The Best Photos Our Gear Testers Have Ever Sent Us
Our gear testers are a team of super Outdoor Prolink pros who live and breathe gear. They use all types of gear for work and play, and they spend a lot of their time outdoors testing gear for our brands, giving product feedback, and sharing their insights with others.
To call them talented would be an understatement. In order to the tell the story of how and where they tested their gear, they submit lifestyle and action photos to compliment their review.
Here are the hands-down best photos we’ve ever received in our inboxes, so we can all stare in awe and dream about our next adventure. Enjoy!
Ummm, can we live in this forest forever? Here’s our gear tester Katlynne Schaumberg (@alpine_stoke), a mountaineering instructor and guide since 2011, testing out the Outdoor Research MicroGravity Ascent Shell in a magical fairy land, with perfect wet soggy weather for putting this shell to the test. Photograph taken by Demi Fair (@demifair)
Joe Anderson ( @Joeyanderson2123) is an ER Nurse, flight medic, and ski patroller, who’s currently living in a van pursuing the finer things in life, and one of our most badass mountaineering gear reviewers. He always says, in the words of the late Warren Miller, “If you don’t do it this year, you’ll be one year older when you do”, and we think that’s awesome. Photo taken by Pete Johnson ( @pete.w.j), an incredibly talented outdoor photographer you can find more about here.
Aidan Goldie ( @aidan.goldie) has written so many gear reviews, it’s hard to keep count at this point. His in-depth knowledge of gear and ability to get out there and put it to the test is legendary. Plus check out how good he is at getting his probe set up quickly. A ski mountaineer based out of Colorado, when he’s not climbing and descending peaks, he’s working as an outdoor educator, guiding students through the Colorado wilderness. If that’s not enough, he’s also an incredibly talented photographer – you can see more of his work on his website.
Tara McMurray ( @alaskayogagirl) isn’t your average yoga instructor, outdoor educator, and guide. In fact, she tested this Jade yoga mat in Alaska in -8 degree weather, which is badass. When she’s not working, you’ll find her splitboarding, climbing, or backpacking with her husband and husky. She’s currently offering free virtual yoga classes through zoom, which you can find here.
To call this guy a dedicated gear tester would be an understatement. Here’s Tyler Gates ( @tylergatesphotography), who’s spent a decade in the outdoor retail space, testing out the BlackYak Hariana shell – and yes, he literally stood in a waterfall in Yosemite Valley to see how it held up. That’s a true gear abuser! You can find prints and more from this talented photographer on his website.
Alli ( @allimmmiles) is a backcountry skier, ski mountaineer, climber, and ultra runner in Bend, Oregon. On weekdays during work hours, you’ll find her in the marketing department at Ruffwear. Outside work hours, you’ll usually find her in the mountains near Bend or at Smith Rock, accompanied by her furry adventure pal Riggins.
Sam Chaneles is currently a Mechanical Engineering student at Georgia Tech, where he is a Trip and Expedition Leader for the school’s Outdoor Recreation program (ORGT). He has led expeditions to New Zealand, Alaska, Corsica, France, and throughout the United States. When not leading trips for ORGT, Sam is an avid mountaineer and backpacker, climbing peaks in the Cascades, Mexico, Ecuador, and Africa, as well as hiking the John Muir Trail and off-trail routes in Colorado. He has climbed peaks such as Mt. Rainier, Cotopaxi, Chimborazo, Kilimanjaro, and many more. You can follow Sam and his adventures on Instagram at @ engineeredforadventure, or on his website .
Niels Meyer is a ski guide for Sun Valley Guides in Ketchum, Idaho. He has been guiding and exploring the Sun Valley backcountry since 2013. When not chasing powder personally and professionally, Niels can be found fighting fire, playing with his dog Baxter, and reveling in the beauty of south-central Idaho.
Mollie Bailey started climbing in 2011 in Sand Rock, Alabama. She quickly realized from those wonderful outings that an outdoor life was the one for her. She migrated to Colorado shortly after to pursue the outdoor lifestyle that’s overwhelmingly present in Colorado. She has been a Rock Climbing Guide since 2013 and loves to teach and share the world of climbing with everyone. You can find her on her days off with her two big dogs, chasing sunshine wherever possible, and planning the next adventure. Mollie and her partner, Patrick Betts, are the head climbing guides for Front Range Climbing company as well as adventure photographers. You can connect with them both on the gram ( @adventurethrulens).
Katlynne Schaumberg (@alpine_stoke), made our list again! This spring she took the Julbo Cham sunnies to the slopes of some Alaskan mountains to see if their classic style could match up to the epic views of the alpine ski terrain. With over 15 hours of daylight and thousands of feet of unskied lines, she had a great opportunity to test both the comfort and function of these glasses for all the ups and downs of the Talkeetna Range.
David Hanks is a ski patroller, pilot, and photographer. When he’s not working, you’ll find him in the moving from place to place every few days, or you know, hanging out with awesome goats. Most recently he’s spent his time flying planes in AK, climbing rocks and ice in the west, and playing in boats of all types. He loves to share his experiences and knowledge with friends old and new. Connect with him on Instagram @Dav1d.hanks
Zach is an aspiring alpinist, ski mountaineer, climber, and photographer. He is a Wilderness First Responder and frequently volunteers with the Colorado Mountain Club to help train future mountaineers. Zach works part-time as a marine biologist in Alaska and a wildlife biologist here in Colorado. You can catch him climbing around Golden. Colorado, where he lives today. Find him on the gram ( @zacheiten)
Dana Walters is a grassroots athlete for Evolv, who has been climbing for ten years. He has climbed all over North America and tries to get out whenever he can. When he is not climbing he is pursuing a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences from Washington State University with an emphasis on rare disease research. You can follow him on Instagram @dwalters2. Photo by Hobbie Hiler
Kelly is a PSIA-certified alpine ski instructor from Seattle, Washington who has a passion for the outdoors. When she is not teaching skiing you will most likely find her hiking, backpacking, or snowshoeing throughout the Pacific North West with her labradoodle, Daisy. Find her on Instagram, @kellll_bell89
Luke Pearsall is a former Adventure Guide in South America where he led tours which included rafting, trekking, biking, and overlanding across most of the continent. He currently works as a Commercial Photographer and Producer based in Denver, Colorado who specializes in outdoor, adventure, and travel-related content creation. He credits his love for adventure and camping to his parents who showed him the world through the open doors of a tent from the time he was a baby. In 2018, Luke was named one of the “Top 70 Outdoor Instagram Accounts to Follow,” by The Dyrt online publication. In 2020 Luke will be attempting a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail 2650 miles from Mexico to Canada. Find him on the gram ( @lukepearsallphoto) or check out more of his work on his website.
Dane Cronin began mountain biking in the woods outside of Boston in 1992 when cool anodized aluminum parts for bikes were all the rage. He knew Boulder was considered to be a mountain bike mecca and considered the University of Colorado Boulder as basically the only option for college. Over the years he worked in a number of bike shops in the Boulder area and taken full advantage of all the outdoor possibilities Colorado has to offer. Dane has been keeping the outdoor lifestyle dream alive by becoming a professional photographer shooting for a number of commercial clients in the outdoor and cycling industry mixed with a healthy dose of interior and architectural clients. Find him on the gram ( @danecroninphoto) or more of his photography on his website here.
Another absolutely epic photo of Aidan Goldie ( @aidan.goldie) made our list. A ski mountaineer based out of Colorado, when he’s not climbing and descending peaks, he’s working as an outdoor educator, guiding students through the Colorado wilderness. If that’s not enough, he’s also an incredibly talented photographer – you can see more of his work on his website.
Doesn’t she just look like the happiest hiker ever? Kaya Lindsay is the social media coordinator for Yosemite Facelift. She is also a writer and photographer with a passion for rock climbing and the outdoors. In 2016 she converted a Sprinter Van into a tiny home and has been traveling around the US & Canada to pursue her passion for rock climbing ever since. You will most likely find her in a parking lot or coffee shop, camera in hand, planning her next adventure. Connect with her on Instagram @OneChickTravels. Photo by Elia June.
Cactus dreams. Here’s our gear tester Serge Levy ( @outdoorframes) testing gear in the toughest conditions that 210D ripstop nylon can handle; the sharp granite edges and cacti spines of the Sonoran Desert and the sandpaper sands of Utah’s Escalante River gorge.
Paul Fotter hails from the deep north of Whitefish, Montana, and when he sends us photos of him getting after it in the mountains, we’re pretty jealous. He works as a ranger for Glacier National Park in the summer and in the winter spends his time volunteering for the Flathead Avalanche Center. In his free time, you’ll find him seeking out seldom climbed and skied lines near his home in Montana. Photo taken by Jonathan Kiraly ( @j.kiralyphotography) , you can check out his website and more of his work here.
Roxy and Ben are part of the crew here at Outdoor Prolink, and we’ve loved having Roxy on the team as our content coordinator (who helps wrangle these gear reviewers). Not to mention she’s a very talented photographer and a whiz with the drone. They both live full-time van life and work as the Rab road team as well as content writers for Elevation Outdoors. She loves to abuse gear as well, here’s her latest review of the Kuat grip clamshell ski rack. Get to know Roxy ( @roxyjan_), Ben, ( @meetme_onthe_mountain) and their adventure dog Henry ( @thescrufflepup).
Gage O’Donnell went on a really kick-ass trip in October to bike the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. She told us it was an absolutely amazing experience (and literally has thousands of photos). She went with six other amazing women, and had awesome guides — it was a super fun and challenging adventure. Find her on the gram @goldengage_.
Here’s a calm and casual Michael Magee (@m.magee_official), climbing Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. Michael works as a ski and snowboard instructor for both students and fellow instructors and is always getting out there in his time off.
Here’s one of our gear testers, Allie Fuller ( @allielisabeth18) on her first overseas backpacking trip, hiking the Landmannalaugar trail in Iceland. She told us, “it’s one of the most diverse trails I’ve ever been on to this day. Also, my first time really using hiking poles. I lost two on that trip and decided they weren’t for me anymore. I’ll just live with my terrible balance.”
Well, there you have it, folks. We had the toughest time selecting these, as well as staring at them from a desk – we’d much rather be in those photos if we could.
Are you employed in the Outdoor Industry and interested in becoming a gear tester for
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Jess Villaire is the Marketing Manager at Outdoor Prolink. You’ll typically find her out with her doggos skiing, mountain biking, hiking, SUPing, drinking beer, or rearranging furniture. Follow her on Instagram @jessisupsidedown.