Outdoor Retailer Summer: Learning, Connecting, and Inspiring Innovation

Learn. Connect. Innovate.

This is the framework that guided our conversations and collaborations at Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City this June. 

From learning about outdoor recreation participation trends, to innovating solutions for phasing out harmful chemicals in outdoor products, to connecting with industry peers and allies, we united a collective of catalysts for meaningful change. 

Thank you to everyone who attended our education sessions and stopped by our booth to share ideas and forge connections. Together we will continue to tread a path towards climate positivity, increased outdoor inclusivity, and a healthy outdoor economy. 

Read on for a recap of our Outdoor Retailer adventure. 

Day Zero: OIA Member event at evo 

We started Outdoor Retailer with a bang at our welcome party at evo Salt Lake. Attendees enjoyed a live DJ, food trucks, a rooftop bar, gear giveaway spoils, and friendly conversations with industry peers and fellow outdoor enthusiasts. 


Day One: Celebrating Juneteenth, DEI, and a more diverse and young new participant base 

We kicked off Day One with a community breakfast gathering where we heard from our President Kent Ebersole, COO Dr. Arlene Charles, and keynote speaker Will Akuna Robinson. In recognition of the day’s cultural and historical significance, our conversations centered on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and what that looks like in the context of the outdoors. 

Receiving a standing ovation from attendees, Will Akuna Robinson, a Triple Crown Thru-Hiker and community advocate, inspired us and shared anecdotes of healing, discovery, and self-love from his time on the trail.  

“This was about learning how to live again, learning how to socialize, learning how to be a part of a community. Two days in, and I had my trail family,” – Will Akuna Robinson. 

We also unveiled our most anticipated research report of the year, our Annual Outdoor Participation Trends Report. Research Director Kelly Davis revealed key insights and narratives around who’s doing what, when, and how outdoors. 

Read the Executive Summary here 



Day Two: Innovating Sustainable, Climate-Forward Solutions for the Outdoor Industry 

One of the highlights of Day Two was our discussion on ‘forever chemicals’ and our new sustainability program, Clean Chemistry and Materials Coalition, a comprehensive program, working group, and consulting service to provide OIA members with strategies, scalable action plans, and solutions for thoughtfully phasing out these harmful chemicals from their products and navigating sustainability regulations across the country. Our goal is to support members as they innovate on sustainability and build consumer trust in their favorite brands. 

Join CCMC today 

“For the outdoor industry, the path towards phasing out forever chemicals includes finding safer replacement materials that don’t sacrifice performance. Recently, many leading outdoor brands have become committed to phasing out PFAS, and members like REI, Keen, and Patagonia are already supporting the cause by screening products for PFAS and eradicating toxic materials from their own product lines.  

With the new CCMC, OIA looks to catalyze even broader compliance by bringing the entirety of our industry to the forefront of this vital chemical phase-out.” — OIA President Kent Ebersole 



Day Three: Exploring the Industry’s Foremost Challenges to Business Success 

We wrapped up Day Three of Outdoor Retailer with sessions that delved into some of the most pressing challenges for outdoor businesses today, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, navigating supply chain obstacles, and avoiding potential patent infringement issues. 

Through creative collaboration with industry peers and Q&As with industry experts, we generated solutions in real-time.  



At Our Booth: Real-Time Data Collection, Real-Time Connection 

We invited OR attendees to engage directly with our Outdoor Participation Trends data by selecting their top three favorite outdoor activities from our list of some of the sports with the highest growth rates in 2022. It came as no surprise that the Outdoor Retailer attendee base enjoys any and all outdoor fun (as evidenced by our stickered-out poster – see below). 


Post-Outdoor Retailer: The Movement Continues 

Thank you to everyone who attended our sessions, stopped by our booth, shared ideas with our team, and engaged in our work. Outdoor Retailer presented a wonderful opportunity for our industry to come together and collaborate, but our work doesn’t end here. 

As a member-led collective serving as the outdoor industry’s catalyst for meaningful change, we at OIA are here to support the outdoor industry, people, and the planet year-round.  

Tread the path with us. Join OIA today. 



The Summit: What Happened and What’s Next

Read highlights from The Summit, our industry’s next steps, and how you can get engaged. Take a look at photos from the event and a thank you to our sponsors here.

In service of OIA’s mission to support the long-term success of outdoor businesses and ensure the outdoor experience for all, we hosted The Summit last month, a first-of-its-kind event bringing together 100+ leaders across the outdoor ecosystem to collaborate and commit to act on the most pressing issues – and greatest opportunities – of our time: climate change and outdoor equity.  

Our intention for The Summit was for business executives, community-based partners, and policymakers to come together and make bold commitments toward a shared future that is inclusive, equitable, and climate positive. We knew that in order to be successful, this event required a different approach and design than industry convenings in the past, and we engaged community leaders and businesses across the outdoor ecosystem to co-create The Summit. It took over a year of planning, learning, and growing along the way.  

Graphic facilitation during each day of The Summit captured ideas, thoughts, and themes discussed during the programming.

While The Summit is just the beginning, we are proud to see the progress our industry made through engaging in authentic conversations, challenging what we think we know, stepping into discomfort, and agreeing to collective action. Read on for highlights, our next steps, and how you can get engaged. 

Together at The Summit, outdoor leaders: 

1. Learned about the links between climate, equity, and inclusion and why they are vital to securing our shared future.

  • Historian and award-winning journalist Jelani Cobb set the stage for engaging conversations on the dynamics of race in our society, relating the country’s history of inequality to today’s issues, including climate change.  
    • “The only way in which we have ever made social progress is by beginning to recognize our own fallibility, our own complicity and then proactively saying: it is incumbent upon us to do something different … the willingness to step aside from our comfortable position and ask ourselves how we factor, how we benefit, how we replicate the kinds of pre-existing conditions that we see routing disaster through that societal rain gutter to the most vulnerable parts of our population.”  
  • Dr. Cobb joined our opening panelists Dr. Carolyn Finney, Middlebury College and Chris Speyer, REI to bring this historical context into a discussion about the present-day ethical and business drivers for bold, urgent action on climate, equity and inclusion. We learned that while diversity is accelerating in America, only 28% of the outdoor participant base is BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color) – off pace with the general population and that 3 in 4 BIPOC persons live in nature-deprived places, compared with 1 in 5 white persons. We explored our role as business and organizational leaders in both creating, perpetuating, and solving for these disparities.


2. Amplified the leadership power already evident in outdoor community-based organizations and demonstrated what it looks like to meaningfully engage in sustained, healthy partnerships.

  • At Anacostia Park, Thrive Outside D.C. community leaders and program participants led Summit attendees through a series of outdoor activities that highlight how the local community utilizes the park for healing, community, and growth.  
  • During the Ally to Accomplice session, panelists shared struggles and successes in our journey to overcome equity barriers to the outdoors, along with real-life partnerships that put trust in community leaders and build relationships that go beyond financial transactions.  


3. Empowered and equipped each other to expand audiences, connect with customers beyond the transaction, and demonstrate our industry’s values and capacity for doing good.

  • Halla Tomasdottir, CEO + Chief Change Catalyst of The B Team, and Ryan Gellert, CEO of Patagonia, shared how successful stewardship of our businesses can exist alongside responsible stewardship of our communities and planet, along with practical guidance on how to implement a leadership model that places humanity at its heart. 
  • Climate change is not just a math problem: It’s a social justice issue and a threat to the outdoor experience for all. To break the cycle of injustice, bold action is needed across all sectors. Climate leaders and experts from YETI, Burton, and LifeStraw shared the ups and downs of setting science-based greenhouse gas reduction targets and meeting them. And a panel of climate finance experts illuminated how our banking decisions can support or undermine all that effort.  
  • Senator Angus King, I-ME, and Shannon A. Estenoz, Assistant Secretary For Fish And Wildlife And Parks, shared how businesses can help the administration take proactive and ambitious steps to preserve our public lands, combat climate change, make investments in green infrastructure, promote environmental justice, and ensure that the outdoors are open and accessible to all. 


4. Built our leadership capacity for candor by listening and engaging in difficult conversations about equality and climate change. 

  • Dr. Gerilyn Davis, Founder and Chief Inclusion Officer of Inclusion on the Slopes, and OIA Board members shared real-life examples and tactics to help business leaders model inclusive behaviors, foster psychological safety, and build a fearless outdoor ecosystem. 


5. Co-created and committed to act on a shared 2030 vision for an inclusive, equitable, and climate-positive future.

  • Our force for change is a compelling vision that clarifies what our most passionately held desire for the future is. We were blown away to see the hundreds of visionary ideas generated by participants that collectively represent what this community most wants to see become a reality by 2030 on climate, equity, and inclusion – and what you’ll do to make it happen! 
  • See our 2030 vision + outcomes framework and meeting report-outs, and details below on how to contribute. 


OIA is committed to the following immediate next steps to support our members and partners: 

  • Finalize the 2030 vision. With your feedback and in consultation with partners and members, we will draft the next version of our shared 2030 vision and desired outcomes and share it back with the outdoor community this summer. This will serve as our collective North Star. The OIA staff and Board will use this to inform our strategy – including new programs and partnerships to advance climate and inclusion action. See below for how to contribute!
  • Be a resource for action on equity and inclusion. While we already operate a thriving climate program called the Climate Action Corps, we want to do more to support our members to take immediate and holistic action on equity and inclusion – across product design and development, marketing, supply chain, and outdoor participation. OIA will conduct a deeper assessment of member needs, existing programs, potential partners, and gaps in this space to determine how we can play a unique and valuable role. We do not intend to reinvent the wheel; many great resources are already available, and we intend to align with and support existing programs wherever possible. 
  • Continue to advocate for inclusive and equitable climate policy, especially at this pivotal time as Congress weighs significant and consequential climate legislation. We will also continue our advocacy for federal, state, and local policies that help ensure an outdoors for all. 
  • Set the date and location for our next Summit in the Spring of 2023, as well as a separate D.C.-based fly-in to bring back our traditional annual lobbying event. 
  • Cultivate community on these business imperatives and beyond. In the meantime, OIA will explore the creation of cohort-based “meet-ups” that enable smaller groups of executives and teams to connect more frequently on common challenges and solutions that are critical for business success.  


Here’s how you can continue to learn and act between now and our next opportunity to gather: 

  • If you did not attend the meeting, or just have more to say, contribute to our 2030 vision + outcomes by clicking here and following the prompts to add your ideas and let us know what you need to take action. 
  • Action on climate and equity is easier when you can collaborate with your peers. Join the OIA Climate Action Corps and sign the In Solidarity Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge if you have not already – then, take a stand and make your commitment public! If you have already done both, how can you take your commitment to the next level?  
  • Sign on to this timely climate policy letter by June 9, urging Congressional action on bold emissions-reducing legislation. It may be our last significant moment for the scale of climate policy action needed to help all companies and the U.S. achieve our climate targets. 
  • Money doesn’t just sit in a bank – it goes out in the world and finances things. Find out whether your company’s money is helping fund a sustainable future or fueling the climate crisis, and learn how you can take action. 
  • Join this list to stay informed on OIA’s work in these spaces. 
  • Stop by this Outdoor Retailer session on Thursday, June 9 at 3:30 MT to get a deeper look into what happened at The Summit and what’s next. 

OIA is the trusted convenor, resource, and voice of the outdoor industry in the U.S. We collaborate to support the long-term success of outdoor businesses and ensure the outdoor experience for all. When you become a member of OIA, you gain access to the insights, action, and advocacy opportunities to help your organization and the greater outdoor ecosystem thrive.  

Did you attend The Summit and are interested in connecting with speakers? Contact us

For media inquiries, please contact Quinn Trainor at quinn@dennyink.com


Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Outdoor Retailer: Education Recap

Miss an education session from Outdoor Retailer Online? Don’t worry, you can catch them all on-demand.


On January 6th, we kicked off Outdoor Retailer Winter Online with a keynote presentation led by Lindsay Peoples Wagner, who is editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue and co-founder of Black in Fashion Council. She shared how the fashion industry is taking meaningful action to integrate diversity, equity and inclusion principles and how the outdoor industry can avoid performative allyship, increase inclusivity and make employees of color feel seen and heard.

Key takeaways from the discussion included:

  • Giving employees of color real agency within an organization by moving past performative allyship and into active allyship. “It’s more than just having that seat at the table — it’s being put in a position of success to be able to make change.”
  • Prioritizing authentic representation to make all communities feel welcome. “When you talk about inclusivity, at the root is representation — to make people feel seen and heard and say, ‘They may not understand my whole entire life and everything that I’m going through, but they see me, they hear my problems, they understand who I am and what I’m looking for.’”
  • Fighting explicit and implicit bias starts with systematic change. “Systematic changes are the things that fundamentally make you ask, ‘Would a person of color want to stay at this company or not?’”
  • Reflecting your values through budgeting for diversity and inclusion initiatives. “I understand the pandemic has caused budgets to change, I understand that people have had to lay people off — I understand all of these things. But I will say inherently, if anything is important to you it is part of your budget.”

Looking for outdoor-industry specific DEI resources? We’ve rounded up a few great places to start:

  • In Solidarity Network: a resource for job seekers of marginalized identities looking for employment in the outdoor industry.
  • Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge: a program that compels outdoor executives to create, promote, and enforce policies that expand the diversity, equity, and inclusion of their employees, board members, and customers.
  • Camber Outdoors: a community of corporations, nonprofits and small businesses who are committed to accelerating workplace change by creating inclusive cultures, implementing equitable systems and attracting a diversity of talent to their workplaces.
  • REI Product Impact Standards: a set of standards that engage REI’s more than 1,000 brand partners to advance more sustainable and inclusive business practices. See the specific section on Diversity and Inclusion on pg. 13.



Outdoor brands, advocates, athletes and marketing leaders from Merrell, The North Face, Ruffwear and more joined together to discuss the work they are doing to rethink their marketing strategies, build authentic relationships and incorporate strong representation in their advertising. This candid and transparent conversation dug into the pivotal moments from each participant’s journey and the lessons learned and best practices they’ve developed along the way. Key insights included:

  • Change starts within. There can be no external change at a brand or company without internal change – marketing and advertising must reflect an authentic shift in company culture.
  • Take the time for a “transformational pause.” The work ahead takes time. Ensure your team takes the time to reset and shift priorities to truly do it.
  • Acknowledge and represent all marginalized populations. What does true representation look like for your brand? Partnerships can only advance and accelerate your work.


Join Pocket Outdoor Media and Outdoor Industry Association for an uncomfortable conversation about the N word. Register now for the February 16th webinar.

Outdoor Retailer Winter Online Summit Day Education Session Recap

2021 Summit Days education featured in-depth discussions on inclusive marketing, the outdoor recreation economy, climate action, trade and expanding outdoor participation, as well as the catalyst that moves all these issues forward: our shared commitment to advocacy.

In case you missed a session, or want to dive deeper, we rounded up the key insights and takeaways from each Summit Day. Read more below and if you haven’t already, watch the sessions on-demand. They’ll be available in the Outdoor Retailer platform until March 19.


Leaders from all sectors of the outdoor community, including Secretary-Designate of Interior Deb Haaland, discussed how public policy can increase outdoor participation in diverse communities and how increasing participation, in turn, supports outdoor policy and benefits such as youth development, environmental stewardship, overall health and wellness and more.  Key topic areas that surfaced:

  • As highlighted by Haaland, the outdoor industry has many opportunities to expand equitable access to the outdoors, particularly with BIPOC communities, through advocating for legislation, administrative action and other public sector measures.
  • The Thrive Outside programs in San Diego and Oklahoma City have very different approaches to youth outdoor engagement, but both have been successful in advancing their advocacy and policy efforts.
  • State offices of outdoor recreation play a critical role in the work to increase outdoor participation and pass policies to ensure and grow thriving outdoor communities.



Outdoor recreation advocates, sportsmen and sportswomen, tribal leaders and equity experts convened to explore how we can work together to support public and private land conservation traditions in the U.S., address climate change, honor the sovereignty of tribal nations and ensure equitable access for current and future generations. Takeaways included:

  • Our economy, our businesses, and our communities are dependent on the health and well-being of public lands and waters and natural spaces across America.
  • As outdoor industry businesses, intact and conserved outdoor spaces are fundamental to our existence. Investing in America’s natural infrastructure — can help the U.S. economy recover from the current economic crisis.
  • Our success will depend on our honoring tribal nations who have stewarded lands and waters since time immemorial, on supporting private landowners committed to conservation on their property, on collaborating with outdoor recreation interests and historically underserved communities, and on heeding scientists



Representatives of the outdoor industry and Congress came together to highlight the exciting opportunities we have to advance priorities for the outdoor recreation economy under a new Congress and administration. From combating climate change to promoting diversity and equity in the outdoors to preserving our public lands and waters and supporting a stable and predictable federal trade policy, the outdoor industry is in a unique position to work with friends and allies in support of our policy agenda. Highlights included:

  • Outdoor companies will help the U.S. be a leader on climate. With this Congress and administration, every bill will be a climate bill. Every agency will be a climate agency.
  • Investment in green infrastructure is critical to preserving our public lands and spurring economic recovery. Green infrastructure is critical infrastructure.
  • In the face of uncertainty due to trade wars and a global pandemic, outdoor companies have been resilient and, with a balanced trade agenda, are set up for growth and success.



Outdoor brands, advocates, athletes and marketing leaders joined together to discuss the work they are doing to rethink their marketing strategies, build authentic relationships and incorporate strong representation in their advertising. This candid and transparent conversation dug into the pivotal moments from each participant’s journey and the lessons learned and best practices they’ve developed along the way. Key insights included:

  • Change starts within. There can be no external change at a brand or company without internal change – marketing and advertising must reflect an authentic shift in company culture.
  • Take the time for a “transformational pause.” The work ahead takes time. Ensure your team takes the time to reset and shift priorities to truly do it.
  • Acknowledge and represent all marginalized populations. What does true representation look like for your brand? Partnerships can only advance and accelerate your work.


Campfire Conversation: How to Swiftly & Safely Re-Open Parks & Trails

Welcome to OIA Campfire Conversations, our new special video and audio series that is part of our Audio Outdoorist podcast.

Subscribe to OIA’s Audio Outdoorist and listen to this and other episodes anytime, anywhere. You can find the podcast on iTunes and SoundCloud

These episodes are your opportunity to be a fly on the wall, to listen in as thought leaders and subject-matter experts chat about issues that are important, relevant and timely. The conversations will be candid and casual, fluid and free-flowing. Our hope is that you’ll come away with deeper — and maybe even some new — insights as you consider the various perspectives of the participants. As the trade association of the outdoor industry, OIA’s aim is to convene the diverse thinkers and changemakers whose work and ideas will steer us toward continued growth. We’ll post these as videos on our website for you to watch on your computer, and we’ll publish them on our Audio Outdoorist podcast, so you can listen on your next hike, bike or paddle. Thanks for listening in and enjoy the conversation.

Episode 1 – How to Swiftly & Safely Re-Open Parks & Trails

Amid COVID-19, states across the country implemented stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders, all with different closure rules and requirements for local, county, state and national public lands, parks and trails. Now, as the country begins to contemplate reopening those outdoor assets, there are many questions and considerations about how to do it expeditiously but safely. Directors from several state outdoor recreation and parks and wildlife offices gather around the fire to chat about what conversation they’re having with other government and land management agencies, outdoor businesses and participants in their states; what usage and access trends have emerged during the pandemic; and how outdoor businesses have been and can continue to be leaders in their communities as Americans rediscover the benefits of time spent outside.

Episode Participants
Cailin O’Brien-Feeny, Director of Oregon Office of Outdoor Recreation
Rue Mapp, OIA Board Member, Outdoor Afro Founder, California State Parks Commissioner
Colin Robertson, Administrator, Nevada Division of Outdoor Recreation
Jon Snyder, Outdoor Recreation and Economic Development Senior Policy Advisor to Washington Governor Jay Inslee
Doug Vilsack, Assistant Director of Colorado Parks, Wildlife and Lands