Stephen Regenold is founder and editor-in-chief of the popular outdoors news and gear review site GearJunkie.com. Regenold began GearJunkie as a newspaper column in 2002.
I am reading every day, all day, to try and stay current on the outdoors industry and scene. This means scanning social media, grabbing reader tips, Reddit, keeping up on athletes and explorers we cover, and following links into the rabbit hole of the internet in search of an angle or a scoop. At night, to slow down, lately I’ve kept “The Snow Leopard” by Peter Matthiessen near my bed. It’s a recounting of a trek in Nepal in 1973, and the author balances an adventure tale with startling, anachronistic, existential musings. My media diet ranges from small publications on climbing and ultra-endurance sports to Wired magazine, Vice, Slate, the New Yorker. I try to balance the niche/core knowledge with traditional media to stay current and mainstream enough to be relevant. You need to be a nerd for what you’re into, but keeping tab of mass culture is key to relating to a larger audience.
The outdoor industry has had an intriguing, politicized year. I follow closely the industry’s push and pull over land-use and conservation issues. It came to a tangible head this past year with some of the biggest brands in the industry, including Patagonia, pulling out of Salt Lake City and a major trade show there in protest to a debate over states’ rights and national monuments. The result was a snowballing and a shift in the industry, and the trade show, Outdoor Retailer, pulled up roots in Salt Lake City after 20 years as host to move to Denver. It was fascinating to see words turn into action, and to see that perpetuate into something that immediately affected tens of thousands of people and fostered a national movement.
An average week has me watching one-minute social media videos (GoPro edits); following vloggers like Casey Neistat; and leaning back to watch a Netflix or Amazon Prime series with my wife later at night once kids are in bed. (We have a new baby, and a teenager now, too: one girl, our oldest at 13, and four boys. Life is wild!)
I’m into some neo-rock bands now like LCD Soundsystem, MGMT, Arcade Fire. Otherwise, I often work to trance or EDM music. It’s got an interesting energy, all looping and loud and rhythmic, but still able to exist in the background so I can think and write. Regarding podcasts, I default to business and entrepreneurial shows. I am trying to get into the head space of being a company founder who runs a business with 10-plus employees. I am into people like James Altucher, an investor, writer, and contrarian who is wonderful at distilling on a range of topics.
I just returned from the Michigan Ice Fest on the Upper Peninsula. It’s an annual gathering of ice junkies, including guides, famous climbers, first-timers, and everyone in between. They seek out frozen waterfalls and smears of ice on cliffs that top 200 feet. I hung out with world champ Sasha DiGiulian and guide Angela VanWiemeersch to work on a story for GearJunkie and also to help Red Bull, one of the sponsors, build buzz around a video series. In Minneapolis, I am riding my bike every day. It’s my “car.”
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