#DefendersofFun: Kelsey Kobasick, Topo Designs Social Media Coordinator

#DefendersOfFun is a look into the adventurous lives of outdoor advocates working to better the outdoor community and protect the wild places we have fun in. Their stories, their words. Share your outdoor story on Instagram @DefendersOfFun #DefendersOfFun.


My family moved to Colorado from Minnesota shortly before I started high school. I wasn’t intimidated so much as upset that my parents had moved me to this weird place and took me away from all of my friends (high school brain).

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As I grew up and started to appreciate being outside again, I was intimidated by all of the options I had as far as the outdoors went: fishing, climbing, biking, backpacking, kayaking – they all scared me a bit and I didn’t know where to start.

Nowadays, I’m not committed to the extreme. I commend that lifestyle, but I’m the most content in just getting out to places I’ve never been before and trying new things like trail running, kayaking, hiking and fly fishing. Not having a “thing” has helped me because it means I get to do it all — or try to, at least. It forces you to be vulnerable and that’s how you gain valuable experiences.

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“ It was the most beautiful run and my worst performance.”

I have a small fear of heights that somehow only gets the best of me when I’ve gotten to the highest point possible (who would have guessed). So being exposed on the side of a cliff hooked in by two carabiners is something I never thought I’d be doing – but I found myself in that exact spot last year doing a traverse in Telluride. I actually think I blacked out for a small portion of it. There was a lot of swearing, and not a lot of breathing. It was the first time I did something where I felt totally out of my league, and I came out of it proud of myself.

I ran a trail half marathon last year near the Colorado National Monument – my first competitive trail race. It was the most beautiful run and quite possibly my worst performance. I had to take it for what it was and realize that sometimes it’s about just being out there and taking in the moment, instead of getting the best time or coming in first.

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I’m the Social Media Coordinator at Topo Designs, an outdoor gear and apparel company based in Denver. Like a lot of small companies, all of us have a lot of different roles, but that’s my favorite part.

“Sometimes a ‘photoshoot’ is having everyone hold the corners of a piece of fabric while I get the shot.”

I do things like run our social media accounts, produce our photoshoots, and head up our ambassador program. A typical day for me can include planning social posts (which entails five Instagram accounts, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr and customer interactions), shooting in our makeshift office studio creating content, or styling and producing a shoot for our newest lineup or a holiday push.

Unlike how things can look from the outside, we don’t always have our shit together – myself included! Sometimes a ‘photoshoot’ is me setting up a studio in the middle of our desks and having everyone in the room hold the corners of a piece of fabric while I get the shot. Topo feels like a family.

My goal is to make Topo a part of the communities already out there for outdoor women and have the Topo team be a part of the conversation on how to better our community together. Women make up more than half our team, so I think that itself is a reason to be present in what’s going on and to have a voice. Being a part of a brand that cares about the female outdoor community and its growth is important to me, because that is me. It feels good to be supported in that way.

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There are so many people to look up to in the outdoor space right now – in particular for me, it’s women who are pushing the envelope in what they’re creating and how they’re using their platforms as a voice to move the needle and be active in the social, outdoor and political landscapes. In particular for me: Gale Straub of She Explores, Jules Davies, and Chelsea Parrett are some powerful ladies out there doing things outside and embodying the modern outdoorswoman.

Kelsey Kobasick, as told to Dirtbag Darling

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