How to Make It in the Outdoor Industry

Travel, be more productive, get the right degree, and customize your career

You don't hate mondays, you just need a better job. (Amanda Mustard)
Photo: Amanda Mustard

1. Rethink Your Commute

How does someone live when they can work wherever they please? (Ascent/PKS Media Inc./Getty)

Travel companies are creating a generation of digital nomads, flying gig workers and tech nerds to exotic locales where they can pursue dream jobs. These brands make it their business to solve the significant logistical problems that come up when trying to get work done while abroad—but can they solve the problem of other people? 

2. Get Schooled

Utah State
In 2015, Logan-based Utah State, tucked in the foothills of the Wasatch Range north of Salt Lake City, launched the Outdoor Product Design and Development program, the country’s first undergraduate major created expressly for outdoor-gear designers. (Emmanual Polanco/Colagene, Creative Clinic)

At USU, students in the country’s first program for gear designers aren’t just learning how to sew a bestselling jacket. They’re being groomed to lead the industry’s next big political and environmental fights.

3. Make Yourself Useful

Jon Rose
Jon Rose in Los Angeles last year. (Joe Pugliese)

Former pro Jon Rose was chasing the biggest swells in Sumatra when the 2009 earthquake hit, and he spent the next decade providing clean water in remote disaster zones. Last fall his Waves for Water crew was in Saint Croix when Hurricane Maria struck, so the team did what came naturally: got to work.

4. Hustle Your Side Gig

lauren fleshman
Nearly a third of U.S. workers now have side gigs. (Ian Allen)

It’s hard to make a living from just one thing. Lauren Fleshman—champion middle-distance runner, cofounder of Picky Bars, coach, and mother of two—lets us in on how she juggles it all.

5. Conjure Up a Storm

dc rainmaker
Ray Maker tests the latest wearables near his home in Paris. (Julie Glassberg)

How Ray Maker, a man with no formal journalism training, built DC Rainmaker into a site visited by millions—and harnessed the power to make or break your next running watch.

6. Change the Culture

Some 70 percent of the 4,176 people who responded to an Outside survey for this story reported that they’d been harassed in the outdoors or while working in the outdoor industry. (Molly Mendoza)

As Outside discovered in its investigation of sexual harassment in outdoor workplaces, unwanted advances, discrimination, and assault are a frequent and destructive occurrence for far too many women working in the outdoors.

7. Step Outside the Box

David Zimberoff, SRAM's vice president of marketing, at the company's bike-wash station. (Andrew Hetherington)

Creating an office that truly makes us happy and healthy takes a lot more than standing desks and on-site yoga. Thankfully, new research has sparked a growing revolution in workplace design

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