January 7, 2021

Want to be a gear tester? Journalist, Author and Gear Tester Dan Nelson tell us all about it. [EP 255]

Dan Nelson has a job many of us would love. He is a gear tester and editor with Gear Institute.com, a veteran outdoor journalist, and author of numerous guidebooks. We talk about gear testing, some of the products he’s worked with, and more. Dan…
Rick Saez
Rick Saez
Want to be a gear tester? Journalist, Author and Gear Tester Dan Nelson tell us all about it. [EP 255]
/

Show Notes

Rick Saez
Rick Saez
Want to be a gear tester? Journalist, Author and Gear Tester Dan Nelson tell us all about it. [EP 255]
/

Dan Nelson has a job many of us would love. He is a gear tester and editor with Gear Institute.com, a veteran outdoor journalist, and author of numerous guidebooks. We talk about gear testing, some of the products he’s worked with, and more.

Dan Nelson has a job many of us would love. He is a gear tester and editor with Gear Institute.com, a veteran outdoor journalist, and author of numerous guidebooks. We talk about gear testing, some of the products he’s worked with, and more.

Show Notes

Gear Institute

OWAA

Hells Canyon

WSU Edward R Murrow College of Communication

Washington Trails Association

Washington Trails Magazine

Adventures Northwest

Mountaineers Books

Intro to the Outdoors

I grew up in Eastern Washington and my family is all Minnesota natives, but we moved to Eastern Washington when I was a tot and grew up in a little farm community in Southeast Washington, right in the corner of the state, by Idaho and Oregon.

Down in the blue mountains, which most of your listeners aren’t going to know. If you know where Hell’s Canyon is, we’re not too far from there. The Blue Mountains form the Western edge of that. So anyway I grew up in the mountains and the foothills and out along the snake river breaks riding dirt bikes and hiking and that is where I started fishing.

When did you become a gear junkie?

In the small farm community I grew up in we had one of those old school mercantile type stores where it was a hardware store, but they also sold clothing and kitchenware and household knickknacks and basically anything you would need on the farm. And they had a corner of their hardware section dedicated to hunting and fishing gear. And when I wasn’t outside playing or inside reading, I was in that store pouring through the fishing lures.

Which product category are you seeing the most innovation these days?

The easy answer is tech things like personal locator beacons and avalanche beacons performance tracking tools. I think in terms of core gear. I think for the most innovation I’ll go back to sleeping pads or sleep systems may be evolved a lot in the last several years from that one and a half pound self-inflating pad to three or four-ounce air pads that are just as insulating as back in the day.

Which product category do you think could use more creativity and innovation? What are they missing?

Looking back on a lot of the changes I think Tents maybe.  There’s been a lot of great innovation in materials. But really there hasn’t been any change in the structural innovation.

Dan’s Advice for getting in a career in the Outdoors

It takes a lot of dedication, a lot of hard work. I wasn’t outdoors testing gear, I was indoors writing about it. So I was putting in a hundred plus hours a week at times between, writing and designing magazines and actually out testing gear. I would say plan on hard work, really find what you want to do, and focus solely on that.

Favorite piece of gear under a hundred dollars

I will say that the one thing I purchased and purchase at full retail and I’ve got multiple pieces of it is again, going back to getting older and our bodies starting to fall apart is a flip, focal magnifier. It’s a clip-on magnifier that clips onto your hat brim. It got to the point where I was starting to fish bigger and bigger flies just because I couldn’t tie on the right size.

Follow up with Dan

Instagram at dan.a.nelson

Google me and look for some of my writing, I use my byline which is: Dan A. Nelson

Snippets 00:01:59 – 00:02:40    Intro to Outdoors 00:07:10 – 00:07:58    Become a Gear Junkie 00:42:59 – 00:43:27    Favorite Gear 00:39:28 – 00:40:04   Advice