2016 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market was a big hit!

After the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market we are exhausted, but beyond thrilled that our clients had such successful shows! Check out the links below to see some of the awards given:


GearJunkie’s – Best in Show Gear for 2017, Kickr 7 FL Solar Panel

The Manual – The Best of Outdoor Retailer 2016, Kickr 7 FL Solar Panel

Tepui Tents


Outside Magazine – Gear of the Show: The Best of Summer Outdoor Retailer 2016, White Lightening Rooftop Tent

Popular Mechanics – Editor’s Choice Awards, White Lightening Rooftop Tent

Gear Junkie – Best in Show Gear for 2017, Baja Rooftop Tent

The Manual – The Best of Outdoor Retailer 2016, White Lightening Rooftop Tent

Elevation Outdoors – Summer Peak Gear Awards, Kukenam Ruggedized Rooftop Tent

Men’s Journal – 17 Things We Want From the Summer Outdoor Retailer Show, White Lightening Rooftop Tent



Popular Mechanics – Editor’s Choice, US Assist Pocket Knife

Gear Junkie – Best in Show Gear for 2017, US Assist Pocket Knife

Gear Patrol – Editor’s Choice: The Best Gear from Outdoor Retailer Summer 2016, US Assist Pocket Knife

Big Agnes


Gear Institute – Best New Gear Awards: Summer 2016, Copper Spur Platinum Tent

Hoka One One


Outside Magazine – Gear of the Show: The Best of Summer Outdoor Retailer 2016, Speed EVO R Track Spikes

Runner’s World – Editor’s Choice Award, Clayton shoe

Gear Junkie – Best in Show Summer 2017, Speed EVO R Track Spike

Red Paddle Co. 
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Sup Connect – Gear of the Year, Ride MSL Board



Men’s Journal – 17 Things We Want from the Summer OR Show, Subterra Carry-On 22″

Black Diamond


Gear Institute – Best New Gear Awards: Summer 2016, Iota Headlamp





Paddleboards, Our Wild, and evo, Oh My! Backbone Continues to Partner With Engaging Brands

We have had a busy summer here at Backbone, and are excited to announce some of the new partnerships that have evolved!

Red Paddle Co. – We are hitting the water with Red Paddle Co., the UK-based maker of high performance, inflatable stand-up paddleboards. These boards are among the very best in the SUP community– they are not substitutes for the real thing, they are the real thing! The boards inflate quickly and maintain a stiff rigid form, yet are easy to carry and pack into a wheeled bag! We are excited to help spread the word about Red Paddle.

Carbon Media Group – Carbon Media Group is a progressive media company with an extensive digital ecosystem that includes CarbonTV, which Backbone will be focusing on most. CarbonTV is a premium video platform that provides consumers with on-demand, free access to their favorite outdoor and rural lifestyle shows. Some of their most popular series include: American Elements, Bone Collector, Major League Bowhunter, and others. We look forward to working in this space!

Wilderness Society – The Wilderness Society is among the nation’s leading conservation organizations, and Backbone is really excited to be standing behind them on their Our Wild campaign. This movement aims to protect and preserve access to the 670 million acres of public wildlands in America, like the national parks, forests, deserts, and wildlife refuges. Unfortunately, these spaces face grave threats from profit-minded folks which could have detrimental impacts on these fragile ecosystems. Protecting these wildlands aligns with Backbone’s passion for all things outdoors, and we are hopeful that this partnership will foster positive results.

evo  – evo is a Seattle-based action sports and outdoor retailer, and Backbone is excited to be teaming up with them to drive public relations in North America. evo also focuses on events, art, adventure travel, and expert advice for skiers, snowboarders, mountain bikers, skateboarders, wakeboarders, surfers, and more. They have mastered the balance between brick and mortar stores and e-commerce platforms. They have stores in Seattle, Portland, and Denver (opening fall 2016). We are excited to dive into this project with the evo team.

ViewRanger – Backbone will be guiding UK-based ViewRanger as it relaunches its mapping and navigation app to the US market. The app has already achieved tremendous success abroad, and Backbone is confident it will see similar results in North America. ViewRanger is unlike any other navigation app, as it provides premium access to the highest quality maps, and allows users to plan, navigate, record and share their adventures. A new feature to the app will launch in the coming weeks, and we are certain it will revolutionize the way users interact with the outdoors.

RYU – RYU Apparel is a Vancouver-based, tailored, technical, urban athletic apparel brand for men and women. Their pieces are great for working out, with high quality, sweat-wicking, and comfort fitting fabrics, but they are also ideal for use outside of the gym. RYU has an immense amount of potential and momentum, and Backbone is thrilled to be working alongside of them.

As always, there are more projects in the works, and we feel more and more grateful everyday to be working alongside companies with values that we are passionate about.

Happy summer!

IFTD New Product Showcase Awards

The International Fly Tackle Dealer show was held in Orlando as part of ICAST in July. IFTD is a great opportunity for brands to showcase some of their latest gear, equipment, waders, fly line, tippet, and more for the upcoming season. We are excited that Backbone clients Fishpond, Sage, and RIO won awards for their 2016/2017 products!


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Fly Rod – Freshwater: Sage X 590

Fly Rod – Saltwater: Sage X 890

Eco-Friendly Product: Fishpond Thunderhead Duffel

DVD: RIO Products, Favorite Fly-Fishing Knots

Fly Line – Freshwater: RIO Products, InTouch Big Nasty

Fly Line – Saltwater: RIO Products, Winter Redfish

Leader/Tippet: RIO Products, RIO Saltwater Mono

Best of Show: Sage X 590


Check out this video of Angling Trade editor Kirk Deeter chatting with Far Bank Enterprises president and CEO Travis Campbell to see more!

Tommy Caldwell – On Writing and Climbing

Tommy Caldwell, the acclaimed climber, speaks on the similarities between his sport and writing as he delves into his next challenge: writing a book. He touches on the dichotomy that many climbers, including himself, face: escapism or conformity – his search for truth came by means of going out of his comfort zone (which for a climber, takes a lot), and he decided to write. Read more about his latest adventure hereScreen Shot 2016-08-02 at 2.47.43 PM Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 2.47.54 PM

The Press Trip Is Not Dead

8 Tips for Planning Your Next Boondoggle Media Trip

I am a firm believer that any solid marketing plan, in the B2C space, should involve a cadence of media trips. That’s a sweeping statement, so let me clarify: I believe media trips are an incredible way to establish long-lasting relationships, and deliver ROI with journalists and social influencers for certain industries. Taking journalists to a remote jungle to test new software? Probably not be the best use of marketing dollars. But taking a journalist into a remote jungle to explore a new GPS device, now we’re talking.

Backbone hosts over a dozen media trips and events every year, in all shapes and sizes, so we have compiled the below list of tips and tricks that can be applied to almost any situation.

1 – Purpose – It’s important to take a step back and think, “what is the media going to get out of this?” and “why should this happen in-person, via an experiential trip, as opposed to over email?”

In the outdoor and active lifestyle industry we have an opportunity to really bring our clients’ brand and products to life. But there are many other consumer-facing industries who can capitalize on this same idea: product launches, brand launches, rebrands and big partnership announcements are all situations where media trips might make sense.

The media’s time is valuable and asking them to leave the office is a big ask, so ensuring that the hook is worthy of their time is key.

Media trip in Baja, Mexico

Learning how to surf in Baja, Mexico

2 – Budget – Media trips can be scaled to work with almost any budget, but I think it’s fair to assume that when you add up airfare, lodging, food & beverage, and incidentals it’s not a cheap tactic. Being up front about these costs from the start will help set expectations with your client. I always run on the assumption that if a brand is asking a journalist to attend a trip, they should be covering their expenses, soup-to-nuts.

Some simple ways to cut costs are through staffing, international vs. national trips, pulling-in freelancers or media who are based near the destination, and reaching out to resorts, hotels, and local chambers of commerce. If you are planning on bringing 10 top tier journalists to Belize to test out a new line of rash guards and bathing suits, who knows what a local resort or visitor bureau might offer up – often in the form of a “media rate” – knowing that their property and destination is likely to be mentioned in any post-trip coverage.

3 – Partnerships – Some brands are more sensitive to “sharing the spotlight” than others, however, inviting non-competing brands to take part in a trip can quickly increase the lure for a journalist and greatly offset the overall cost. Don’t get me wrong, if a brand can manage the $50K media trip no problem, there is huge return as you’ll be able to own all messaging. On the flip side, if a sandal company can only put $5K towards a trip, what’s the downside of bringing a water bottle company, a sunglasses brand, and a sunscreen company into the event? All of a sudden, you have $20K to work with and journalists are exposed to a lot of cool new products all centered around the same activity.

When going this route, be sure to establish early on who is driving the event. If everyone is coming in at the same price, there should be equal attention paid to the brands. If there is a scale at which brands are participating, allocate brand exposure accordingly.

Ski apparel launch in Jackson Hole, WY

Ski apparel launch in Jackson Hole, WY

4 – Venue – This is one of the easiest ways to fall flat on a media trip. I’m going to lay it out in real terms: the venue you select 100 percent reflects your brand so chose accordingly. If you’re a backcountry ski manufacturer, asking folks to stay in a rugged AK lodge while they are heli-skiing makes total sense. However, ensure the food, sleeping arrangements, and amenities are up to snuff.

Again, don’t forget to let the venue, lodge, hotel, whatever it may be know that you’re hosting journalists at their property. If there’s a chance they’ll get free press, they just might adjust the pricing for you or throw in some great comp items.

5 – Social Media – This is probably the simplest, but most effective tool to get real-time coverage and ROI for the trip. Aligning on a #hashtag, sharing all appropriate social handles with attendees, and setting up any content guidelines is key for the success. Hiring a professional photographer who can shoot the trip and provide images to the media is another tool to get great real time content sharing.

6 – Invitees – This should be straightforward: invite journalists on a media trip who are a fit for the story, product, brand you are highlighting. Just because someone is in-house at Outside does not mean they are a fit for a fly fishing trip. Take the time to research who at a publication is writing fly fishing reviews/stories and invite them.

Conversely, if you have a sexy media trip to a killer destination you can usually step a bit outside your typical demographic and lure big name titles. Be cautious however, some of the larger media houses do not allow press trips, so you may have to spend some time on LinkedIn or the publication’s website to find the appropriate freelancer.

Launching a new product line in Solvang, California

Launching a new product line in Solvang, California

7 – Structure – The itinerary for a media trip will of course vary, but I have one golden rule I always follow: build downtime into every day. You are taking time out of the office just like the media, so respect that they might have to jump online for a little bit and catch up on work. Plus, we’re all adults, and getting some personal time each day is important – no one wants to feel like they’re attending a sleep away camp with every moment of the day planned scheduled.

8 – Swag – This is probably the easiest piece of a media trip, but often overlooked. Media don’t just write for the publication they’re employed for, they are seen as influencers and experts in their space. If they are using a certain product/wearing a particular brand you better believe people are taking note. So, kit them out and give them stuff they will a) use on the trip and b) can bring home. And I’m not referring to branded tee shirts and koozies, but in-line, or better yet, soon-to-be-released, product and gear.


by Alison Nestel-Patt