For those who love to get outdoors you may be wondering if there is any way to build an income from your outdoor love. This leads some who are very interested to ask the question, "how to make money backpacking" well today we are going to talk about how you could do just this!
You could make money in a variety of ways, as many know YouTube is a very good way to gain an income since it allows you to find an audience and to speak directly to them. The next would be to start a blog, which could be on nearly any outdoor hobby, the final is to become a sponsored hiker.
The good news is that it is possible to learn YouTube and blogging on the side, I personally learned how to do this from 2 main programs, Project 24 from Income School and this course on YouTube for Bloggers.
While these courses cost me money they taught me skills I did not have and allowed me to begin building this site and now I am starting my YouTube channel with the goal being to gain myself time to go hike and work less at a "job".
While many people will pay a lot of money to be able to go hiking there are methods to work towards being able to get paid to hike or to have companies cover gear or trip expenses in many cases.
Websites like thetrek.co frequently will sponsor hikers going on through hikes get the money and gear for trips as long as they provide them content for the blog and YouTube, additionally if you are to build a YouTube or blog you may get gear sent to you that you can use and review.
While this won't yield you a "direct" income for an entire year it is a method to get out and be able to take the time without being economically injured as bad as if you needed to sell off house and car.
Please don't take this the wrong way but building a business will take time and effort, it isn't a "get rich quick" scheme and will not get you free from employment reliably, they are just a means to the end you want which is to earn money for hiking or being outdoors.
My personal goal is to keep building everything for the next 5 years and once my daughter graduates then my wife and I will have lots of time and I hope by then to have built a foundation for us to live that life.
Below we will dive into the most common ways to get paid doing what you love, each can have benefits and drawbacks but finding the right one for you will lead you towards your goals!
This is the dream for many hikers, being sponsored will typically mean getting gear for free from the sponsor in exchange for making them content about the gear or similar, this is how some people get to hike the AT.
There are some people who don't like people who are sponsored due to a pre-conceived notion that this skews their view or dirties them. For many people though this is one of the only ways they will achieve a long distance hike.
I am all for sponsorship as it is good for the company along with good for the sponsee as it gives them both the best of both worlds with one getting good positive publicity and the other getting high quality gear for their trip.
If you are big into the outdoors and like to share and record your hikes then YouTube is a perfect opportunity to build a close knit group of viewers who enjoy you and your content about being outdoors.
Building up this viewership will add to your watch time and the ability to have ad revenue along with reviews and affiliate mentions in the description can lead to a decent income without having crazy subscriber counts.
It is also fun for artistic people to create videos and to build up fun and entertaining videos for people to watch about their adventures, note also that you can post them after the completion and not direct from the trail.
If you want to learn from someone who has mastered YouTube you can definitely take a look at Matt from Moneylab.co's course on YouTube for Bloggers.
By far the most technical from a knowledge standpoint as you need to be able to find topics that will engage your visitors along with make the search engines, like Google, want to show you on page one.
Building a blog is nice though as to publish content you only need to be able to write and post them on the blog, no need for heavy video files, editing, and this allows you to enjoy the trails more.
I find blogging to be entertaining as I get to talk candidly about everything from my trips to gear that I love and more, it also lets me hopefully inspire more people to become part of the hiker trash community.
I support my blog writing through affiliate links, these are links to companies where I get a portion of any sale made, and advertising. Ads are something that helps make income consistent since purchases are typically limited to gear up time for hiking season.
You could add more value here by adding on a product you make around an outdoor activity that could be a pdf or other digital product but these begin requiring constant support for questions and returns.
If you want to learn from a team who has mastered bogging you can definitely take a look at Project 24 from Income School to start today and work towards a 24 month goal to replace your income.
One that isn't spoken about much but happens is that someone wants to make better gear or goods for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, this is why we have excellent cottage companies like Enlightened Equipment, Zpacks, Hyperlight Mountain Gear, and so many more.
Whether you know how to make a better backpack, shelter, or maybe food like bars, meals, or trail soap. Maybe what you need to do is to run with this idea and start building a business that can help you.
Then your trips into long hikes could be classified as research, you can start to use your business to get out and test and validate the build of your gear and how it survives the rough life of hikers, etc.
Your focus needs to change from just enjoying being outside for personal reasons and needs to instead change focus on providing value to who would be paying you for your efforts.
There recently was a company that offered to pay you to hike the appalachian trail and drink beer, this may be perfect for someone who finds that to be fun and interesting.
This shows the creative ways available to help you enjoy the thing you want to do with your time, but it will always involve a trade off where you have to create something for others and not just for yourself.
Hopefully I have helped you to think of how to make money exploring and given you some good steps to get you started on the path to freedom to get outside more.
Learning how to make money in the outdoors can ensure you can use your hobby and passions to help supplement your trips and share in your experiences with people who may not be able to get out often.
I know none of these are going to get you out there and make you enough immediately but like anything they are the hard work to get you where you want to be and not stuck where you are.