About 6 days ago, I received a nice package in the mail. I was cautiously hoping I was going to receive it, but just wasn’t sure. You see, I’ve been selected by Columbia (the sportswear company) to take part in the Fall 2013 edition of their OmniTen crew. I am super excited. I have been following the OmniTen crew since the first group in the summer of 2012.
That first group was given a bunch of Columbia gear, taken to Havasu Falls, and friendships were created. It happened again in Winter 2012 (Park City, Utah) and again in Summer 2013 (Oregon). I do not know yet where I will be sent by Columbia this winter.
I remember sometime back in the 90′s , my then girlfriend (now wife) and I were always frugal and bought Columbia ski wear on sale. I remember having jackets called Bugaboos, which I wore for a decade or more. In my mind, time went on and hiking and skiing gear became more performance-oriented, and perhaps Columbia, at least in my or the public’s perception, may have been getting left behind.
In 2011, I received an at-the-time expensive rain shell from Columbia called the Peak to Peak Jacket with no expectations other than filling out an internal survey. They didn’t even request that I review the jacket. I was so impressed with their integrity and the jacket that I did choose to blog about it. It performed really well and I even used it on my recent trip to Chicken Spring Lake.
Enter the OmniTen concept, aligned with Columbia’s Omni-Tech, which I believe is their answer to Gore-Tex. It is a waterproof and breathable material; the holy grail of outdoor apparel. Columbia had great performance gear and wanted to re-brand themselves as having high-end gear for the active outdoorsperson.
The concept: take 10 bloggers, give them gear and send them somewhere on an adventure. The OmniTen groups were heavily into blogging and social media, so Columbia undoubtedly saw value in providing very public people the new versions of their performance wear. These people undoubtedly had influence on Columbia’s brand awareness in the social media space. Columbia sure got my attention.
Once again, Columbia proves themselves to be a class act, asking me to participate in what will undoubtedly be an incredible experience and providing me with a box full of winter gear with no expectations other than for me to be honest about their products.
So here I sit in Santa Barbara, in 80F weather, dreaming of snow, so I can try out this new stuff (#tryingstuff). I am honored to be a part of the Fall 2013 OmniTen team and am totally pumped about the upcoming adventure.