Backpacking Light recognizes:

  • Human rights, equality, and opportunity for all people as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • That marginalized groups, by definition, have generally not been afforded the same extent of access to universal human rights as non-marginalized groups.
  • That outdoor recreation as an American institution generally, and multi-day wilderness recreation specifically, provides disproportionate levels of access to marginalized groups as a result of:
    • The fear of discrimination.
    • Economic inequality and the cost of travel to remote parks and wilderness areas, lost income as a result of participating in a multi-day activity, and the cost of equipment and supplies that provide users with a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable experience.
    • The barrier of participating in a traditionally  “white activity” that has been propagated by outdoor recreation marketing and messaging and historical participation.
    • The inadequacy of media companies to foster storytelling about the lived experiences of a more diverse set of voices in the outdoors that is more representative of our general population.
  • That this disparity and inequality is the result of:
    • Generation-transcending behaviors and policies that have systematically resulted in both overt and targeted acts of bigotry, discrimination, prejudice, and racism.
    • Unintended consequences fostered by systemic environments where marginalized communities don’t have the same level of physical, psychological, and emotional freedom to participate in outdoor recreation that non-marginalized communities enjoy routinely.
  • That these effects notably impact black and indigenous communities but is not limited to these groups. We acknowledge that these effects also impact women, members of the LGBTQIA community, and other groups that may be subject to discrimination as a result of their ethnicity, socio-economic status, religious affiliation, etc.

Learn More:

  • The Backpacking Light Diversity Fund offers grants to aspiring writers in marginalized populations to help defray the costs associated with wilderness experiences, writing stipends, and providing a media venue for your voice.
  • If you’re an outdoor industry business owner who is interested in working with a diverse community to help address the systemic issues of race and marginalization in the outdoor industry, join us at the In Solidarity Project.

Ryan and Stephanie Jordan
owners & founders,