Brooke Maushund

Brooke Maushund

Title: Editor

Expertise & Background

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  • Education: 
  • Years of Writing: 
  • Years of Gear Testing: 
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Why I Chose This Career

 


How I Began My Career

 

Brian McCurdy

Brian McCurdy

Brian McCurdy

Title: Photographer & Gear Tester

Location: Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Expertise & Background

  • Topics of Expertise: Biking, backcountry skiing, backpacking, hiking, bikepacking
  • Years of Writing: 8+
  • Years of Gear Testing: 8+
  • Previous Publications: Several photos in Trail Runner Magazine and Canadian Running Magazine


Why I Chose This Career

My wife Sasha and I love to spend time in the mountains, and I love to document our activities and the beauty of our surroundings. I also have a bit of a gear addiction, to testing new equipment and apparel is pretty ideal.


How I Began My Career

I started documenting our adventures locally and abroad before working as a trail running race photographer. I loved taking action photos that highlighted the personal effort as well as the amazing locations. This, combined with my aforementioned gear addiction, made the transition to testing and photographing outdoor gear an obvious path.

Eric De Paoli

Eric De Paoli

Eric De Paoli

Title: Freelance Writer & Gear Tester

Location: North Vancouver, British Columbia

Expertise & Background

  • Topics of Expertise: Backcountry skiing, trail running, ultralight hiking & backpacking, camping, outdoor apparel
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts and Science with a focus in conservation sciences
  • Years of Writing: 5+
  • Years of Gear Testing: 2+
  • Certifications: Canadian Avalanche Association Level 1, Avalanche Skills Training Level 2, Remote First Aid
  • Club or Association Memberships: The Alpine Club of Canada, BC Mountaineering Club
  • Previous Publications: Wildland Trekking


Why I Chose This Career

Growing up in the Canadian Rockies, Eric had skis strapped to his feet as soon as he could walk. While skiing still occupies much of his attention, he loves getting outside to explore new areas—whether on skis, bike, or foot—and sharing them with others. Testing and reviewing gear allows him to do just that.
 

How I Began My Career

Eric has worked extensively in the outdoors as a photographer, writer, park ranger, and ski guide—all gear-intensive activities that make it easy to geek out on the latest and greatest tech. Currently based in North Vancouver, he's spoiled by endless trail networks and remote backcountry spaces, which certainly makes it easier to get out and play.

Sasha Brown

Sasha Brown

Sasha Brown

Title: Writer & Gear Tester

Location: Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Expertise & Background

  • Topics of Expertise: Trail running, backpacking, bikepacking, hiking, mountain biking
  • Years of Writing: 12+
  • Years of Gear Testing: 12+


Why I Chose This Career

I've spent my life playing in the mountains, and my husband Brian and I have chose to spend our lives exploring as much as possible. Our adventures require gear, and we are often in harsh—though beautiful—locations, so gear testing felt like a natural fit.


How I Began My Career

In 2012, I was selected as a Trail Ambassador for The North Face in Canada. In that role, I tested TNF trail running gear and wrote about it for Canadian Trail Running. My relationship with Switchback Travel started a few years later, after I discovered their great beta on trails on Norway’s Lofoten Islands. My husband and I started testing gear for Switchback shortly after that, and the rest is history.

Recent Articles

Chris Carter

Chris Carter

Chris Carter

Title: Senior Editor

Location: Chattanooga, TN

Expertise & Background

  • Topics of Expertise: Rock climbing, mountaineering, thru-hiking, backpacking and hiking, trail running, travel
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts in Intercultural Studies and Community Development, Covenant College
  • Years of Writing: 6+
  • Years of Gear Testing: 9
  • Certifications: Wilderness First Aid, CPR, PADI Open Water Diver
  • Club or Association Memberships: SCC
  • Previous Publications: Wayfinder Magazine, GearJunkie


Why I Chose This Career

We all want our stories to be heard, and we rack up some darn good ones when romping around the world. So, I suppose that’s how I started. Whether it’s writing, painting, or filming, getting to tell my tales with either a lens or pen—nestled within the outdoor community—has been an incredible ride.


How I Began My Career

Weaving an increasingly complicated web of freelance video gigs, copyediting, and journalism in the outdoor industry, the past several years found me doing whatever I could to wrangle enough funds for my adventures. It was fun but not the most consistent existence. Eventually, the creative energy I got from writing about my exploits and the gear that got me through them won out. I’ve been clacking away at the keyboard ever since… and living a slightly more settled life. 

John Ellings

John Ellings

John Ellings

Title: Editor-in-Chief (Former)

Location: Wenatchee, WA

Expertise & Background


Why I Chose This Career

I wouldn't say it was my plan all along, but the work connects a lot of things I love: creating and building something great, geeking out on outdoor gear, and adventuring in my Pacific Northwest backyard and around the world.


How I Began My Career

I met Switchback founder, David Wilkinson, while I was working at REI and part way through my MBA program in 2014. The opportunity to rethink outdoor gear testing, photography, and long-form content was too good to pass up!

Matthew Leitzinger

Matthew Leitzinger

Matthew Leitzinger

Title: Freelance Writer & Gear Tester

Location: Leavenworth, WA

Expertise & Background

  • Topics of Expertise: Skiing, backcountry skiing, mountaineering
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts in Biology, Pacific Lutheran University
  • Years of Gear Testing: 12


Why I Chose This Career

I fell into this role through a love of language and a fascination with the finer points of the gear that take us places. I’ve always been enraptured by the relationship between structure and function—how does it work and why does it work? This fascination led me to pursue a degree in biology, examining the structure of ecological systems and the function of delicate invertebrate structures. During that time, I regularly exercised the skill of concise communication, scientifically presenting the facts as they are and arguing for the care of the natural world. Meticulous as that curiosity has made me, it's also made me absolutely gear-obsessed when it comes to deciding what to take into the mountains. Ever the armchair engineer, I’m picky about every gram of gear I carry and its worthiness toward the generation of fun.


How I Began My Career

I spent my early 20s in and out of ski and bike shops, casually conversing with customers and passing on my "reviews" of all the gear I was nerding out about. I spent every day I could in the mountains, beating equipment to pieces and wondering how I could get in on the R&D end of things and give some feedback to the engineers designing my toys. Years passed, and I geared my professional life toward one that keeps me in the mountains. I bounced around seasonal conservation roles, cutting trees and trails in the woods by summer and skiing in the winter. My engineering mind now pays the bills as a carpenter and home builder—always in demand in these booming mountain towns, and enough so to set my schedule around adventuring in the hills.

Jenny Abegg

Jenny Abegg

Jenny Abegg

Title: Senior Editor (Former)

Location: Leavenworth, WA

Expertise & Background

  • Topics of Expertise: Climbing, mountaineering, trail running, hiking and backpacking, backcountry skiing
  • Education: Masters in Education
  • Years of Writing: 9
  • Years of Gear Testing: 9
  • Certifications: PCGI certified Lead Guide
  • Club or Association Memberships: American Alpine ClubAccess FundAustrian Alpine Club
  • Previous Publications: Climbing Magazine, Alpinist, Sidetracked, Adventure Journal, REI Co-op Journal


Why I Chose This Career

It feels like the other way around—this career chose me. I've always loved writing and have a fairly analytical brain, but my biggest fascination in life was with the mountains and the experiences I could have within them. Luckily, I get to combine the two!


How I Began My Career

Way back in the day, I was full-time rock climbing and living in my van and needed some extra cash to support my dirtbaggery. It made sense to write about the gear I was using and the life I was living! Fast forward almost a decade and I'm still doing just that, although my "house" got a little bigger and is no longer on wheels.

Recent Articles

Maggie Slepian

Maggie Slepian

Maggie Slepian

Title: Contributing Editor

Location: Montana

Expertise & Background

  • Topics of Expertise: Backpacking, bikepacking, trail running, camping, climbing, archery
  • Education: Bachelor of Arts, English / Creative Writing
  • Years of Writing: 15
  • Years of Gear Testing: 10+
  • Previous Publications: Outside Magazine, Longreads, Backpacker, Lonely Planet, TripAdvisor, Huffington Post, The Strategist, Runner’s World, Travel + Leisure, The Trek, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Popular Mechanics, Runner’s World, Bicycling Magazine, Adventure Cycling, Backpacking Light, Wide Open Spaces


Why I Chose This Career

I have always enjoyed backcountry travel and writing, and somehow figured out a way to turn it into a career between writing, editing, and gear testing. 


How I Began My Career

I started as an intern with a local outdoors magazine. After thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail I took a job as the managing editor for an outdoor publication and continued as a full-time freelance writer from there.

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Expertise

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  • Number Of Products & Number Of Hours Expert Has Tested:


Education & Certifications

  • Education: 
  • Years of Writing: 
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Why I chose this career

How I began my career

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