Today, we’re excited to announce that we’re relaunching the Co-op Journal as Uncommon Path. This change reinforces our commitment to inspire, inform and shift perceptions of the outdoor experience. It also signals our sharpened focus on equity and inclusion in the outdoors to ensure everyone feels welcome and safe outside, as well as the environmental issues and the greatest threat facing the future of life outdoors: climate change.
As we look ahead to what’s next, it’s also a moment to reflect on the thousands of stories we’ve shared about our incredible outdoor community.
We’ve aimed to help more people see themselves outside, highlighting perspectives from people like Corina Newsome, a Black wildlife conservationist working to spread the message of Black Birders Week, and athlete and advocate Quinn Brett, who wants to improve all-abilities access in outdoor spaces nationwide. More than 30 adventurers shared their viewpoints on their LGBTQ+ identities and what the outdoors means to them. And most recently, we’ve explored the limitless sides to outside.
During the past year and a half, people’s relationships with time outdoors shifted amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Our living rooms became makeshift gyms and the importance of nearby nature and the inequities that exist were more apparent than ever before. Through our stories, we aimed to help people navigate their new normal.
The co-op is now made up of more than 20 million members. We also partner with hundreds of organizations committed to ensuring everyone can benefit from time outside. As our member and partner communities have grown over the years, so have the stories we’ve been able to highlight, like the work of outdoor nonprofits and personal stories of our members.
Our members expect and love the best quality gear, and we’re dedicated to helping them learn about the latest innovations, such as turning discarded wool into a ridiculously cozy jacket or driving the circular economy by recycling single-use plastic bottles into reusable ones. We’ve also celebrated the idea that gear can be more than just gear, including one co-op member’s ode to her beloved tent that has been there through it all.
We’ve had some fun, too. We’ve introduced our community to the ever-fashionable, all-in-one adventure suit, the ZipAll, and our emerging Pet Ventures business (the hedgehog-size chalk bag still gets me every time). We’ve detailed some of the grossest food we’ve eaten outdoors. And we’ve investigated whether 50-year-old gear advice would hold up on a modern-day camping trip.
Moving forward, you can continue to expect compelling and engaging storytelling focused on the ideas, issues and experiences that shape the relationship between people and life outside. Uncommon Path will connect REI Members to one another and inform our community of all that we can accomplish together. Through our stories, we’ll empower members of our millions-strong co-op to make impactful choices in their own lives and join us in advocating for change.
And yes, we’ll still dig into the best gear to help you get out there—wherever “out there” is for you. On Uncommon Path, you can learn about the latest gear innovations and trends. (For things like our product recommendations, buying guides, checklists and more, head over to Expert Advice, our in-depth learning library of gear and skills content.)
As a different kind of company, we know that new possibilities come into view when we take the path less traveled. Uncommon Path represents the ethos that we bring to every story we tell.
This is your co-op and these are your stories.