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Introducing BACKPACKER's new gear editor

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With Kristin Hostetter taking over responsibility for SNEWS and Outdoor Retailer Daily, many people have been asking the obvious question: Who is the next gear editor of BACKPACKER? Scott Yorko is taking the reins from Hostetter starting Jan. 4, just in time for OR.

Some of you might already be familiar with Scott’s work as the gear editor of SNOWboarding. Dennis Lewon, editor-in-chief of BACKPACKER, says, “Kristin managed our gear coverage for two decades and replacing her is no easy task! But fortunately, we were able to hire Scott. His experience with testing and reviewing gear and his editorial ambition are a perfect fit for BACKPACKER.”

Scott Yorko, BACKPACKER's new gear editor, is all about the winter sports.
Scott Yorko, BACKPACKER’s new gear editor, is all about the winter sports. Here, he skies near Mt. Baker in Washington.

SNEWS caught up with Scott over the holidays:

-Where are you coming from? What’s your experience with gear testing and the outdoor industry?

I’m coming from North County San Diego, where I was the Gear Editor and Associate Editor at TransWorld SNOWboarding magazine for the last two volumes. I ran their Good Wood snowboard test and conceived a few other gear testing programs throughout the winter season with a team of independent testers. In addition to product reviews, I curated a handful of gear columns in the magazine and online, along with some bigger feature stories. As a writer, I’ve freelanced for several magazines including Playboy, Vice, Bicycling, Powder, and Men’s Journal, but I got my start at Outside, where I was a fact-checker and Assistant Editor on their Buyer’s Guide in 2011. I’ve been finagling my way into Outdoor Retailer and SIA trade shows ever since. I also tend to break or lose just about every piece of gear I touch, which makes me somewhat of a good tester, most of the time.

SNEWS: What are you most excited about for your new position at Backpacker?

Scott Yorko: I’m psyched to work with Backpacker’s pool of talented writers and editors and I want to continue building on their already sterling reputation of critical gear reviews, service, and actual storytelling. There’s such a wide variety of stories that can relate to Backpacker’s audience and the possibilities are vast.

SNEWS: What kind of gear are you most excited about testing?

SY: I love getting out into the backcountry and playing in the snow, so I’ll definitely be testing out a good bit of winter gear in the coming months. I’ve also missed camping and can’t wait to try out some new overnight gear in all temperatures and conditions. I sleep so much better outside, although my campfire cooking skills still need some work.

SNEWS: Backpacker gets to go on some pretty awesome Editor’s Choice trips. What are some places you’d really like to go for an EC trip?

SY: I’d like to test out new gear in places that see some gnarlier weather systems. Scandinavia and New Zealand are on my list for that, as are a few other middle eastern regions with beautiful terrain and lovely people that see an imbalance of negative attention in typical news media. There’s so much to discover in places like that.

To get in touch with Scott Yorko, email him at Reach Kristin Hostetter at