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From Backpacker and NatGeo to BLM, meet our Outdoor Gear Haiku Judges

Ever wished for the ear of an editor at a major outdoor publication or a higher-up outdoor recreation official? Now you have them. Meet the stellar panel of outdoor judges in Trailspace's Backcountry Gear Haiku contest.

These seven, talented, outdoorsy people know the backcountry, outdoor recreation, gear, and words. And all have volunteered to help select the best Backcountry Gear Haiku from the contest submissions.

At the end of April, after the community has voted to determine the top ten haiku, each outdoor judge will select his or her personal favorites from the top ten to help determine the overall haiku winners, and the recipients of $500 in gift certificates from, plus Trailspace swag.

Meet the seven judges in Trailspace's Backcountry Gear Haiku contest. We're honored to have them on board.

Bob Abbey, BLM

Bob Abbey is director of the Bureau of Land Management, which manages activities on public lands. As BLM director, since 2009, Abbey oversees the National Landscape Conservation System, which includes 27 million acres of National Monuments, National Conservation Areas, Wilderness Areas, Wilderness Study Areas, Wild and Scenic Rivers, and National Scenic and Historic Trails. Abbey is a native of Clarksdale, Miss., and a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. You can follow him on Twitter.

Michael Benge, Trail Runner

Michael Benge of Carbondale, Colo., is the editor of Trail Runner magazine and former editor of Climbing magazine, and, according to his wife, is a "gearhead," a title that he proudly acknowledges. His basement storage room is overflowing with packs, sleeping bags, backpacking stoves, tents, and trekking poles. Currently, he is in the process of testing apparel and equipment for Trail Runner's 2012 Spring Gear Guide. A fastpacking aficionado, Michael geeks out on the latest in super-light trail gear, and keeps a digital scale handy on his desk.

Shannon Davis, Backpacker

Shannon Davis is senior editor at Backpacker magazine, which boasts 0 percent poetry in every issue. In his college poetry classes, Shannon wrote exclusively about chewing tobacco and mountain bikes. He isn’t certain but thinks he might have gotten a B-. In other words, he is one of our most highly qualified judges. He lives in Boulder, Colo.

Shannon Davis

Mary Anne Potts, National Geographic

Mary Anne Potts is online editor at National Geographic and previously was online editor at National Geographic Adventure magazine. She's also a graduate of DePauw University. You can find Mary Anne's outdoor adventure and gear posts at Beyond the Edge, the National Geographic Adventure Blog.

Stephen Regenold, Gear Junkie

Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of As a journalist and a former writer for the New York Times, Stephen created "The Gear Junkie" in 2002 as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column. Today, he lives in Minnesota and travels to test gear, climb, bike, and adventure race around the planet.

Rocky Thompson, The Goat

Rocky Thompson is an elite editor at The Goat,'s premier blog. Motivated by spite and irony, he treasures simple pleasures: an open pow run or free drink in front of him. He suffers at every trade show to bring the latest news in the Outdoor Industry. Rocky is also the man behind Steep and Cheap’s rambling Daily Dose emails. Backcountry is sponsoring the contest, providing $300, $150, and $50 gift certificates to the top three winners.

Alicia MacLeay, Trailspace

In addition to being co-founder and editor of Trailspace, our own Alicia MacLeay boasts that she was editor of her high school literary magazine, Reflections, for two years running and an honors creative writing student in college (which may or may not be remotely relevant here). When she's not running Trailspace, Alicia runs, hikes, and skis, keeping track of her miles, summits, and goals in various lists.

To earn the attention of these outdoors folks, enter the Backcountry Gear Haiku contest today.

Write and submit your best backcountry gear haiku in our contest forum now though Wednesday, April 25. You can enter more than once, though only your top rated haiku is eligible to be a top ten finalist.

Then tell your friends about your haiku and vote on your own favorites. The top ten haiku with the most positive votes go on to the judging finals.

Read the full Backcountry Gear Haiku contest details and rules.


Thanks to all of the judges for donating their time and expertise, thanks to Backcountry for sponsoring the contest, and thanks to Trailspace for hosting it.

This is awesome. 

Good luck to all the entrants out there. 

I have seen some really good entries and I am sure there are many more to come. 

(Good thing I am not a judge, I would be pulling my hair out on this one.)

Such great new material to use for this fun contest. Thank you for all your willingness for this contest!

Damn this is going to be hard

Awesome panel of judge thank you all!!!

I am in some fine outdoor company with this haiku contest.

Keep the haiku entries coming. Share them with your friends and get them to vote and enter too.

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