I thought, instead of a boring FAQ like I used to have here, I’d tell you more about the reviewers. And then maybe follow it up with some FAQ at the end…who knows what might happen with this About page? Chances are I will just end up posting a bunch of photos and calling it good. So, here are the Geargals, or at least the ones I’ll get around to listing here right this very moment:
For starters, I’ll tell you about me. I’m Jill Missal, the Head Geargal, the boss lady, the one who lords over the gear closet and makes you do unpleasant tasks or feats of strength if you want to get some gear to review, then rides you mercilessly to turn in your article on time. When I’m not jealously guarding the pile of gear, I’m off having fun biking or skiing or climbing, working my avalanche dog, or traveling. My favorite sports are backcountry skiing, mountain biking on big loops or long trails (no round-and-round trail systems for me when I can help it), and ice climbing (especially when it’s at least 70 degrees and there’s a glacier to climb on). I like the search and rescue gig but only if it involves search dogs; I leave the ropes and long-line helicoptering to other people, mostly because I haven’t had the chance to go long line helicoptering yet. I don’t always dress in waterproof-breathable clothing. My other hobbies are catching fish and having other people cook them for me to eat, dabbling in everything, and asking male customer service agents for assistance in the feminine hygiene section.
Not to be confused with Mary, below. Marie is an enigma to us. She is the only Gear Gal who lives in the Midwest (Minneapolis, MN). During the interview she explained to us (with a straight face) that her dream is to live in Qeqertarsuaq, Greeland (yeah, we had to Google it too). Perhaps the best way to describe Marie is through her Top 10 Bucket List items:
- Sneak into the Interbike dirt demo
- Circumnavigate the Faroe Islands in a sea kayak
- Visit Easter Island
- Qualify for Leadville 100
- Drive from Maine to California in a SmartCar
- Hike to Everest Base Camp
- Overcome fear of spiders
- Mountain bike in Iceland
- Finish in the top 10 of the Surly Trail Loppet Half Marathon
- Eat haggis (and she means real haggis, the stuff made from sheep pluck and cooked in a sheep’s stomach)
To support her outdoor habit, Mary has worked as a wilderness ranger, a kayak ranger in Alaska, a tree planter, a wildland firefighter and on a trail crew. She currently works in recreation and wilderness planning for the Forest Service, but sneaks away every chance she gets to the outdoors. Her favorite thing ever is to hike above treeline, but she also likes trail running, cross country skiing, kayaking and attempting to mountain bike. Her nature essays have been published in several anthologies and magazines and she blogs about her outdoor adventures and misadventures at http://mountainsskin.blogspot.com.
Janna lives on Vancouver Island and spends a lot of her free time running, swimming, cross-country skiing or paddling. Usually, though, she’s on one of her various bikes: racing, commuting or cycle-touring. She loves to travel, particularly if wildlife sightings are a possibility. By day, she works as an engineer so if Geargals is ever asked to review a calculator, Janna is ready.
Irene is my most government-official-type reviewer. She’s a park ranger assigned to trails in Alaska, and I’ve a soft spot for her because she, like me, is prone to taking gear on long trips without having tested it first. Irene lives in a part of Alaska that is very bear-infested, and she spends most of her summer tromping around in the woods making sure that all is well out there. I worry about all that tromping sometimes, so if anyone makes bear-resistant clothing, she’ll be a great tester. Irene is very tough but also is very small, so she’s the beneficiary of all the gear that is too tight on me. Irene’s reviews are fun because they are very up-front and pull no punches, but she then sends me a note worrying that she’s been too harsh. She also has a cadre of fans that post supportive notes on her reviews, and they are all correct because Irene is pretty awesome.
Morgan jumps out of planes for a living. That’s pretty much all you need to know.
He likes to be called Iceman. So, OK. Iceman it is. Iceman reviewed the PowerMonkey eXplorer for me (here) and he did such a good job he’s now a Geargal. Happy, Iceman? Like I said in the intro to that review, he’s a cop, firefighter, outdoorsman, and general awesome guy. If given a task, it’s done, done well, and done quickly, which are great attributes for gear reviewers. I can count on him taking gear out to save the world, which is pretty much why we need the gear, right?
Frequently Asked Questions
There are only three for now:
1. Can I write for you?
2. Will you give me relationship advice?
3. Will you fund/promote/share our Kickstarter?
Absolutely, if you help me fund my own business.
(The other way to interpret that statement is that we sell paid advertising space on a selective basis.)
Things we will do:
- Produce fun, humorous, serious, entertaining, thought provoking, and/or utterly dull content on a regular basis.
- Review products that come our way for that purpose, and don’t bore us to tears trying to come up with something to say about them.
- Call out sexist and misogynistic behavior on the part of the industry and anyone else for that matter.
- Go on great trips and not even tell you about them. Or maybe tell you about them.
- Live normal lives as most excellent women and not try to pretend there is really any more to it than that.
Things we will not do:
- Post fake blog posts written by your content producers (though we are more than happy to be content producers for you ourselves, as we hear that pays a lot better than freelancing).
- Blast your press release everywhere.
- Even read your press release.
- Take and/or post pictures of “unboxing” if you send us a product. Give us a break here, really? You want even more asinine amateur photos of your stupid product leaning seductively against the box you sent it in, taken from multiple angles with multiple taps on our iPhone screens trying to get that artful lighting juuuust right? Nope. “Unboxing” is the dumbest concept in gear reviewing EVER. Think carefully about how relevant unboxing is to the performance of a product. Yes, you are correct, that ratio is zero to zero!
- Fund your Kickstarter (see above).
- Care about your SEO or social media stats.
- Try to “get more people outdoors” because frankly, that’s not very good for the outdoors.
This is not a complete list.