Anyone close to me knows how much I love to hike, camp, and go fly fishing. One of my favorite sources of information and inspiration is Backpacker Magazine. I recently renewed my subscription and received the current issue packed full of maps on the National Parks, local hikes, and life list trips.
I’ve never really adopted the use of GPS devices as most of my trips have been day hikes in areas that I am very familiar with, namely Red Rock and Mt. Charleston. But lately, I have begun to expand my horizons. I have been forced to gear up for a three day backpacking trip to Havasu Falls in June and I am planning a few overnight trips in the Mt. Charleston wilderness this summer. These types of trips allow you to cover more ground and the need for navigational help is more pressing.
So like I usually do, I turn to Backpacker Magazine and their website to start my research. Do I want a watch with the basic functions? Should I suck it up and buy a handheld GPS? Is there anything I can use on my Blackberry that would do the job equally well?
Page 9 of the current issue (May 2010) of Backpacker Magazine seems to hold an answer…if I owned an iPhone or Android!
- Locate trips
- Research trips
- Plan trips
- Save and share trips
- Geotag photos, videos, and sound clips
- Turn your phone into a GPS
- Save maps
- View stats
This leaves me with a simple choice: either switch phones or buy a handheld GPS. I have been a devoted Blackberry user for too long to switch for this one app. Maybe Backpacker Magazine will build something for us someday too.
The other thing I noticed on this page is that they are promoting the app with a Facebook Contest starting May 15th. They plan to give away one app a day for an entire month to the first person that can answer the daily map trivia question which will be posted at backpacker.com/facebook which currently redirects to their Facebook Page.
Backpacker seems to be getting more social. The May issue included three instances of social marketing. The app contest on the Facebook Page (page 9), a one page write up of “Yosemite’s Buzz” covering social media and the park, and an ad by the State of Arkansas which included a QR code that directs the user to this page.
It’s great to see my favorite magazine getting out there and trying something new, like social media mentions in the magazine. Of course, the entire culture of their magazine and its readership is dedicated to trying something new. Exploring new territory. Testing gear. That’s the exact reason that I read it! I guess, it doesn’t surprise me that Backpacker Magazine would be one of the first magazines (at least of the ones that make my short list of those worth reading) that would try these new marketing tactics. Good for you! And good for the readers.
I’m not sure who is steering the social media adoption at Backpacker Magazine, but I hope to see more of this interactive nature in the pages of the future issues. The website already plays host to a very active forum on all things outdoors and the community that participates in the conversations there are most willing to share their experiences. Backpacker Magazine has much to gain from doing social media well, and by our account is off to a great start.