Eric Hanson from Epic Trails TV tells us how he stumbled into quite possibly one of the best jobs in the Outdoor Biz.
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Things we talked about
I think the general advice is to go do the things that you love. If you want to find a career in this, certainly actually becoming a really competent outdoors person is important. So going and doing adventures, whether it’s climbing or going backpacking or things like that are great. I think that people should take a job somehow that gives them some level of credibility or expertise. A lot of that can look like guiding, that’s probably the number one way to get some credibility. There’s a lot of people who, maybe reached out to me on Instagram or something and say I love hiking can I get a job somehow? I say well, there’s a lot of people that love hiking and they need to do something that I think differentiates themselves as more from different than an enthusiast.
There’s nothing wrong with being an enthusiast of course. But if you want to work in it, you probably need to get some guiding certifications or some mountaineering skills or something like that or becoming a river guide or a mountain guide or a mountaineering guide.
Then I would also say, find your way in the room with the people who are decision-maker type people. So what I did was I got basically a grunt job with backpacker magazine and that allowed me to go be a part of the Outdoor Retailer Show, which is something we haven’t talked about, but it’s an event that typically happens twice a year where everybody in the outdoor industry gathers to conduct business.
So then when you’re in that room, you’re talking and interacting with the marketing directors and the publications. And that’s the room where all of the people who are really running the outdoor businesses are, and by being in that room and being able to socialize, drink a beer with those people, or, you know, just meet them has opened up a lot of doors for me. That has been really powerful.
So find some way to give yourself some credentials, maybe producing a film, even if it’s entirely self-funded or getting a guiding job, and then find a company that might be in your area or your state, and see if you can do something for them on their social media or, some way to get into the circle and that can then open doors. The other thing is that it takes a long time.
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Eric Hanson From Epic Trails TV And One Of The Best Jobs In The Outdoor Adventure Space
I’m speaking with a guy that probably has one of the best jobs in the outdoor adventure space. He gets to travel the world, hike and backpack for a living, and make fun, entertaining and educational TV shows. He’s Eric Hanson from Epic Trails TV. Welcome to the show, Eric.
Rick, thanks for having me.
Let’s start off with how you were introduced to the outdoors. How did you get into the outdoor space, outdoor activities and so forth?
Let’s say as a general enthusiast in the outdoors. It started off probably like a lot of people. I had my dad, who loved hiking and camping. As a young kid, he would take my brother and me out, and my mom as well, for hikes and camping trips. I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. Arizona is full of all sorts of good outdoor adventure destinations, hiking trails and things like that. We would often head off on the weekends and go either out to like the Mogollon Rim or the White Mountains or a Flagstaff where I now live and get out for hiking. It instilled in me from an early age that this was something I enjoyed and loved.
A lot of people don’t realize how much hiking is out there. They think it’s all desert, cactus and rocks but it’s a beautiful country out there.
It is funny when I tell people where I’m from. Even in the US, people think that Arizona is almost like the Mexico desert that you think of with Tucson or Phoenix, but there is so much diversity. You drive 1 or 2 hours and you’re in somewhere, maybe Red Rocks, Sedona, High Country, 7,000 feet Flagstaff or 12,000 feet and you’re skiing. It is a very diverse state.
I used to call on an accountant in Tucson, Summit Hut. There’s a national park down there that I forget the name of it but I had some great photo adventures out there. It’s beautiful when the flowers are popping.
Even Tucson has big mountains too with Mt. Lemmon down there. It’s a surprising place. You’re not far from Mexico but they also have skiing, which is crazy.
I’ve done some fly fishing out of there. How did you get into Wilderness Therapy? You were guiding in that space, but more of an instructor. How did that come about?
The whole journey into Wilderness Therapy was a life story for me in a lot of ways. I had grown up loving the wilderness and the outdoors. After I graduated college, I spent a few years where I was married and I was living out east between Florida and Georgia. Through the way that life went, the marriage didn’t work out and ended up getting a divorce. It was in this rough low spot in my life. I had some friends who had worked this Wilderness Therapy job for themselves after college. I had a handful of them reach out to me and encouraged me.
They knew where I was in life and what I was going through. They said, “This job would be perfect for you. We can make connections for you. We think that you would love it.” I called them up as I was driving back across the country from Georgia and lined up in an interview. I was able to go straight to St. George, Utah and take a job out there in Wilderness Therapy. It was their springtime. I started work straight off in Wilderness Therapy out in St. George and ended up in the best spot not only geographically but emotionally and then also career-wise. It was this amazing turn of events that was fortuitous in my life. That now laid the groundwork for all of the other things that would come about since.
When you got there and took the job, I guess you don’t start out as a guide. Maybe you start out as an assistant guide. What was that like? How long did it take you to get to the point where you actually lead a trip?
Being in the wild can provide you with a really good environment to learn and become a leader.
Wilderness Therapy has this unique space within the guiding world. It’s a little different from your typical mountain guide or a trip guide. Much of your job is based on our therapy and the psychological side of this. At the core, we still were responsible for ultimately keeping people alive in the desert. We’re out there year-round, whether it’s a blizzard in January or 110 degrees sweltering heat of July.
As a new person coming into that job, you’re not equipped. You’re in training. We would join a staff team. My jobs were pretty minimal or basic. It was keeping a watch over people and making sure that people were staying safe. You then would slowly work your way into the idea of moving up in the leadership ranks within the guiding scale. It took me about a year before I went from a complete newbie to being the lead guide on the team. It’s all in the structure of how that company worked.
They wanted to move people up because so much of it was not just, “Can you lead a hike? Can you lead a group of 8 to 10 young people who are punks and butt heads, or they’re looking to cause some trouble and wreak some havoc?” There’s a whole other dynamic than just people who are looking for an outdoor adventure. They’re not always willing participants. It was a challenging thing. It was a cool thing because it did challenge me on so many deeper levels than just, “Can I lead people hiking?” It was forcing me to grow as a leader, as a communicator, and all these interpersonal skills that developed along the way.
It was perfect for that stage with the stuff you were going through. There’s nothing like going out into the middle of nowhere, clearing your head, and reorienting yourself. It’s perfect for that.
It was the best thing I could have asked for. I was administering “therapy” in this job but I was getting it myself. Being in the desert like Southwest Utah for the job, I was outside probably 200 days a year, sleeping outside and all that. On top of that, I would spend most of my free time outside. I was getting so much time outside which can be healing for anybody. It can be a powerful experience. For me, it certainly was that.
How big were the groups, typically?
Typically, a group is anywhere from 6 to 10 clients. That’s your young adult range. We’d have anywhere from sometimes two staff at a minimum but that was rare. Usually, it was 3 or 4 staff.
I was a river guide on the Kern River and we didn’t have the therapy part of it. We got taught how to run the river, where to do camp, cook and stuff like that which we made up as we went. It was about a week-long training and then, “Here you go.” It’s different.
You probably had some more senior guides that will teach you. After your first week, you were working. You were in it. You were guiding. You didn’t have to be the one that was calling all the shots all the time. It provided a good opportunity for people who are looking to gain some wilderness leadership experience or guiding experience. It provided a good environment to learn and become a leader.
How did you get connected to the media side of The Outdoor Biz?
I felt like this was such a whirlwind of fortuitous events that happened in life. I was out there guiding again. Growing up and through college, I had studied photography and had done some traveling and blogging and things like that. I had this basic interest in the media world. As I was in college, I thought my dream job was to be a professional photographer. As I was back in guiding, I wanted to use that opportunity to try my best at being some sort of freelancer. To work in adventure media, I was like, “This guiding is what I want to do for now, but I want to see if I can move into the media world after this.”
I started doing it all on my own. I didn’t have any connections to anybody or anything. I came across a tweet from Backpacker Magazine that they were looking for new gear testers. In order to apply, you had to make a video. I was doing some dabbling and some video work at the time. I thought that this would be right up my alley. I’m going to try to put my creative efforts towards making a cool video for Backpacker Magazine, telling them why I should be there and be their gear tester. I put together a cool video. I had help from some friends.
I tried to do some stop-motion photography and had to be clever and funny. I got their attention and got the gig. Backpacker reached out to me while I was guiding one day. I was able to get a hint of a cell phone signal and checked my messages. I had a voicemail from their senior editors saying, “Welcome aboard.” It was pretty thrilling. What also happened was Backpacker thought the video that I made was so fun and great that they posted it on their website. It was like, “Check out our new gear tester” type of thing. I didn’t know at the time how big that was. Up in the frozen land of Canada, there was an executive producer scouring the internet who came across that video on Backpacker’s website. This guy, Ken, was the senior producer at Heliconia.
He was developing a TV show called Epic Trails. It didn’t have a host at that time. He saw my video and was like, “This guy might have what it takes to be our new host.” He called me out of the blue. It was like, “I’m developing a TV show. Would you possibly be interested in hosting it?” I was interested. Lots of fortuitous events simultaneously happening all at once in life right there. That opened the door for ultimately what I’m doing now.
Tell our readers a little bit about Epic Trails. I was checking out some of the shows. It looks super fun and I learned a bunch of stuff too.
As a host, you learn something new after every shoot. That is how you grow behind the camera.
I’m glad to hear that because it is the idea. It is an adventure travel TV show where we go hike, explore, camp and discover the world’s great adventure destinations. We focus on hiking and backpacking but we also do a heavy dose of other things too like mountain biking, canyoneering, climbing or mountaineering. We had multiple years of developing it.
It is an adventure travel show but as you said, you’d learn something. We do try to have it be more robust and deeper than the sugary high of avid adventure place. We try to have it be in-depth. We cover culture, food, people, places and interact with locals. I’m often hiking or backpacking or exploring a place with a local guide or somebody of interest from a place that is teaching me about a place as we go.
That’s what I liked about it. You got into the food. You got into some of the cultures. One of the great things about adventure travel is not so much being on the adventure, but learning about the locals and experiencing the food and how they live. It adds so much to the experience.
I think some of the best shows that we’ve had so far have all included that unique aspect of culture. Every destination has been amazing but the favorite ones for me include a lot of the people elements and their food, and the way that makes their place unique because of the culture. That’s one of the reasons why it continues to be unique for me to experience it. It’s not a cookie-cutter experience. We’re not churning out the same show time after time that’s putting us in a different backdrop. That’s what I love about it too.
I was talking to Richard Campbell from 10Adventures. They book trips for people to go. That’s one of the things to travel all around the world. When you sit here in your little cubbyhole, wherever it is, Bishop, California or Tucson, and you go out there and experience these people, you’d realize we’re all the same. We all like food. We all like to do adventurous things. Sometimes we get lost and do not realize that. That’s great that you guys can bring some of that across. I think it adds to the show. It’s a good job.
Thank you and I hope that comes across to the audience so that they can see these far-off places. People are people everywhere around the world. That’s one of the things that I’ve learned as I traveled and gotten to participate in all these global adventures. I hope that comes across to the audience.
Did you go through any training to become a TV host?
I did not have any formal training. When Ken called me out of the blue, there was a significant gap in time from that phone call to when we went and filmed our first actual episode. A lot of things had to happen. TV network agreements had to be signed, sponsorship deals, funding and all of the background financial and distribution things that needed to happen. It took a lot of time.
One of the things that Heliconia did to make sure that they did want to work with me is they started shooting some lower consequence productions like these YouTube stuff. That was the next line of my interview process. They sent a videographer out to me in Utah and we filmed about twenty tip-style Backpacking 101, here’s how to do this type of thing. They were trying to gauge my actual comfort level on camera with a guy with a big camera, a mic and all this stuff.
Apparently, I passed that test but it was still quite a big learning curve. Every shoot, I come away with more learning under the belt. I’ve had to grow as a host. We’ve had to grow as a TV show and how we do what we do. I never went to school to be a news anchor or learn how to talk good on camera or anything like that. It was like, “Just go for it.” Luckily, I felt reasonably comfortable my whole way through. We also have good editors. They clean up my mistakes here and there.
Gives us a little insight into what goes into creating an episode. Someone has to figure out where you’re going to go. I’m sure you have a hit list of places you want to go. Once you’ve decided, there’s a whole machine that goes to work and all that.
There is a machine behind it. Heliconia who is working on Epic Trails is still in the scope of the TV world. It’s a small team but it’s about fifteen of us altogether. Some of those people work with locations. Some of them are working on the business development side. We have our editors and our shooters and then me as the host. We have places all over the world that we want to go to. Part of what happens with Epic Trails is we get input and interaction with a local destination. It’s maybe a country, a county or a state.
We want to work with people rather than just send me unannounced and I show up and go do whatever. We have a team of people that are looking to do some of the developmental sides before we ever get there. They get either a tourism board or a guiding company on board and say like, “These are things that people come here for and what they like to do, or this is what people come here for but this is what people don’t know is here. Let’s go do this hike or do this mountaineering experience,” or whatever it may be. That is part of it.
We have a logistics wizard who is booking tickets, bus lines, hotels and things for us to make the logistical experience a breeze. She does a great job. It’s a part of the job. When it’s actually time to film, so much has gone in the background. It’s this process where I go with usually two cameramen who do all of the audio and video sides of the equation. We have a small team there because we have to be nimble and fast-moving.
We don’t want to get bogged down with too many producers, sound designers, and all these people that don’t always have the ability to move fast or for long days or in tough conditions. There are usually three people from our end on location, then probably 2 to 3 people from the destinations. That’s whoever I’m co-hosting with or going on my adventure with. Usually, it’s a mountain guide or some sort of person that’s got some expertise on their end that I’m going and traveling with. It’s maybe a tourism representative or somebody like that. On the ground, it’s usually 5 to 6 people. Three people from us and 2 to 3 people on the destination’s end.
That’s so you guys can move quickly through whatever you’re doing, get the take and move on to the next one?
That is an important part of what we do. We’re not getting helicoptered in where we can have a 30-person set. We were actually not going anywhere. We’re just mimicking that we’re doing something. We are usually covering anywhere from 8 to 15 miles in a day or we’re canyoneering, having to navigate and putting cameras through these crazy environments. That is hard to do. It takes a lot of physical skills as well as technical skills. Having a small team is critical to making that happen.
It makes it authentic too. You’re actually doing the drill. The other thing that makes the show so good with a couple of episodes I watched was the authenticity. You can tell that you’re actually in there living with the locals.
I appreciate hearing that. That’s something we strive for. We don’t have a producer on set who’s scripting in drama or anything like that. It’s more on the authentic, almost documentary style. We’re going and having an adventure and documenting whatever happens to happen.
Where did most of your trip ideas come from? How do you decide where to go? You must sit around and plan out the next year or the next quarter’s trips. How does that happen?
We do have a team that is working on it and I have input there. One of our location specialists, the person who heads up that department, I’m talking with pretty frequently throughout the year. She is saying like, “I’m reaching out to this destination or do you have any ideas here?” One of the things is we do want it to be a global show. We do want it to cover all the continents. Maybe Antarctica someday, but at least all the continents with people and not just have it be a Euro-centric place or North America-centric.
Some of those destinations are easier to do because that’s where we’re from. I love that Stephanie, who heads up our location end, is a part of the Adventure Travel Trade Association. She has conversations going with people all over the world. A lot of times, I don’t even know what’s great about a place. Poland, for example. Before we went to Poland, in my not knowledge of Poland, I thought that it was a potentially boring country. I didn’t have any clue that the Tatra Mountains out there are spectacular and rugged.
If it had been entirely up to me, we wouldn’t have gone. I’m thankful that it is more than just me because it ended up being such a cool episode. It was a great experience. I didn’t have any clue that Tatra Mountain is where some of the world’s best mountaineers have come from. I get to learn a lot from that. Being a part of it is what makes it so special for me.
These days, there’s probably not a boring country in the world. In some countries, you may have to dig a little deeper, but most countries have such a rich history, great small towns, small communities and wild places that you can go. It’s pretty exciting.
That’s part of what gives me a sense of job security. Everywhere in the world has something genuinely interesting to offer. That’s part of what I love about it. There are some places where I’m like, “Is this going to be that cool or that epic?” then it’s like, “That was amazing. I had no idea.” I get to learn and grow myself and then share with other people why these places are super interesting.
What are some of the biggest challenges in producing the show excluding the pandemic? With the pandemic, we didn’t get to travel at all, but just in the normal process where it’s got to be the weather, the logistics and that kind of thing.
Always strive for authenticity.
It is an interesting show to create. It’s a different experience than most. We’re working in uncontrollable environments. We filmed in wet blizzards in Australia in the Snowy Mountains where we’ve got this 32 degrees snowy, sleety mix and we still have to keep our cameras rolling. It’s impossible and we’re wearing Gore-Tex. The winds are blowing at 100 mph. Our microphones are getting blown out and scratching with all of our Gore-Tex jackets. It can provide a lot of tricky things.
The physical aspect of it is what makes our show so hard to produce, which is different from most shows. Our director, who’s been on the show for years, provides a unique skillset. He is a talented climber as well. He knows how to film while dangling off the side of a cliff. That’s not something that most camera operators know how to do.
Our second camera guy has been a parkour champion in the Toronto area. He is also physically gifted. It’s not like we can just hire somebody who knows how to operate a camera or compose a pretty shot. They have to be physically capable of doing a lot of the work as well. Getting good audio, keeping equipment running, all of those things are tactical challenges that arise on every shoot.
When there is weather and when there are things happening, you have all the other ancillary things like the rubbing or flapping of a Gore-Tex jacket. That could be annoying in the audio side of things or something in the background blows across the scene. There goes that scene in the video side of things.
I can’t tell you how much audio is giving us grief and trying to solve these problems with audio in the field. We still have a professional team behind it and we’ve made it work every show since we started. The physical side of things is often the number one challenge of the show.
What it’s like to be one of the few, if not the only guy in the world, who’s making a living hiking and backpacking, not as a guide? It’s got to be cool.
There are many times when I have to pinch myself because I do feel like I won the lottery. All of the ways in which everything happened in the first place, to have somebody offer me a TV show despite the fact that’s not something I was pursuing with all of my life’s force energy, it feels crazy to me. I don’t know how it happened. I don’t know what was going on in the universe, but I feel extremely lucky and blessed. It is a dream job. The world is changing. YouTube is a big thing. There’s probably going to be a generation of people that are able to create jobs like this. In the meantime, I feel like I’m in an extremely fortunate position.
What other outdoor activities you participated in? I’m sure your general recreation is a lot of outdoor stuff. I would think you don’t get tired of it, do you?
I certainly don’t get tired of it. I live in Flagstaff, Arizona where there’s an amazing number of things to do like rock climbing. Since I moved to Utah for guiding, canyoneering became a big thing for me to fall in love with, and mountain biking. I would say those would be my top three. Skiing in the winter. I used to be a big snowboarder but I’ve since converted and I am now a skier. Trying to get to the point where I can look good skiing on camera and not look like a Gumby out there who’s making it down the mountain.
Do you do any kind of paddling?
I’ve gotten into pack rafting. I do want to start being able to tackle some bigger whitewater, but I’m still a newbie on the whitewater end. I have gotten to participate in a number of Grand Canyon trips. I’ve done eight-person paddle rafts. I’ve got to be the paddle captain.
Grand Canyon has some big water that I’ve never been to. It’s still on my list.
It’s an amazing spot for it. I love whitewater as a rafter. Heliconia has done a lot of work within the kayaking and whitewater community. Ken is a world champion whitewater kayaker. I got to get him to teach me how to roll sometimes to tackle some bigger whitewater.
Do you have any suggestions or advice for folks wanting to get into the outdoor adventure biz?
I’ve had a number of people ask me for advice. I have some general advice, as well as some more specific advice. The general advice is, “Go do the things that you love.” If you want to find a career in this, becoming a competent outdoorsman is important. Going and doing adventures, whether it’s climbing or going backpacking or things like that are great. People should take a job somehow that gives them some level of credibility or expertise. A lot of that can look like guiding.
That’s probably the number one way to get some credibility. There are a lot of people who reached out to me on Instagram like, “I love hiking. Can I get a job somehow?” There are a lot of people that love hiking. They need to do something that differentiates them from enthusiasts. There’s nothing wrong with being an enthusiast. If you want to work in it, you probably need to get some guiding certifications or some mountaineering skills or becoming a river guide, a mountain guide or a mountaineering guide.
Find your way to be in the room with the people who are these decision-maker-type people. What I did was I got a grunt job with Backpacker Magazine. That allowed me to be a part of the Outdoor Retailer. It’s an event that typically happens twice a year where everybody in the outdoor industry gathers in Denver to conduct business. It’s used to be in Salt Lake City. When you’re in that room, you’re talking and interacting with the marketing directors and the publications. That’s the room where all of the people who are running the outdoor businesses are.
By being in that room and being able to socialize, drink a beer with those people, or meet them has opened up a lot of doors for me. That has been powerful. For the people who are looking to do it, find some way to give yourself some credentials, maybe producing a film, even if it’s entirely self-funded or getting a guiding job, and then find a company that might be working in your area or your state. See if you can do something for them on their social media or some way to get in the circle. That can then open doors. The other thing is that it takes a long time.
I only glancingly noted it but it was at least four years from when I got that call to when I was working as a host of Epic Trails. That’s a long time for a lot of people to be doing it on their own, taking that self-funded risk type of thing. That’s usually what it takes. Even in the overnight stories like mine was an overnight story, it wasn’t overnight. It still took 4 or 5 years.
I don’t think overnights happen. People have to pay their dues so to speak. That’s great advice. Get plugged in somehow. Go work for a brand or a retailer and get plugged into the industry. If you do the work, you show up, and you tell people you’re going to do what you going to do, you’ll be fine.
I’ve seen that formula work for a lot of people.
That’s how it is for most people I know. I’ve been in the outdoor industry for many years and that’s how a lot of us got started, work in retail or guiding.
The only people that it doesn’t work for are people who don’t put in the time. They maybe do it for 1 or 2 years and then it doesn’t unlock that magic job, and then they move on to something else.
They get impatient or there are a lot of things that could cause that. It takes a while. None of us is an overnight success. Speaking of outdoor gear and the outdoor retail show, what’s your favorite outdoor gear purchase under $100?
My number one would be a relatively new water filtration system that has come on the market, which would be the Grayl Water Purifier. It looks and acts like a water bottle but it contains a water filter in it. It’s a simple device and it costs $80 or $90. One of the things that I love, especially for global travel, is I can now go and travel internationally without having to consume and throw away water bottles. I feel like I can travel more responsibly. I’m in no way paid by them. I have no sponsorship agreement or anything like that. It’s a product that I’ve come across and have enjoyed what they do, and think they make a great product for a low price. I’d like what they make and the ethics behind it.
Especially these days, as we do travel, water is critical and you’re right. We can’t keep doing these plastic water bottles. You’ve got to find a way and this is a good way.
Especially internationally, where most of these countries don’t have any sort of recycling or even trash infrastructure to keep their own countries clean. Usually, those bottles are ending up in their riverways and then ultimately in the ocean.
If you could have a huge banner at the entrance to one of these outdoor shows, what would it say?
It might not be the right message for that group of people because I feel like it’d be preaching to the choir, but it would say, “Protect our wild places.” A lot of what I have become passionate about is wilderness protection. From my personal experience and knowing how impactful having access to wild places was for me, I want that to be something that is able to be for my kids or future and current generations. I want there to be wild places and have that to be something that our politicians and our companies are protecting and caring for.
We need to step up our game on that, but we’re doing a good job and we can do better. Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
Physicality is the number one challenge when doing a wilderness show.
In these trying COVID times, try to keep our sanity. Go for a walk, take a deep breath, look at the sunshine and the leaves that are changing. Try to keep an upbeat attitude. I hope that people can also find encouragement in our natural scenes and places, take the time to go outside, take a deep breath and recover a little bit.
If people want to follow up, how can they find you on socials?
On the social media side, Epic Trails TV is where a lot of our social media handles are for the show. That’s on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Personally, my handle is @EricHansonTV on Instagram. It’s probably where I’m most active. My website is also www.EricHanson.tv. If you want to read my blogs or use that as a resource for getting outside, whether it’s gear guides or destination guides, check that out. Instagram would be the place where people want to send me a message. That’s where I’m most active. It’s where I’m trying to post things and tell people what I’m up to on a regular basis.
Thanks, Eric. It’s been great catching up with you.
I appreciate you having me. It’s been a pleasure.
- Epic Trails TV
- Wilderness Therapy
- Backpacker Magazine
- Ken Whiting – LinkedIn
- Grayl Water Purifier
- Instagram – Epic Trails TV
- Facebook – Epic Trails TV
- Twitter – Epic Trails TV
- @EricHansonTV – Instagram
- Facebook – The Outdoor Biz Podcast
- Twitter – Rick Saez
- Instagram – Rick Saez
- Eastern Mountain Sports
- Tee Public
About Eric Hanson
Eric Hanson is the host of Epic Trails, a TV and digital series designed to showcase the people, places and adventures that surround the world’s top backpacking trails.
Epic Trails airs on Outside TV, Fox Sports networks, WPBS, National Geographic, and Amazon Prime.
Eric is also the host of the popular Backpacking TV YouTube Channel, where he shares his adventures on the trail, as well as shares his knowledge and passion for all things hiking and backpacking.
Eric spent three years in Southern Utah working as a field guide for a wilderness therapy program, working with young adults and adolescents dealing with drug and alcohol addiction as well as behavioral issues.
While guiding, Eric began working as a gear tester for BACKPACKER MAGAZINE.
He has also written for GEAR JUNKIE, NAT GEO ADVENTURE, and more. His film work has appeared on the Discovery Channel, NBC Universal, and the Weather Channel.
He is freelance journalist, photographer, and filmmaker specializing in outdoor adventure and travel.
Eric has traveled extensively, exploring more than eighty countries during his long-term travels.
Eric Hanson lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.