Will extensive hiking experience help me get a job?

After I graduate with an ID degree in May, I plan to thru-hike the 2100 mile Appalachian Trail. Could there be any product design firms, outdoor products or otherwise, that value this sort of experience in a potential hire?

if i say, “no”, then will you not hike the Trail?

If you want to hike then go for it. I don’t see how hiking can help you get a job.

Even if the company were to look for information, they will do it through an extensive research and not based on your personal experience alone.

My point being that hike because you want, and not because you want to show it off to someone else. Or you can just bluff your way through and save the trouble.

This might help if you are applying to a company that makes sports equipment (especially out door camping/hiking stuff.)

If a hiking trip is the leading reason someone should hire you as a designer…I would say no. However, this is a great opportunity to build a portfolio for the outdoor equipment manufacturers if you take advantage of it! Also, think about if you really want to work in that industry.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Get some catalogs of outdoor equipment. Go to every store you can think of, document all the equipment one could use hiking. Make drawings, note the features that are listed. Also, get on the net when you get home and look up those same manufacturers.

  2. From manufacturers websites, or through public records, you should be able to get phone numbers and addresses for all the marques. Call them and find out if they have a design department. Try to get a contact name if possible. Flip through the IDSA directory.

  3. Go on your hiking trip, but pack a ream of paper, a few markers and lots of pens. As you go, document your problems. Also, document the successes of your equipment, but look for ways to make them even better. DRAW all of this.

  4. Take 3 of those ideas you had in the woods and work on them. Get at least one to a computer rendering/physical model stage.

After all this is done, you have a big long list of people to send resumes to, and you have an excellent portfolio piece which will demonstrate your incredible design skills on their industry.

Good luck, and have fun!

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The local HQ of Mountain Equipment Co-op expects all their staff to be active in some kind of self-propelled sport. Both the design and purchasing departments rely on that knowledge for products that offer solutions to real-world problems. So go on the hike and bring your sketchbook. You’ll probably come up with all sorts of new solutions to old problems, and maybe even come up with some new problems in need of solutions.


Burton Snowboards, a frequent advertiser on coroflot is another firm that would seriously appreciate it. Any of hte mountain biking firms. NIKE. Adidas et al

Posted: Sat Mar 13, 2004 7:11 pm

where were you nine months ago when this was originally posted?

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I would say maybe this would help you get a job at companies that have lots of walking, or running. Or if the HR person walks a lot, like from their car to the store or to the house. Then you’d be in with that HR person, because you both walk, I mean what more could they ask for???

In order to walk you have to have “the want” and it’s clear you have it, and that’s very rare in this world.

I think you should take a hike.

You see, walking is a metaphor, sometimes you know where you are walking to, but you don’t know how to get there.

If I wanted to walk to Starbucks say, and didn’t know the way, then I might walk in the wrong direction until I realized “hey, I need a map”. Maps are big, without one you could be walking as fast as you can, but going in the wrong direction, away from the Starbucks.

Maybe in the interview you could bring a map and say “I use this for directions when I walk” and explain how you feel about walking, and running too, just to make sure your in step with the potential employer.

Yes, if you are looking for a job in outdoor design. I know i have spoke with the head designer at Dana Design and he will only hire designers that love the outdoors such as yourself!!!

Molested cow, do you actually work anywhere?

i was a search and rescue swimmer in the Navy. unfortunately, that experience couldn’t get me a job as a lifeguard while in school at Virginia Tech. i didn’t understand why.

what did get me a design job, however, was having a well-rounded portfolio.

my recommendation to you would be to still take the trip, but not with the intention or hope that it will get you a job.

mr-914 does offer some good advice, but if you really wanted to challenge yourself, i wouldn’t bring anything to write on. thus, as a truly resourceful designer, how would you communicate anything?

okay, bring something to write with/on, but maybe you kind of get my point. its not just experience but skill as well that will land you a job.

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