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Tough Outdoor Jobs

Every backpacker dreams of a glory job in the outdoors. Here's what it takes to make the grade for 8 of the toughest ones out there.


Job description Outward Bound courses emphasize wilderness skills, character development, social and environmental responsibility, and leadership. Instructors need a blend of technical know-how and sophisticated people skills. Suellen Sack, Outward Bound’s Minnesota director, says, “Your fitness must be above and beyond your students. You can be tired at the end of the day, but you can never be at the edge of your own limits.” Instructor John Vonk adds: “You’re the guide, the teacher,  the mediator, the
chef, and sometimes the doctor.”

Entrance exam
+ Hike 5 miles with
a 50-pound pack, then drop your pack and run 3 miles
within 35 minutes. 
­+ Construct a
bandage and splint from a T-shirt, a
bandana, socks, and a RidgeRest—within
2 minutes.
­+ Grab three friends who have never been hiking and plan a 5- to 10-mile dayhike with them. Teach them how to lead sections of the trek.

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