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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

You Gotta Get In to Win

Tis the season for giving, but today I want to talk about getting. Or, rather, winning. I’ve never had much luck with the lottery, but it turns out that it's a lot easier to win outdoor-industry contests and giveaways, and with companies eager to draw traffic to their websites and e-letters, new ones are popping up all the time.

Last summer I submitted an entry to Mountain Hardwear’s Mission Project blog after the company was nice enough to provide me with a lightweight Phantom 32 sleeping bag. I can bang out a trip report like this before my second cup of coffee—no big deal. So I was blown away when I learned a few weeks later that my entry had been chosen to win a $1,000 shopping spree for Mountain Hardwear gear. The blog is still seeking entries, and it’s not too late to submit your own; you'll be eligible to win a guided trip up Mt. Rainer and a $2,000 gear spree.

My good fortune was nothing compared with the artist Jeremy Collins and his brother, Jonathan, who entered a Zest soap competition and then shamelessly lobbied friends to vote for them. Jer wrote up the entry for his brother, who proceeded to win $15,000 worth of travel. The two have already used part of the money to visit the Lofoten Islands in Norway and are planning to use the rest to travel to Patagonia and China. As if that isn’t enough, they also were named Mr. February and Mr. March for the “Zest Men of Adventure” calendar.

These things are everywhere:
• The Gear Junkie (aka Stephen Regenold) gives away a really nice bit of schwag every week, just for signing up to receive its e-newsletter.
• Climbing magazine is offering a free trip to the Gunks, with a stay at the exclusive Mohonk Mountain House and the chance to climb at the off-limits Skytop crag.
• Kayland and Rock and Ice are giving away a pair of boots to the person who writes the best 75-word “essay” on his or her best climbing partnership.
• Polarguard is offering a pile of schwag every two months to people who write the best adventure story for its website.

Many of these contests expire soon, but more will be on their way. And unlike your chances in Powerball, your odds of winning one of these outdoor-industry giveaways are really, really good. As I learned painfully when I ran a climbing magazine for five years, the outdoor market is teeny. And the number of people who will actually get off their butts and scribble a 10-minute trip report is even smaller. Bottom line: You don’t have to be Jon Krakauer or Jimmy Chin to score big with your writing or photography.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We're also doing a give-away. Like some of these, it's almost over. But there's still time. We're giving away t-shirts over at

Just become a member and create a group. The first 10 groups to have 5 members or more gets the group-founder a shirt. Blam!

2 shirts left...