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SNEWS Qs, Media Edition: Billy Brown, Trek Tech Blog

With outdoor blogs popping up left and right, SNEWS wanted to dive into the mind of an outdoor blogger to see what the field is all about. This week, we chatted with Billy Brown, freelance writer and founder of Trek Tech Blog.

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Billy Brown

Founder, Trek Tech Blog

How did Trek Tech get started?

Trek Tech started out as a weekly gear review column for a local newspaper. After a few months, I started the website and posed the reviews online and started writing posts specifically for the site.

Why do you think outdoor blogging has become so popular?

I think outdoor blogging has gotten more popular because a.) people want to know how gear is going to perform before they shell out a few hundred bucks for it; and b.) good writing takes somebody somewhere else. I think there’s definitely a vicarious element to reading about someone’s adventure in the Amazon while you’re stuck in an office somewhere.

What were some of the challenges in getting your site up and running and how did you overcome them? Besides my lack of web design savvy, coming up with content several times a week was the biggest challenge. I’m a freelance writer, so my work for Wired, Men’s Journal, and the others comes first. Adding the new writers really helped.

How has the site grown and changed since you first started it?

I’d say the biggest change has been adding other writers to the site. I’ve got five regular contributors with a few more on deck to get started. They’re all great, too – really sold out to their sports and they love to beat on gear. I’ve taken a small step back from writing and adopted more of a managing editor role.

How do outdoor blogs complement more traditional media like SNEWS?

Where print magazines and larger sites generally have limited space I think blogs can expound on say, a bigger publication’s 100-word piece on a hydration pack with a 600-word in-depth review. Also, a lot of bigger pubs prefer writers to adopt the magazine’s voice, where a blog lets the writer’s personality loose. And in this field, that can get pretty interesting.

What are some of your favorite technologies coming out in Spring 13 and why?

This is just scratching the surface, but I’ve been really impressed with Columbia’s OmniFreeze Zero cooling tech, Gregory’s new hydration packs look promising, and I gotta get my hands on Pearl Izumi’s Ultra Shorts.

What is your favorite thing about working in the outdoor industry?

Despite the travel, the gear and getting to play outside all day, I’ve got to say it’s the people. Sounds cheesy, but everyone here is doing something they’re passionate about; just about everyone you meet is excited to be doing what they’re doing, and it gets you excited, too. There’s a lot of high-fiving in this industry.