If you’re on social media and follow the outdoor community you’ll find a lot of gear reviews. Many of them have been helpful to me in deciding which gear would be right to purchase and use. For many outdoor bloggers they receive the gear free in exchange of a written or video review. Other bloggers are Brand Ambassadors for specific outdoor industry companies, and through social media I have gotten to know and become friends with many of the Brand Ambassadors who I trust their opinion and reviews. I’ve even purchased gear based on a Brand Ambassadors review.
I myself have received some gear and have posted reviews. The times I have received gear, each one, to me, has been a gift. I don’t see it as something I got for FREE. Each piece of gear I’ve received came from an industry who reached out to me, and it’s been an honor and privilege to not only use, but also post reviews. Each piece has been received with gratitude. Hike By Faith was not founded on getting free gear. Our purpose is to introduce people to the outdoors, promote getting outside and be advocates for wildlife and wilderness conservation. And in the process if I’m given gear for free I will put in the effort and time to give an honest review. As a result of getting some free gear it only prompted me to purchase gear from that company because I believe in the company, it’s staff and their products.
My social media connections and networking in the outdoor community has accomplished three important things; it’s building friendships that reach well beyond the borders of my own state, it motivates me to seek more adventure and go further, and it educates me further to go farther.
Social media has become a great tool for the outdoor lifestyle I choose to live. When I jump online I’m looking forward to making those connections and hearing from my friends about their latest adventures and even the simple things in life like bacon and burritos. I’m not looking for a piece of free gear.
If your connecting with the outdoor industry for the purpose of receiving free gear you are what I call “Free Gear Seekers” and for all the wrong reasons. Do yourself a favor and invest in gear, take it on an adventure, and use it. Many of us can afford to buy gear and if we truly love the outdoor lifestyle then we’ll support the industry who takes the time to develop quality gear we want. Each time we buy gear we’re supporting a business and their employees that share our passion for the outdoors. For many of us who have received free gear and use it, end up having our gear closet full, for which we have gone through and later donate to organizations like Gear Forward. Gear Forward is an organization we partner with and a purpose of getting gear into the hands of the next generation who can’t afford the gear needed to get outside.
So build relationships, connect with others who share your passion for the outdoors, use social media to give back, share your adventure stories and pictures to motivate others, and you’ll find a community you can connect with like no other. And if you’re given the chance to receive free gear, be grateful, use and post an honest review. Then…support that company with future purchases and social media plugs because you believe in what they are doing. Don’t become a free gear seeker, become an outdoor seeker first.