REI, the ultimate supplier of outdoor gear, is making a magazine. In print. For reading, not campfire kindling.
For 81 years, REI has been equipping Pacific Northwest adventurers with sturdily made gear to fuel their outdoor passions. But today, at 155 stores across the country, REI has grown well beyond its retail origins: There are equipment repair workshops and climbing classes, guided treks and travel packages, campfire recipes and REI-produced podcasts. The Seattle company is decidedly not merely about fleece zip-ups and hiking boots anymore. And soon it will add print journalism to its long list of offerings.
Last week in Denver at an outdoor industry convention, REI announced the news: Its new magazine called Uncommon Path will debut this fall. The company will simultaneously retire its mail-order catalog in one fell publication-switcheroo swoop. It's an effort, says a press release, "to lift up environmental and outdoor journalism" in an era in which such coverage and reporting is down and yet more critical than ever. The first issue of Uncommon Path will cover such narrative terrains as "the starkly beautiful landscape of the U.S.-Mexico border" and northern Florida waterways. Plus, long-form feature stories, product recommendations (no duh), and gear reviews (why, of course). The release also states that Hearst Magazines will collaborate with an in-house team of journalists and editors at REI to produce Uncommon Path.
In tandem with its own magazine, REI is also buoying environmental reporting in other nonprofit newsrooms—10 news organizations to be exact, including Washington's own InvestigateWest—to the tune of $100,000.
Find the first for real, hold-it-in-your-bare-hands, REI-hatched magazine at every REI store and select newsstands nationwide beginning in the fall.