Event Preview: The Outbound Pursuit Series

We need the tonic of wildness… At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature. – Henry David Thoreau

According to the Outdoor Industry Association, the outdoor exploration industry is worth $120B in the US alone, and it’s growing at 5% every year.

Social changes are driving these interests; people are living in smaller spaces and are more eager to experience the vastness of nature. The outdoor industry has also undoubtedly benefited from the cultural shift toward health and wellness.

For many, however, the core question is: Where do I start?

The Pursuit Series is offering a unique take on this all. Founded by Brian Heifferon, Julia Stamps Mallon, and Bart Davis, the series is an outgrowth of Julia’s company, Eventus Outdoors, and Brian’s company, The Outbound Collective – an online community committed to leveraging new tools of communication to make the outdoors more accessible.

The Outbound was founded five years ago, and it has since grown to be a network of over 150 outdoor influencers creating content and 9 million+ visitors a year using the site to plan adventures. The Outbound helps people get inspired to explore the outdoors. They recognize that visuals play a key role in inspiring people to get outside, but that people also want to hear the stories behind the photos. The Outbound helps people take these inspirations and turn them into real trips, answering all their questions along the way.

When all you need to explore parks, trails, lakes, and everything nature has to offer is nice weather and pair of shoes, the only barrier between interested adventurers and their first successful adventure is knowledge of where to go and what to expect when they get there. Through articles like Essential Gear for Backpacking Torres del Paine and How to Go Ultralight for Backpacking the Grand Canyon, the Outbound helps people get there.

The community the site has created had a strong urge to get together in person and strengthen their relationships, which aligned with Brian and Julia’s own desire to enable people to explore the outdoors on their own. After all, without a good friend who knows how to fly fish, camp, or surf, the barrier to developing skills like those is simply too high.

The Pursuit Series is about enabling peopling to pursue their passions through teaching outdoor skills and allowing people to network with likeminded people.

For four days, in places like Sanborn, CA and Salt Lake City, Utah, 300+ outdoor enthusiasts will get together to explore a host of activities ranging from surfing and paddle-boarding, to climbing, mountain biking, hiking, and more. With participation from partners like Leave No Trace, attendees will dive into outdoor skill development from day one.  

The easiest way to grow the outdoors industry and cultivate communities to protect the outdoors is to grow participation. The Pursuit Series seeks to do this by helping people develop horizontally across activities, teaching climbers to mountain bike and surfers to camp. As people experience more activities, they tend to bring their friends along.

What separates Pursuit from other outdoors weekend is the participation brands play in shaping attendee experiences. Guides, instructors, and ambassadors from the world’s leading outdoor gear brands will be running sessions as diverse as “Hammock Camping 101” to late night headlamp runs. Outfitting beginners with the proper gear and proper instruction allows attendees to make sure they are starting out on the right foot. As opposed to a regular demo day, participants will get to use the products for hours and build skills while using them.

The next Pursuit Series takes place in San Francisco from September 810, 2017.

the author

Jared Gordon

Jared Gordon is head, financial services innovation Idea Couture. See his full bio here.