Outdoor Gear Competition Nut

I love entering competitions for rock climbing and hiking gear.  I like the possibility, no matter how small, that I might be lucky enough to win shiny new stuff.  It allows me to daydream that the latest, most technologically advanced piece of kit that I can’t really justify buying or else couldn’t afford might be mine.  Wanting new outdoor gear is like lusting after the latest smart phone or must have gadget.  Competitions provide me with a chance to have this gear and I enter as many competitions as I can.

Some of the magazines I look for competitions in.
Some of the magazines I look for competitions in.

Its not just competitions to win gear that you can enter – there are also competitions to win opportunities to put such gear to use.  There are often competitions with the prize of taking you and a friend away to mountains around the world or of being coached by a top climber.  Money and time stop me having these experiences the vast majority of the time, but a few clicks on an online competition and I can daydream about being the lucky winner of a trip to the Rockies or to ski in the Alps.

The odds of me winning any of these competitions are small, but the odds are much worse if you don’t enter and the possibility of winning is fun.

Competitions aren’t run out of some Santa Claus-like desire to throw gifts around and that it is all about marketing.  These competitions are about advertising products, finding out about the market and getting the contact details of potential customers.  Every time I enter one of these competitions, my details get added to some database to be part of the dataset for the next marketing plan.  Even though I always tick or untick the box about getting marketing materials, my competition entering has got me on quite a few mailing lists and I get a fair number of emails from manufacturers and tourism agencies.  However, I don’t really care enough about this to stop.

It’s no secret that I like mountains and mountain sports.  I also like finding out about the latest outdoor gear.  The emails I get even sometimes tell me about new competitions.  I can live with the small price of a few bits of spam for the chance of winning the latest waterproof jacket, some shiny cams or a trek in the Himalayas.

My interest in competitions all started when I won one.  I’d been on a winter skills course at Glenmore Lodge and noticed on their website that there was a competition to win a boot bag.  I entered and won.  Not long after that I entered a competition in which you had to give a tip for going hiking.  I came third in the competition and won some Marmot gloves.  I was hooked and began to seek these competitions out.

However, since then, I have not won a single competition for mountain gear.  I have entered a lot of these competitions, but my early success has not been repeated.  Outside of these types of competitions, I have been a bit more successful.  I have won DVDs, books and concert tickets, but it’s the outdoor gear that I really want.

Internet compsYou could argue that I shouldn’t tell people about the competitions that I enter because more entrants reduce my chances of winning.  However, given the odds and my lack of success, a few more people entering isn’t really going to make much of a difference to the already small odds I face.  This is why I have described below the best places that I know of for online competitions for outdoor gear and experiences.  These often have territorial limitations on who can enter.  As I live in the UK, most of the competitions I know about are only open to UK residents.

Good luck, and please feel free to let me, and anyone who reads this blog post, know about other competitions around the world by writing in the box below.

Go Pro
Go Pro make the Hero cameras/video recorders that can be mounted on helmets, bikes and a whole range of other things to capture adventurous activities (and prat falls).  They run a daily draw in which the prize is the latest model Hero camera plus all the available accessories. There are no territorial restrictions on entries.

Great Competitions  Win Something
This website hosts the competitions run by lots of UK magazines, including Trail, Country Walking, Trail Running and Outdoor Fitness.  Prizes range from gear (e.g. boots, walking poles, clothing, tents) to weekend breaks and holidays.  You have to answer a multiple-choice question to be entered in each competition, but the answers are usually easy to find online if you don’t already know them.  Registration is required, but they don’t send you spam emails.  All you need to do to enter a competition on the site is to type in your email address and enter some text to prove that you are a real person entering the competition.  There is no registration and they don’t send spam emails.

UK Climbing
UK Climbing is a popular climbing and mountaineering website.  There are always some competitions on the site, either their own or ones run by manufacturers.  Prizes can include gear (e.g. clothing, stoves, sleeping mats, crampons, PPE), books and tickets to talks by famous climbers.  Registration with the site is required to enter.

Bushwalking Blog
An Australian blog that runs gear competitions as well as doing a monthly post on the latest online competitions for outdoor stuff.  Check whether there are any territorial limitations.

TGO (The Great Outdoors)
TGO magazine runs monthly competitions for walking holidays and gear.

Nite Watches
A British company that makes toughened sports watches with clever lighting.  They often run competitions in conjunction with magazines for their watches and other gear.

London’s fantastic map and travel shop has regular competitions for holidays, guidebooks and electronic equipment (e.g.iPads, cameras).

The magazine of The Ramblers (a British charity for walkers) runs competitions for walking holidays and gear.  The competitions aren’t limited to members.

National Geographic Traveller
This magazine has competitions that include holidays and books.

Snow and Rock
A UK mountain gear store that occasionally runs competitions.  These competitions are usually for clothing and sometimes for holidays (including ski holidays in the winter months).

Ellis Brigham
A UK mountain gear store that sometimes runs competitions, particularly winter competitions for skiing holidays.

Glenmore Lodge
Scotland’s National Outdoor Training Centre runs competitions for courses and gear.  These competitions used to be monthly, but now seem to be more infrequent.

A UK rock climbing magazine that runs competitions every month for climbing gear.  Registration is required.

UPDATE: 5 July 2013

I’ve won something!  My long losing streak was broken the other week when I was one of the winners of a competition on UK Climbing.  The prize is a pair of La Sportiva Stickit kids’ climbing shoes that will be for the baby that my wife and I have on the way (although, it will be a couple of years before our son gets big enough to climb and use the shoes).   The shoes are very cute.

The La Sportiva Stickit kids' rock shoes that I won.
The La Sportiva Stickit kids’ rock shoes that I won.

Interestingly, the person from Lyon Equipment who told me I had won and sent me the shoes said that online competitions don’t get as many entries as you might imagine.  He told me that they usually work on the basis that only about 1/3 of those who look at the competition actually enter.  Maybe the odds are better for me winning something than I thought.

UPDATE: 31 May 2014

Trial magazine’s competitions are no longer run on a website called Great Competitions, but on a website called Win Something and so I’ve corrected my earlier text.

UPDATE: 9 November 2014

Winning the climbing shoes didn’t herald a change in my luck.  It’s only now, over a year later, that I’ve won another competition.  It was a good win though.  I won a North Face Alpine Project Jacket (RRP £200) in a competition run by Glenmore Lodge.  I’m really pleased, although I hope that I can start to do better than one competition win a year.

Me in the North Face Alpine Project Jacket that I won.
Me in the North Face Alpine Project Jacket that I won.

UPDATE: 7 December 2014

I’ve written a new post about the great competitions available at Christmas.

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