Last year at SELF we published our inaugural Outdoor Awards with the goal of encouraging everyone to get a little more outside, a little more often. Whether that means committing to a weekly walk around the block or a three-day car-camping trip, spending time outdoors is good for you, as SELF previously reported, and perhaps even more importantly, it can inspire great amounts of joy and awe

Our Outdoor Awards are back for a second year, and we’re excited to present you with all the best gear for staying comfortable and safe in nature. But this time around, we had some help from our friends: a new panel of judges, all of whom you’ll meet below. 

When we set out to create the 2023 SELF Outdoor Awards judging group, we wanted to find people who are experienced, educated, and curious. We sought out folks who embody SELF’s core values: inclusivity, accuracy, autonomy, and empathy, all of which are of the utmost importance in the great outdoors too. We think these leaders do exactly that. 

The 2023 SELF Outdoor Awards judges come from a variety of backgrounds with a wide range of interests; some grew up spending lots of time outdoors, while others have paved their own way there despite systemic barriers to entry. They live in all corners of the country, from Alabama to Utah to New Hampshire, and do everything from river rafting to mountain hiking. Basically, this awesome group runs the gamut. But what they all have in common is a true love for nature—and the products that make it more hospitable to us all. 

During our product testing and review process, the panel weighed in on items and brands they love and rely on with an eye toward things that are beginner-friendly, versatile, reasonably priced, and practical. They shared when and how they use their gear, notable features that make a given piece stand out from the crowd, and even downsides anyone shopping might want to know. 

We’re excited to introduce you to all of our 2023 Outdoor Awards judges below. And don’t forget to check out our list of 54 winners here!  

Fiona Boomer