At Misadventures, we’ve checked in again to see how women are represented in the outdoor and adventure-industry publication world.

In two past reports (Winter 2015 and Summer 2014), we documented how many outdoor and adventure lifestyle magazines and websites, rather than being gender-neutral, strongly skew toward a male audience.

How did we measure this? In an admittedly imprecise way, but in one that captures the spirit of the industry at a glance: we look at the staff list, the bylines, and the images. We count the number of men and the number of women.

This is an imperfect system of gauging representation, but it’s an attempt to cover the spectrum of who’s behind-the-scenes making the decisions about content (staff), who’s actually the voice of the magazine (bylines), who magazines are portraying as the face of their content (photos), and who’s reading (audience).

This winter, we’re looking at the following magazines: Alpinist, Backpacker, Climbing, Mountain, Powder, Outside, Ski, Skiing, and Surfer.

Read on to see some handy charts from some of the most recent widely-circulated outdoor-industry publications that illustrate our point.


This report was created after we scoured the pages of some of the latest magazines, cataloguing in four key areas:

(1) Staff List

This was taken from the Impressum, and it’s basically the list of people who work on the magazine. This section appears in the front of the book. We included editorial staff, photographers, digital staff, management, advertising sales, etc.

(2) Article Bylines

We looked at every article that included an author’s byline in each of the magazines. We did not look at photographer credits.

(3) Photographs and Illustrations

We considered each individual photograph or illustration. If a man was the subject, we tallied the photograph in the “men” column. If a woman was the subject, we tallied the photograph in the “women” column. If there were multiple subjects, we tallied each of those subjects in their respective columns. If it was a photograph of a crowd of people, we chose the clear subjects (no more than five people) and tallied accordingly. Note: we did not include advertisements.

(4) Audience Demographics

We searched for the media kits for each of the magazines online to find their own reporting of the gender breakdown of their audience.

Other Notes

  • If a name or a photograph was ambiguously gendered (Taylor, Robin, Alex, Sam, etc), we tallied in the “gender-neutral” column.
  • In charts below, the blue represents men, the pink represents women, and the purple represents gender-neutral.

Without further ado:

Winter 2016 Gender Representation in Outdoor Industry Magazines Report

Issues included:

Alpinist, Winter 2015-2016

Winter 2015 Issue Note: the features were explicitly designed to spotlight women alpinists, so we imagine the representation statistic might be different in another issue of the magazine.

Alpinist: Staff

[wp_charts title=”Staff2″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”68,0,32″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Men: 68%
Women: 32%
Gender-Neutral Names: 0%


Alpinist: Articles With Bylines

[wp_charts title=”Bylines2″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”39,0,61″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Men in Bylines: 39%
Women in Bylines: 61%
Gender-Neutral Bylines: 0%


Alpinist: Photographs and Illustrations

In images with multiple humans, main subject(s) chosen

[wp_charts title=”Photos2″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”40,8,52″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Images of Men: 40%
Images of Women: 52%
Gender Neutral Figures: 8%


Alpinist: Audience Demographics

Not available online

Backpacker, January 2016

Backpacker: Staff

[wp_charts title=”Staff1″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”43,3,54″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Men: 43%
Women: 54%
Gender-Neutral Names: 3%


Backpacker: Articles With Bylines

[wp_charts title=”Bylines1″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”48,7,45″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Men in Bylines: 48%
Women in Bylines: 45%
Gender-Neutral Bylines: 7%


Backpacker: Photographs and Illustrations

In images with multiple humans, main subject(s) chosen

[wp_charts title=”Photos1″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”58,27,15″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Images of Men: 58%
Images of Women: 15%
Gender Neutral Figures: 27%


Backpacker: Audience Demographics

[wp_charts title=”MediaKit2″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”71,29″ colors=”#008ed8,#ee6b93,”]

Men: 67%
Women: 33%
Source: Media Kit

Climbing, February/March 2016

Climbing: Staff

[wp_charts title=”Staff” type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”42,0,58″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Men: 42%
Women: 58%
Gender-Neutral Names: 0%


Climbing: Articles With Bylines

[wp_charts title=”Bylines” type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”53,0,47″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Men in Bylines: 53%
Women in Bylines: 47%
Gender-Neutral Bylines: 0%


Climbing: Photographs and Illustrations

In images with multiple humans, main subject(s) chosen

[wp_charts title=”Photos” type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”64,4,32″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Images of Men: 64%
Images of Women: 32%
Gender Neutral Figures: 4%


Climbing: Audience Demographics

Not available online

Mountain, Early Winter 2015

Mountain: Staff

[wp_charts title=”Staff3″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”69,10,21″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Men: 69%
Women: 21%
Gender-Neutral Names: 10%


Mountain: Articles With Bylines

[wp_charts title=”Bylines3″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”73,7,20″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Men in Bylines: 73%
Women in Bylines: 20%
Gender-Neutral Bylines: 7%

Mountain: Photographs and Illustrations

In images with multiple humans, main subject(s) chosen

[wp_charts title=”Photos3″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”61,17,22″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Images of Men: 61%
Images of Women: 22%
Gender Neutral Figures: 17%

Mountain: Audience Demographics

[wp_charts title=”MediaKit12″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”59,41″ colors=”#008ed8,#ee6b93,”]

Men: 59%
Women: 41%
Source: Media Kit

Outside, March 2016

Outside: Staff

[wp_charts title=”Staff13″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”63,1,32″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Men: 63%
Women: 32%
Gender-Neutral Names: 1%

Outside: Articles With Bylines

[wp_charts title=”Bylines13″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”85,0,15″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Men in Bylines: 85%
Women in Bylines: 15%
Gender-Neutral Bylines: 0%

Outside: Photographs and Illustrations

In images with multiple humans, main subject(s) chosen

[wp_charts title=”Photos13″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”89,0,11″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Images of Men: 89%
Images of Women: 11%
Gender Neutral Figures: 0%

Outside: Audience Demographics

[wp_charts title=”MediaKit13″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”70,30″ colors=”#008ed8,#ee6b93,”]

Men: 70%
Women: 30%
Source: Media Kit



Powder, January 2016

Powder: Staff

Note: The Impressum is divided into editorial and management.  The Editorial Team is 78% Men, 9% Women, and 13% Gender-Neutral Names. The Management team is 73% Men, 17% Women, and 10% Gender-Neutral Names. The combined numbers are reflected below.

[wp_charts title=”Staff5″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”77,12,11″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Men: 77%
Women: 11%
Gender-Neutral Names: 12%


Powder: Articles With Bylines

[wp_charts title=”Bylines5″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”69,0,31″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Men in Bylines: 69%
Women in Bylines: 31%
Gender-Neutral Bylines: 0%


Powder: Photographs and Illustrations

In images with multiple humans, main subject(s) chosen

[wp_charts title=”Photos5″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”63,7,30″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Images of Men: 63%
Images of Women: 7%
Gender Neutral Figures: 30%

Powder: Audience Demographics

[wp_charts title=”MediaKit14″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”59,41″ colors=”#008ed8,#ee6b93,”]

Men: 67.8%
Women: 32.8%
Source: Media Kit

Ski, October 2015

Ski: Staff

[wp_charts title=”Staff15″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”53,3,44″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Men: 53%
Women: 44%
Gender-Neutral Names: 3%

Ski: Articles With Bylines

[wp_charts title=”Bylines15″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”40,6,54″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Men in Bylines: 40%
Women in Bylines: 54%
Gender-Neutral Bylines: 6%

Ski: Photographs and Illustrations

In images with multiple humans, main subject(s) chosen

[wp_charts title=”Photos15″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”43,27,30″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Images of Men: 43%
Images of Women: 30%
Gender Neutral Figures: 27%

Ski: Audience Demographics

[wp_charts title=”MediaKit15″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”59,41″ colors=”#008ed8,#ee6b93,”]

Men: 68%
Women: 29%
Source: Media Kit

Skiing, November 2015

Skiing: Staff

[wp_charts title=”Staff16″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”33,7,60″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Men: 33%
Women: 60%
Gender-Neutral Names: 7%

Skiing: Articles With Bylines

[wp_charts title=”Bylines16″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”62,0,38″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Men in Bylines: 62%
Women in Bylines: 38%
Gender-Neutral Bylines: 0%

Skiing: Photographs and Illustrations

In images with multiple humans, main subject(s) chosen

[wp_charts title=”Photos16″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”50,21,29″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Images of Men: 50%
Images of Women: 29%
Gender Neutral Figures: 21%

Skiing: Audience Demographics

[wp_charts title=”MediaKit16″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”72,28″ colors=”#008ed8,#ee6b93,”]

Men: 72%
Women: 28%
Source: Media Kit

Surfer Magazine, April 2016

Surfer: Staff

[wp_charts title=”Staff6″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”83,11,7″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Men: 83%
Women: 7%
Gender-Neutral Names: 11%


Surfer: Articles With Bylines

[wp_charts title=”Bylines6″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”86,0,14″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Men in Bylines: 86
Women in Bylines: 14%
Gender-Neutral Names: 0%


Surfer: Photographs and Illustrations

In images with multiple humans, main subject(s) chosen

[wp_charts title=”Photos6″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”82,1,16″ colors=”#008ed8,#b19cd9,#ee6b93,”]

Images of Men: 82%
Images of Women: 16%
Gender Neutral Figures: 1%


Surfer: Audience Demographics

[wp_charts title=”MediaKit6″ type=”doughnut” align=”aligncenter” margin=”5px 20px” data=”77,23″ colors=”#008ed8,#ee6b93,”]

Men: 80%
Women: 20%
Source: Media Kit




In Summary

There’s a significant link in gender representation between the four elements that we’ve chosen. The magazines with a higher ratio of women on staff are the same ones who employ female contributors and visually represent women on their pages. In general, magazines with more female representation on their pages have a larger female audience.  As we did last time, we applaud Backpacker for its representation. Alpinist had a particularly good showing, representation-wise, and that’s probably because their features were explicitly female-focused for this issue. Outside remains overwhelmingly male, especially in terms of images, and the fact that the female bylines were for short front-of-book pieces only. Plus: 4 of the 8 photos of women were of a female cyclist sponsored by REI, in paid promotional content.

And Surfer. Poor SurferThis was the “interview” edition. To Surfer’s credit, they featured 3 female surfers–but in a group interview, as “The Catalysts,” where they were asked questions like “Women are undoubtedly surfing better than ever, but do you still think there’s a performance gap between men and women that we need to overcome?” Also, this was the only interview conducted by a woman; all other bylines were male. In other words: yay for some focus on women, but boo pretty much only asking them questions re: gender, while the men were asked about their surfing competitions, goals, experiences, etc.

All that said, progress is being made. Ours is not the only solution to the outdoor media gender gap, but, as the growing community of misadventurers proves, it’s a powerful one. We’re proud to be a part of the incredible legion of outdoor women working for change, and we admire the people working to alter their companies (especially the ones we’ve called out here) from the inside. It certainly does not go unnoticed.