Millennials in the outdoor industry believe things can be better. Their conversations expand beyond “What gear do you have?” to, “What does the company you buy your gear from stand for?” and “How are we making these activities more accessible to everyone?”
Our focus has shifted from epic adventures to epic change, and it all stems from a deep love of the places where we love to play.
These 8 individuals and brands are a small sample of the major impact millennials are having in the outdoor space. They’re starting industry changing conversations about inclusivity, land access, and systemic issues that keep people from getting outside. And they’re not doing it quietly.
Game-Changing Millennials in the Outdoor Industry
These millennial-led businesses and non-profits, along with Social Media Activists and Athletes, are shaking up the outdoor industry in a way that’s revolutionizing the way people interact with our government, our environment, and consumerism in general.
So who are these people? Let me introduce you.
Katie Boué is a public lands activist. She currently lives in Salt Lake City where she advocates for Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase Escalante. It’s a hard battle when Utah’s senators are adamant about turning that land into oil factories. Katie is helping fight the good fight. She recently participated in a 260-mile relay to raise awareness about these beautiful regions of southern Utah.
Founded by Jainee Dial and Lindsey Elliot, Wylder Goods is an online marketplace with products made for women by women. They’re choosy about brands they work with. While not every brand checks every box, the majority are B-Corps, use sustainable materials, reduce packaging, and practice fair labor laws.
On their mission page they state: “With our natural systems in decline, one thing is certain: we must take action. Wylder is committed to doing business better.”
Never Not Collective
We love when people see a problem, and then decide to do something to fix it. That’s 100% the case with the Never Not Collective. Four women: Julie Ellison, Colette McInerny, Leslie Hittmeier, and Shelma Jun, set out to create a women-led media company to highlight “stories of everyday people doing great things.”
Just over a year ago, Len Necefer created NativesOutdoors, a certified B-corp that exists to support native people. NativesOutdoors donates 5% of all proceeds to native-run non-profits, and in the day-to-day works with outdoor industry leaders to further conversations about tribal land, conservation, and the outdoor community writ large.
Read more about Natives Outdoors and Len’s vision for the future in this interview with our Managing Editor.
Founded by a group of adventurers, this family-run company is bringing old-fashioned hospitality into the 21st century. Two cousins, Nick St. John and James Ebert, decided to follow in their grandparents footsteps (Grandma Ede Ebert pictured above!), and continue their legacy. They currently guide trips to Utah’s National Parks, and are planning to expand.
Caroline Gleich has been a nature lover all her life. Her love of the mountains and affinity for type II fun have helped her cultivate a career as a ski mountaineer. She currently calls Utah home, where she advocates for issues like climate change and cyber bullying, both to which she is no stranger. When she isn’t suited up for alpine adventures, she’s in business attire, and using her platform to create change at the Utah capital and the nation’s capital.
On their Instagram profile, Modern Huntsman reads: “Restoring the perception of hunting.” They recently released Volume 1 of their magazine which celebrates hunting as conservation and as a means to harvest your own meat. The three friends who began the company decided that hunting didn’t have to be black and white — instead, they could redefine what hunting meant to them, and hopefully future generations.
As an artist, Renan has painted delicate landscapes. He’s traveled to remote corners of faraway countries as an adventure athlete. And as a photographer, Renan has brought stories from these places to life. Renan uses his platform to help tell the story of humankind. He celebrates his wife, the people he’s met through his travels, and his fellow athletes.
These individuals and companies are a small portion of all the good in the world. They’re deciding they want to live on their own terms, and they’re inspiring other people to do the same. We’re excited to see the ways millennials in the outdoor industry impact our trade and our world going forward.