Imagine that all your guidebooks and maps taking up space on your shelves, floors, and coffeetable were combined into a single, reliable, curated volume that fit any type of activity you were in the mood for.
That is the ambitious mission of The Outdoor Project, a new online guidebook for nature-lovers, hikers, and adventurers. The website—which went live this week and officially launches on Monday—offers 331 trips for all types of adventurers, with more on the way.
“The [existing] resources out there are really sub-par. They’re not fun to use, and they’re always region or adventure-type specific. It’s either hiking in the gorge or kayaking in Washington," says Tyson Gillard, co-founder and CEO. "There was no resource out there that bridged all the adventure types."
“Even when you do find something," adds co-founder Jared Kennedy, "you can't be sure to trust the map or the write-up."
To find a trip, users pick their own criteria by selecting the type of activity, region, difficulty. The system spits out a customized list of possible adventures with original photography (like the ones used in this post), hi-res maps, weather advisories, and side diversions—all original content gathered and written by the core team or trusted contributors.
This trust is key.
“We only publish trips that we have gone on ourselves or that our contributors have explored in depth. The contributors have to apply and then we develop a strong relationship with them,” says Kennedy.
Currently, access to the site is free but there is a pay-what-you-want a membership program with incentives—including future discounts at local businesses.
“The overall aspiration is providing content to inspire people," says Kennedy. "Not just with black and white photos. We want to marry information and entertainment. It’s about maximum enjoyment."