Hipcamp’s Guide to Finding Jobs in the Outdoors

Since we announced our latest round of hiring, we’ve heard from loads of people eager to work for a startup in the outdoor industry. Yes, Hipcamp HQ is a great place to work, and yes, we want to hire everyone that wants to work here, but then we wouldn’t have any money for bumper stickers or campouts!

So we decided to make a meta-list of the most useful places to find job openings in the outdoors. This is for everyone wanting to take their career paths onto the career trail, from summer internsto seasoned professionals. If you’d like getting outside to be in the DNA of your job, we genuinely hope this serves you well!

Starting Broad

If you’re just trying to get paid to be outside, period, then Backdoor Jobs should be one of your first stops. They specialize in seasonal gigs, and have an enormous flow of posts from a huge breadth of industries (dude ranching, wilderness therapy, agriculture, summer camps). Check out their jobs-by-state pages if you’re more concerned with where you are than what you’ll be doing. The Outbound Collective also runs an impressively broad jobs board, but postings only last for a month, limiting their scope to pretty immediate opportunities.

The other big site worth mentioning is Idealist, which focuses on nonprofits and social enterprise opportunities. The trick to finding outdoor jobs here is the “areas of focus” filter. If you select “rural” and/or “sports and recreation,” you’re most likely to find positions that require sunscreen.

Gear/Clothes/Media

Swag and perks and offices in mountain towns are all very legitimate reasons to want to work somewhere. For jobs within the world of gear and apparel (think sales and marketing), Outdoor Industry Jobs is a comprehensive search tool if you can deal with how visually overwhelming the site is. After you create a free account, they have tons of categories to choose from to narrow down your search.

Probably one of the most intriguing ways to search for a job in the swag & ads world comes from Outside Magazine. They publish an annual series of “best places to work” lists in a variety of categories, and scrolling through their profiles of American outdoor gear and media companies is a great way to find organizations you’d like to work for.

Studies (and also Kylie Turley) show that lighting up your gear at night makes it look even cooler

Public Science Institutions

Zoos, aquariums, and botanical gardens are overlooked wunderkinds in the world of employment: you get to work outside AND be in the middle of the city. They’re often big enough to allow for career movement in a wide spectrum of fields but small and environmentalist enough to not feel evil and boring. If animals are your thing, check out the jobs page at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. If flowers are your thing, the careers center at the American Public Gardens Association is where it’s at.

Conservation/Advocacy/Free Tote Bags

We’re lucky to live in a country with so many conservation organizations, and we’re doubly lucky that they hire staff in addition to sending us emails and calendars. Of any jobs listing site, Idealistagain might be the most comprehensive, but we have a few recommendations on top of that. Mother Jones published a guide to Environmental Non-profits that is worth skimming to figure out who you’d like to follow on Linkedin. And two organizations that really stand out for the diversity [and sheer awesomeness] of their public work are the Sierra Club and the Appalachian Mountain Club. Because they facilitate outdoor recreation, education, research, and advocacy, their employment pages get updated on an impressively regular basis.

When outdoor science is in action, so is Maddy Minnis with her camera

Education + Camps

Before we start linking up a storm, there are a few pedantic details you need to know if you’d like to teach/work with kids outside. “Outdoor Education” involves teaching skills necessary to recreating and surviving in nature. “Environmental Education” is the world of teaching science outside, and encompasses “Farm-Based Education,” which is science education on a farm or in a teaching garden. “Camp” means children’s programming in nature without any academic goals. (Heads up: things can get confusing when you come across listings like: “Outdoor Farm Camp Educator,” or “Counselor at Environmental Learning Center.”)

So, if you want to teach outdoor recreation and survival skills, OutdoorEd is the best search site. If you’d like to teach science and aren’t worried about having a farm present, the North American Association for Environmental Education has a service called eeJobs that is unparalleled for its usability and inclusion of almost every environmental education job out there. For farm-based environmental education, the Farm-Based Education Network runs a constantly-updated jobs page.

In the world of camps, look no further than the American Camp Association. They have separate jobs boards for summer employment and year-round administrative employment, which is insanely nice and useful of them.

NPS! NPS! NPS!

What’s 100 years old and pays you money and gives you fun brown felt hats? The National Park Service of course! Here is their careers page. Yum.

This would obviously be your commute. Visualization courtesy of Peter Amend

The outdoors are ripe and waiting to eat your career. We hope this helped make sense of the various places you can springboard into the outside from, and would love to hear about other great resources we left off! Shoot an email to aaron@hipcamp.com with suggestions for additions to this list.

Cover photo by Ryan and Bernadette Morgan, experts at “looking visionary”

Words by Aaron Altabet

Aaron is one of Hipcamp’s committed and snack-loving interns this spring. His brief career has involved teaching field ecology and sea kayaking, selling gourmet jams, and becoming a semi-pro at homemade stationary, all of which have contributed to his belief in bumper stickers. Roughly once a week he accidentally posts something for Hipcamp on his personal Instagram.

Hipcamp Staff

Hipcamp is an online marketplace where you can list, discover, and book campsites and accommodations on private and public land. Hipcamp is your go-to guide to getting outside. If you’re a landowner, Hipcamp creates new revenue streams for your business, which can help conserve your land and keep it wild. #FindYourselfOutside #LeaveItBetter

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