Back in January, I entered Backpacker Magazine’s Field Scout Contest with a video called “Olympic Dreams.” (Watch the video below) My video entry portrayed friend and hiking extraordinaire Greg Soster and myself as “two men sharing one dream – an Olympic Dream.” We desperately wanted to be selected by Backpacker because the winners would be outfitted and sent on a paid week-long trek anywhere in the lower 48 states. In our case, we had our sights set on Olympic National Park, a diverse and scenic park on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. We sent in the video and I crossed my fingers, hoping the editors of Backpacker Magazine would make our Olympic Dreams come true.
After officially submitting the video, we sent it out to friends and family, spread the word through Facebook, and posted it here on IGORoamandreport. It got a lot of views and a lot of love – thanks everyone! The video was also sent along to Columbia Sportswear through one of Greg’s connections. The folks at Columbia headquarters got a peek and loved it! They told us they were interested in sponsoring us and would get back to us soon. For realz??? Although we had no idea what that meant, we were damn excited about this!
A month passed and before we heard back from Columbia, Backpacker disclosed the results of the contest. It was a bittersweet moment. We were so close. The video came in runner up! Sure, we may not have won, but it’s still quite an honor to have our work recognized by the editors of the most popular hiking magazine in the country. As runner up, I would also receive a free pair of Keen hiking boots as well.
Eventually Columbia did respond back to us; this happened only a few weeks back, right before I left for a week-long vacation. I was contacted by their marketing people and I couldn’t believe what I was told. They stayed true to their word. As part of the sponsorship, they were offering to send Greg and I tons of free gear to try out and review. Unreal. Total score!
A week later, when I got back to Boston, I was pleasantly surprised to find several boxes of loot already waiting for me. I tore into my gifts like a kid on Christmas morning. Inside I found a rain coat (in an awesome shade of blue), two athletic shirts, a pair of cross training shoes and a pair of low cut hiking boots. I got my Keen hiking boots from Backpacker as well. In total, our “Olympic Dreams” contest video ended up yielding Greg and I over $1000 retail value worth of gear, not to mention some valuable connections and potential work opportunities down the road.
Speaking of connections and work opportunities, we did end up pitching a separate trip idea to the editors of Backpacker Magazine afterward. We figured we might as well while we’re still on their radar. Haven’t heard back anything conclusive as of yet. But more on that later. It’s time to enjoy (and review, of course) this gear!
Here’s what I got:
Columbia Tull Creek Jacket (light blue), Columbia Enormity Crew Shirt (silver), Columbia Altimeter Shirt (dark blue), Columbia Ravenous Running Shoe (black and yellow), Columbia Master of Faster Low-Cut Trail Multi-Sport Shoe (black and red), Keen Low-Cut Red Rock Hiking Boot (Black Olive and Rust)