Get Paid to Explore National Parks: Backpacker Magazine’s Best Job Ever

outdoor jobs
Diana Robinson

It’s being called the “Best Job Ever” — and you just might be the perfect candidate if any of the following apply to you:

  • You love the great outdoors — hiking, camping, you name it, you’ll do it!
  • You have no particular plans this coming summer (or you’d be happy to change them for an awesome opportunity).
  • You’re comfortable talking to strangers, both online and in real life.

The Best Job Ever

The folks over at Backpacker Magazine have decided to honor the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service (coming up in 2016) by hiring two “national park scouts” to travel the country’s national parks this summer and report back about their experiences.

The scouts will explore. They’ll seek out adventure. They’ll commune with wildlife and fellow campers. They’ll capture it all on camera and share their stories on Backpacker’s blog and social media channels. And they’ll get paid to do it.

Hiking the Grand Canyon? Could be on the agenda.

Canoeing through the Everglades? Also a possibility.

Taking selfies with Sequoias? Yep, you might get to do that, too.

Basically, it’s an awesome paid vacation, and there’s no doubt plenty of people will be clamoring for the opportunity to land a job with this many great employee benefits.

Could You Qualify?

Obviously, you need to be the outdoorsy type — the application requires a minimum of five years of backpacking experience (or the equivalent). People who have trouble telling tent poles from marshmallow-roasting sticks won’t be making it to the top of the candidate pool.

You also need to be handy with photography and videography, since you’ll be documenting your adventures to share with the Backpacker community. Storytelling skills are also important.

Other than that, you just need to be friendly, up for adventure and “not mind missing a shower or two.”

Think You Might Be the Guy (or Gal) for the Job?

Backpacker will be releasing more details about the gig in the coming weeks, so to find out more, head on over here and enter your contact details so you’ll be the first to know.

Update: They’ve released more details! Apply here by May 1, 2015.

And in the meantime, why not work on some ways you can set your application apart? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Create a member profile on Get involved in forums, chat with other members and study up on the site’s archives so you can demonstrate you’re in tune with their audience.
  • Make a video or photo essay of an outdoor adventure to show Backpacker you’ve got what it takes to tell a compelling story.
  • Start a YouTube channel where you share tips and advice on gear, camping skills and more. (Be sure to let your personality shine!)
  • Create an Instagram account that showcases some of your best outdoor shots.
  • Do a “man on the street” (or “in the woods,” or “on the beach”) video series where you interact with people on your normal outdoor outings to show how you’d interact with national park patron. (Again, let that personality shine!)

Your Turn: Will you be applying for this position? How do you think you could make your application stand out?

Kelly Gurnett is a freelance blogger, writer and editor who runs the blog Cordelia Calls It Quits, where she documents her attempts to rid her life of the things that don’t matter and focus more on the things that do. Follow her on Twitter @CordeliaCallsIt.