Amy Jurries Q&A: Outdoor blogger expands site with more than just gear reviews

Every day it seems there’s a new outdoor blog to read. While most offer great gear reviews, interesting stories and tales of outdoor adventures, Amy Jurries — aka The GearCaster — brings a notable professionalism into her online musings from her former careers.
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Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2012 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show Aug. 2-5. It’s an opportunity for you to catch up on stories you might have missed in O.R.D., and for us to update and upload the articles to our searchable archives.

This SNEWS Outdoor Retailer Summer Market recap is brought to you by Cordura:

Every day it seems there’s a new outdoor blog to read. While most offer great gear reviews, interesting stories and tales of outdoor adventures, Amy Jurries — aka The GearCaster — brings a notable professionalism into her online musings from her former careers. This is Jurries’ fifth year covering Outdoor Retailer, and she said she got hooked on the show thanks to the sense of community she feels here. She even called the show her “home.”

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How did you get into outdoor blogging?

I started The GearCaster over three years ago as a way to become more familiar with the outdoor industry. The initial aim was to look for small companies that might be interested in investment opportunities, but the site quickly grew and I enjoyed writing about the industry as a full-time job.

How did you get your site rolling initially?

I set an initial goal for myself to not only voraciously read about the outdoor industry, but also post something intelligent on the site every single day. The process helped me to quickly get to know the companies, trends and people in the industry. 

What were some of the challenges in getting your site going?

The biggest challenge initially was getting the word out about the site. I knew the GearCaster had interesting content to offer but growing traffic takes time. I focused heavily on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook as a way to get connected to the outdoor community.

What were you doing professionally before you started your site?

I consider the GearCaster and freelance writing my third career. I was a technology venture capital investor before starting the site and prior to that, an executive in the mobile industry.

What's in the name GearCaster?

Much like a weather forecaster communicates detailed weather information and high-level meteorological trends to the public, I wanted my site to forecast outdoor industry trends and alert readers to cool new gear coming down the line. So as one who forecasts gear, I am called the GearCaster.

How did you establish/legitimize yourself in the outdoor industry?

I took a completely professional approach from the start by consistently writing accurate, quality and timely content. I took every opportunity to meet people in the industry so they got to know who I am and what the GearCaster is all about.

Why do you think there’s been such a rise in outdoor gear blogs over the years?

Technology has made it easier for almost anyone to start a website in order to share their outdoor adventure stories. I think readers really respond positively to others they can relate to on the same level, in turn building a community around themselves and around the outdoor industry in general. 

Do you have any major competitors?

I think any site that creates great content, not just outdoor-related, can be seen as a competitor since they attract eyeballs and take up precious reader time. I truly appreciate all the people who take time out of their day to stop by the GearCaster. 

How many years have you been coming to the show and what is your favorite thing about attending Outdoor Retailer?

I have been coming to Outdoor Retailer for around five years now, and I know everyone says the same thing, but it really is about the people. The first time I stepped into the Salt Palace Convention Center I knew I had finally found my home. Not only do I love gear, but I'm also incredibly happy to part of a community with a collective passion for simply being outdoors.

What is your favorite thing about being part of the outdoor industry?

I love that the outdoor industry is about so much more than just making money. Whether it is being at the forefront of sustainability efforts or simply working to get a city kid outdoors, we are helping people live happier lives. You will never forget those amazing moments you have experienced in the outdoors with family and friends. Hopefully the industry played at least a small part in getting you there. 

--Ana Trujillo

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