THAT'S IT! YOU'VE CAST YOUR VOTES FOR OUR FIRST EVER MOST ELIGIBLE EXPLORERS CONTEST. READ ABOUT THE TOP 20 FINALISTS HERE WHILE WE TALLY THE VOTES. WE WILL BE ANNOUNCING THE FINAL WINNERS THIS WEEK!
(in no particular order)
About Hannah: Hannah is always eager to explore a new country and enjoy everything it offers. She's fearless and never settles for the comfort of the familiar, but always pushes herself to see more of the world!
Biggest Outdoor Fear: Running out of vegetarian friendly snacks on the trail. Hanger is real and it's not a pretty hiking companion.
Can't Live w/o Gear Item: My La Sportiva hiking boots. They have gotten me across New Zealand, Iceland, the Sawtooth Wilderness, and many hikes around my hometown of Austin, TX.
About Hamlin: Hamlin offers the best of both worlds in that he is an accomplished young professional holding the US Government together in D.C., but his heart belong in the mountains and on any adventure he can sniff out. He's a southern gent with a northwest spirit who could use a companion who's down to adventure to see the world with him!
Biggest Outdoor Fear: After surviving a solo backpacking trip in the Tetons in which two grizzlies decided that they wanted to have a sleepover, I’ve become a bit numb to the dangers of the wild. But, I think my biggest outdoor fear is the concern that our generation doesn’t prioritize getting outside and getting into the wild.
Adventure Partner Requirements: The ability to laugh in the face of adversity and keep a positive attitude regardless of what the wild throws your way. Tent pole snaps? Fuel canister runs out? Caught in a monsoon and the rain fly has a leak? It starts snowing in May and you’re hiking in shorts? Who cares?! And, bring it on!
About Justin: While some undertakings may seem intimidating to the weekend warrior, Justin believes adventure is relative. "Whether it's 300 miles or 3/10 of a mile, what truly matters is that individuals push their own boundaries to enjoy and explore this beautiful opportunity called life." Justin thrives on meeting new people and experiences while encouraging others through a genuine passion for teaching/coaching/guiding.
Adventure Partner Requirements: Passion, patience, a sense of humour, a love of bacon, and the belief that bad decisions make the best memories.
Cushy Cabin or Backcountry Bivvi?: Bivvi, nothing compares to sleeping under the open sky. No tent or ceiling to block the view of the stars.
About Carly: There's a reason they call NYC the "Concrete Jungle," and there's no more intrepid urban explorer than Carly. Even beyond the city—from epic bike rides and upstate hikes to ski trips out west—her culinary talents and insatiable appetite for discovery make her the ideal traveling companion. Who better to invite on your fishing trip or snow-bound ski weekend than a professionally trained chef?
Adventure Partner Requirements: Hungry (for adventure + delicious food), early rising and calm under pressure.
Spirit Animal: I'd say the otter. I'm pretty good at MacGyvering with limited materials, and I've always been a fan of water slides.
Log Cabin or Backcountry Bivvi?: What can I say? I'm a total sucker for that log cabin charm.
About Dylan: Dylan is a handsome, thoughtful, one of a kind explorer. His curiousity for the outdoors and exploring new places makes him the best person to explore with. On top of this, he has a kick ass Instagram collection to document his adventures. We're not sure how he hasn't been snached up yet because he's a keeper.
Can't Live w/o Gear Item: I invested in a Big Agnes sleep system this year. The 15-degree bag and integrated pad sleeve are the way to go. No rolling off of your pad, and the bag stays square, so you don't end up with a zipper in your mouth in the middle of the night.
Spirit Animal: Larry David
About Devin: This is a girl who seeks out a new mountain to climb, a new yoga pose to master, a black diamond to snowboard, or a new trail to explore. She is constantly trying new and exciting outdoor adventures and finding new places to travel. She inspires all of her friends to go outside their comfort zones and try something new. Devin is an explorer, deep down to the core.
Coolest Outdoor Adventure This Year: Hiked up Volcun Baru in Central America. It is one of the only places in the world where you see both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea at the same time with the naked eye. You start the hike around midnight to arrive at the top by sunrise and make it back down by afternoon.
Cannot Live w/o Gear Item: My Hydroflask!
Adventure Partner Requirements: An open mind and a laid back personality but with energy that is always up for new adventures!
About Jamie: Head to Colorado for some back-bowl skiing in the middle of a blizzard? CHECK! Handstands atop Ampersand Mountain in the Adirondacks? CHECK! Snowshoeing a half-marathon to Trolltunga in Norway? CHECK! Scuba diving at night in South-East Asia? CHECK! There are few adventures that Jamie would turn down, and the she believes that the wilder the destination, the better!
Adventure Partner Requirements: Must possess a passport and a serious desire to explore. Dashing good looks and scruffy facial hair don't hurt either. Whiners need not apply!
Camp Hack: 1. Fold 4 squares of TP and place it on top of a can of tuna in oil 2. Light the TP on fire 3. Enjoy perfectly smoked tuna in the middle of nowhere!
About Sean: Sean is the 1st cancer survivor to summit Everest, has done the 7 summits, the Hawaiian Ironman and the South Pole. Sean runs up Colorado's famous 14er's in Tevas and this nice guy genuinely wants to make the world a better place, especially for kids and adults with cancer.
Biggest Outdoor Fear: Already had it when I fell 100 feet off Denali. I’m slightly allergic to death.
Cushy Cabin or Backcountry Bivvi?: All depends on where I’m going, who I’m with, and how much beer I have to haul in.
Adventure Partner Requirements: Either willingness to put up with extreme temps, or trust that I’m not going to hook up with a penguin.
About Amanda: Amanda will climb in a van with 5 other friends and run a 200 mile relay. She spent nearly 2 weeks this past summer exploring Arizona, Utah, and Colorado on her own. But, while on her own, she is making friends on the trails, at campsites, and parks. She is full of energy, up for adventure, and ready to explore. That alone is awesome, but what is best about her is her heart and it is as big as Texas!
Greatest Outdoor Fear: That I won’t remember my adventures! I am not scared of the outdoors, only the healthy respect kind of fear, other than that, it is that I won’t get to see/do everything outdoors because I get stuck indoors.
Spirit Animal: Elephant! You should hear my elephant noise, its pretty freaking amazing!
About Devin: When he's not out fishing, trail running, climbing, stand-up paddle boarding, or mountain biking, Devin is a lawyer. Who wouldn't appreciate a guy who has found the balance of kicking ass in a court room AND running 13,000' foot knife-edge ridge lines once he's done?
Camp Hack: American cheese melted on hot dogs. Laugh all you want but this little snack has changed the lives of pretty much everyone who has ever attended a post-run-bike-fish-climb-or-ski tailgate party with me.
Cushy Cabin or Backcountry Bivvi? Yes, please.
Coolest Thing You've Done Outside This Year: It's a toss up between two weeks of fly fishing in the middle of nowhere on the Mexico/Belize border and a long RV road trip through Alaska from Denali National Park to Seward. One was filled with tropical temperatures, grilled lobsters and bonefish and tarpon on the fly, and the other was filled with brutal trail runs, bouldering, and buckets (literally) of halibut and steamed clams. It's like picking a favorite child...you just can't do it.
About Christopher: This Anthropologist turned videographer turned programmer is stealing hearts by day and hitchin' a ride wherever the wind blows by night. You'll find Christopher skydiving, snowboarding and slack-lining his way into a city near you!
Adventure Partner Requirements: My absolute numero uno desire in a travel companion is open mindedness. Your plans will not work out how you hope, so you better be able to keep a smile on your face or at the least be adaptive to change.
Spirit Animal: I’m a cross between a Gibbon Monkey and a Whale Shark. Exploratory & Agile while Calm & Independent
About Julie: I'm fearless, duh! Generally, I'm not afraid of much when I'm outside. I feel connected with nature. But... there are those damn afternoon thunderstorms that can be scary! I wouldn't want to get caught on top of a mountain when Mother Nature turns for the worse. At that point, I'm at the sake of the mountain.
Outdoor Bragging Right: I've hiked about 85 miles of the Colorado Trail, summited 18 of Colorado's 14er's, including one repeat, a 13er, numerous local hikes, backpacking trips, cliff jumping, sport climbing, and clothing optional hot springs - all this summer!
Cozy Cabin of Backcountry Bivvi?: You won't find me in a cabin of any kind. I'm a tent or hammock kind of girl and I wouldn't have it any other way!
About Ry: Guitar picking, A.T. thru-hiking, trail running, lover of all things outdoors - Ry is known to hang the raddest hammocks East of the Mississippi and all he wants for Christmas is to turn his single nest into a double nest.
Adventure Partner Requirements: There's this one creek in my hometown that requires quite a bit of somewhat burly rock scrambling. But the reward is that you reach a pretty awesome swimming hole with a natural waterslide. To date, none of my brother's ex-girlfriends have ever been able to successfully make it to the swimming hole. I need an adventure partner who can make it to the end of the rock-hopping tunnel.
Spirit Animal: It'd have to be a horse. They're powerful, strong, and wild with great endurance. But they're also social, friendly, and domesticated. Also, I was born in the year of the horse and my first-ever word was horse, so there's that too.
About Kyle: He's a single guy living in L.A. who craves the outdoors and owns a few too many hammocks. If you don't click, at least you'll both be comfortable!
Coolest Thing You've Done Outside This Year: Took a road trip from LA to Vancouver on the PCH, camping and hiking along the way.
Biggest Outdoor Fear: Raccoons. It’s irrational and silly, but I’ve been attacked by the furry fellas too many times...
Can't Live w/o Gear Item: Camelbak if we’re being literal… Or my Tentsile Trillium Hammock.
About Leah: Leah is a 9-5er with a bad case of wanderlust. Her favorite place to be is on a mountaintop - staring into the great wild blue. She's terribly eligible because she can't seem to find the other souls wandering the PNW backcountry.
Camp Hack: Dehydrating homemade sauces! I usually dehydrate all my own foods but since I've added spaghetti sauce, green chili, etc. to the mix, dinners on the trail have gotten a lot better.
Outdoor Bragging Right: I started foraging chanterelles, porcini and maitake mushrooms outside of Central City, Colorado when I was 5 years old and still hunt mushrooms in Oregon almost 25 years later!
About Corby: A true man about the wild; Corby's love and appreciation for being outside is unparalleled. The power behind Mother Nature is awe inspiring and needs to be respected, he believes. The sound of water falling and running over rocks, the sound of wind whistling through the pines, the birds chirping and the squirrels squeaking, the mighty elk bugling in the fall.... All things that make this stud happy.
Cushy Cabin or Backcountry Bivvi?: Bivvy for sure. It allows us to live as closely as we can to the old trappers and mountain men that explored all the mountains that I play in so often. (I was definitely born in the wrong era.) Although, a sweet one room cabin with a wood burning stove is always super rad!
Can't Live w/o Gear Item: I love using my Primus stove top to make hot apple cider on those cold, starry nights. Or my camera.
Coolest Thing You've Done This Summer: I'm a white water rafting guide and this summer I rowed Cataract Canyon, which has the biggest rapids in the country, multiple times which was amazing. Huge waves and gnarly drops. So much fun.
About Sven: Rumors have it that Sven is the man. Winter bucket list? The Hayduke Trail in the howling winter wind. Badass? We're 100% certain. Sven has got it all; rugged good looks, adventurous spirit and a wanderlust that just won't quit.
Coolest Thing I've Done Outside This Year: Hard to choose, but probably hiking the Appalachian Trail during this year's historic winter storms!
Can't Live w/o Gear Item: Goalzero Yeti 150, (I have to charge my camera)
Outdoor Bragging Right: I can light a fire with a condom.
About Betsy: Betsy is a go-getter in every sense of the word. She loves to explore new places and push her body to new limits. She's also a fine camp cook and knows her bikes and brews. If we were forced to live in a Westy van on the Pacific Coast for the rest of our lives, we'd want Betsy along for the ride!
Biggest Outdoor Fear: Swarms of mosquitos in a poison ivy-filled valley.
Outdoor Bragging Right: I've got more bikes than bath towels, have paddled out and hung ten in Australia, Hawaii, and PR, run trail marathons in Utah canyon country, multi-sport raced my way across NZ, guided teenagers from hut to hut in the Colorado backcountry, run the Middle Fork of the Salmon at flood levels, and basically spent all my free time and hard earned dollars dreaming, scheming, and making adventure happen.
About Michelle: She's a reformed sorority girl/party girl who has since overcome her loathing of nature and embraced the bounty of the great outdoors. She's now a proud ultra-runner and mountain wrangler, who can still shotgun a beer with the best of them even before a trail ultra marathon. Bloody knees and mud-caked Lululemon's be damned, she's always up for a good climbing session or a frigid backcountry adventure. Plus, she's travel-size for your ultralight backpacking convenience.
Spirit Animal: Honey badger. Small, hardy, and scrappy yet can be cuddly in the right company.
Adventure Partner Requirements: One lucky adventure partner will receive: intelligent conversation, off-colour jokes, and half of my alcohol stash. How to win: be patient, bold, knowledgeable, funny, adventurous, and positive. Good luck!
About Ben: Ben (aka Elf), is a prime candidate to be the most eligible explorer. Through his life, he has strived to go above and beyond to find life's true wonders and has been successful doing so. Elf's passion for capturing life's beauties is apparent in his creative work on YouTube and Instagram.
Cozy Cabin or Backcountry Bivvi?: Both have their own place, but Bivvi because you're most likely exploring somewhere that most people haven't been to before.
Coolest Thing You've Done This Year: Sailing in the British Virgin Islands
Can't Live w/o Gear Item: My GoPro!!
VOTE HERE FOR YOUR FAVORITES