheduled for later in the fall, that is not the case for all of them. When your appetite for adventure might be at an all-time high, a few adventure film festivals have made their 2020 features freely available to stream online.

Backcountry Film Festival

Now in its 15th year, the Backcountry Film Festival was nearing the end of its tour, which spans from November to March, when the little COVID bug exploded in the United States in late February and early March. In response to the growing crisis, Winter Wildlands, festival producers, canceled the remaining showings and uploaded all two hours to YouTube. Check out the full lineup, which includes features from industry advocate Caroline Gleich and pro skier Cody Townsend, and find the full feature on YouTube.

DC Environmental Film Festival

Scheduled to take place March 12-22, the Environmental Film Festival fell smack-dab in the upswing of the COVID outbreak. In response, the festival, which normally takes place in Washington, DC, canceled its events and uploaded more than 60 titles online, most of them for free—sixty! And the selections don’t slouch on quality or intrigue: Pick from standard adventure fare in films like 80° North and Rediscovering Glen Canyon or advocacy documentaries like Generation Green New Deal and Tupí, which documents human rights in the Brazilian Amazon. Find all the features and links at DCEFF.org, and act fast; the DCEFF is only available online through the end of March.

Reel Rock 14

Although Reel Rock 14 already toured in 2019, tour dates were scheduled throughout the beginning of 2020. No word just yet on whether those will be canceled or not—a betting man would tell you to check with the local venue. Regardless, its lineup includes some of the finest adventure film work in the past year, including Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell’s heart-wrenching attempt to break Brad Gobright’s speed record on The Nose. Rest in peace, Brad. For $19.99, Reel Rock 14 is available for digital download and streaming on Vimeo.

Please, Sir, May I Have Some More?

Not enough for ya? Out of options on your favorite streaming service? I’m thinking about a trial subscription at Slipstream, a streaming web service dedicated specifically to the adventure film category. Free trials last for a full calendar month, which—though who knows how long this COVID thing will last—could take up precisely half of the eight-week containment scenario that a few state agencies are throwing around. After the trial period, it’s about 5 bucks a month. Sign up at watchslipstream.com.

Photo by Stephen Matera.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Jonathan Stull

Find me elsewhere on the internet @jonathandstull and at jonathanstull.co.