SO YOU THINK YOU KNOW… Brendan Leonard

Photo by Dan Patitucci/PatitucciPhoto

From The Ultimate Road Trip essay, to his Gear of the Year 2012 and Dude, It’s OK to Hug Your Bro posts– Brendan Leonard’s talent is in his ability to say what every passionate outdoor lover (and PR flack) is thinking, but can’t seem to find the words to say.  We’ve been reading his stuff for the past few years and it has been exciting to watch his voice and career grow.

Today Brendan’s work regularly appears in Elevation Outdoors,, Climbing, The Dirtbag Diaries, among others.  Lucky for us, he was willing to take a few minutes out of his Semi-Rad routine to answer our questions on work, love, gear & bumper stickers.

Photo by Dan Patitucci/PatitucciPhoto

OutsidePR:  What is the biggest perk of being a freelance writer/editor?

Brendan Leonard:  Man, there are a lot of them. Being able to work from anywhere means almost exactly that. I really just have to keep formulating ideas, selling them, and creating content, so I’ve worked in my van in highway rest areas, on my phone in tents and on trails, in coffee shops all over the West, in friends’ kitchens, and at beach campsites. That said, there’s no leaving anything at the office and going home, ever.

OPR:  Who is your biggest pro crush?

BL:  Ha! I don’t really have one. But I think I’ve developed 3-minute crushes on dozens of women who have pretty smiles and look like they can run five miles without stopping, or carry a heavy pack. Or lead the hard pitches on a climb. And then we both moved on, most of the time without them knowing anything.

OPR:  What is your favorite coffee shop/location to write in?

BL:  Oh man, there’s about a million-way-tie for that. The Denver Bicycle Cafe, Zeitgeist in Seattle, Acre Coffee in Petaluma, CA; Coffee Bar in L.A., Think Coffee in the West Village, Coffee Garden in SLC, Big City Coffee in Boise, The Break in Missoula … one time at Sambalatte Torrefazione in Vegas, this lady sat down next to me two days in a row, and on the second day, we got to talking about the book project she was working on, about her past as a dancer and other career in timeshare sales, and sales strategies. She was calling it “Six-Figure Stripper.”

OPR:  To date, what has been your favorite product testing adventure?

BL:  I had to test a bunch of backpacks this summer, and I ended up spending about a week in Jackson climbing a bunch of stuff, and every time I went out with a partner, I think we both had brand-new packs on. That’s my best memory this year — but I think lately every time I go outside, I have a new piece of gear on, so my life feels like it’s getting to be a product testing adventure sometimes. Without naming names, though, it’s pretty nice when a company flies you somewhere rad to check out their new stuff. (My contact info can be found on my website, BTW)

OPR:  What is the dirtiest thing you’ve ever done in the woods?

BL:  I guess that depends what you mean by dirty? I had a real touch-and-go moment on the summit of Mount Whitney this spring. There was very nearly an incident with directing materials into a blue bag. Maybe I’ll just leave it at that.

OPR:  What is your favorite bumper sticker quote?

BL:  Like 11 years ago in Missoula, this car had one bumper sticker on it, saying “Hypocrites Against Bumper Stickers.” I could never find anyplace that sold them, even online. But damn.

OPR:  If you were dropped at the base of a remote canyon or on a desert island, what one piece of gear could you not live without?

BL:  Survivalist me says a knife or zinc firestarter, but what I really want to say is something that plays music.

OPR:  What is your guilty pleasure brand?

BL:  Fritos. I don’t even know if that’s a guilty pleasure. They really are superior to any other tortilla chip, when it comes to durability, taste, and ability to move salsa, guacamole or refried beans.

Follow Brendan on Twitter @semi_rad

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