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Should an Outdoorsman Grow a Beard?


This year is turning out to be “The Year of The Beard.” While I wish I could grow a beard like Drew Holcomb or one of the boys from Duck Dynasty, I’m not sure that I would. It’s not because I think girls like a clean shaven man (personally, my girlfriend wishes I would grow one). For me, it comes down to functionality.

Here are 5 reasons why you shouldn’t grow a beard if you’re an outdoorsman…

  1. It’s hot and scratchy during the summer:  Memorial Day has come and gone, marking the beginning of summer. This means the outdoor thermostat is getting turned up, and it’s about to become hot and muggy outside. I’m one of the few who actually enjoy the hot and humid weather, but when a beard’s on my face (and a bushy one at that) it starts to become unbearable. Some guys can put up with the itchy scratchiness but, let’s face it, during the dead of summer it’s tough for any man to have a beard.
  2. Beards aren’t great for the workplace:  The wildlife is teeming, the kids are out of school, and everyone wants to go on vacation. In order to fund that vacation, one needs to have a job. Most employers aren’t a big fan of the beard. If your boss is cool and allows you to have a beard, it typically has to be trimmed and “well kept.” If you’ve ever had any hopes of having a full, thick beard, they’ve pretty much been dashed right there.
  3. It makes it easier for bugs and critters to go undetected: Now, if you have a job, and your employer’s cool enough to let you have a full, thick beard, you’re going to want to show it off at the crag, on the trail, or in another country on surfing trips. That’s when your next problem comes into play. Why do you think your dog gets ticks and critters, but you seem to come out clean? It’s because man’s best friend is typically a lot hairier than you and it’s easier for a tick or other critters to find a home and go undetected. When you have a lot of thick hair on your face, a tick is more likely to jump on and take hold of your face, which this mountain biker described on a mountain bike forum in 2008. The danger is, you typically won’t feel a tick bite and it could be carrying Lyme Disease or another disease. And you don’t want that.
  4. They get in the way: If you’ve ever had facial hair go untrimmed for long periods of time, you know what I’m talking about. You have to adjust the way you eat so your whiskers don’t get in your food and the way you sleep so they don’t get up in your nose.
  5. They’re hard to maintain: If you want a nice looking beard, you have to shampoo it and sometimes condition it, just like you would the hair on the top of your head. Beards can easily get smelly, making people want to keep a distance from you. It’s also really tough to properly trim your beard to keep it clean and even looking.

I understand beards look cool, manly, and are the new “hip” thing, but are they really that functional for an outdoorsman? If you enjoy spending your time in the city, then a beard would work out well for you. However, if you enjoy spending your time out in the woods after work and on the weekends, then unfortunately the most you’re probably going to want to have on your face is a 5 o’clock shadow.


By Justin Fricke, aka the JustinTheWeekendWarrior

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