We hear every day that we should look for a job doing something you’re passionate about. But what about if you’re someone who loves being outdoors and hiking? Are there opportunities for you to make a living hiking?
You can make a living through hiking using a number of methods, whether that’s selling photos of your routes, becoming a trail guide or cabin caretaker, or even starting your own YouTube channel!
More and more people are looking to make money through their hobbies. If hiking and being outdoors is one of yours then below are some of the ways you can start to make a living through hiking along with some of the key things you need to keep in mind when doing so.
You Can Begin Selling Photographs.
If you’re someone with a knack for photography and also hike to picturesque places then you might be able to take those photos and sell them on stock photo sites such as shutterstock.com, istockphoto.com and depositphotos.com.
It is worth signing up to multiple stock photo platforms and uploading your images to them. Make sure to read the small print as some say that you’re not allowed to sell a photo that you have uploaded to their site on any other stock photo site.
There is a strong demand for beautiful pictures of nature and if you’re someone with an eye for the perfect shot then you can make a reasonable amount of money from this. Best of all, these can be photos that you would be taking anyway, and you can continue to get paid for purchases of your photo long after you’ve uploaded it.
One thing that is worth being aware of is that you need a permit to take photos in a national park if you intend to sell them. This is something that has caught out plenty of professional photographers and even some casual photographers with “too professional” looking cameras.
You Can Create A Youtube Channel And Upload Videos
As more of the world moves to desk-based jobs and further and further away from nature there is a growing selection of YouTube channels that give people an insight into living with the basics. Whether that’s building a home in the rain forest or living in the wilderness for several days.
These sorts of videos are getting tens of thousands and millions of views per video.
While YouTube are keen to ensure that the actual numbers are kept secret, it is generally believed that YouTubers can make $3-5 for a thousand views (src). While that number may not seem much it is worth remembering that this is just what YouTubers are making from YouTube directly, they can also make considerable amounts of money separately from sponsorships etc.
This is most definitely not something that you’ll be able to make into a business overnight, if it’s something that you’re doing anyway, taking the time to start recording what you’re doing and uploading it to YouTube can be a great way to start making money.
As we are talking about it, we thought we would give a shoutout to one of our favorite outdoor YouTube channels, Asbjorn Olsen-Berg Bushcraft.
Arranging Group Hiking Activities
There are lots of people who want to enjoy the experience of going hiking but don’t want to have to worry about all the pre-planning that needs to happen in advance. If you’re someone who knows about hiking and how to prepare for a hike then you can find opportunities to build a hiking experience for these people.
These hiking experiences can include trails, activities, and food, basically everything that someone would need on a hike. You could look to provide a range of options depending on how independent the people would want to be.
In addition to getting paid for organizing the activities, you can even speak to local companies about getting a commission for referring people to them. These can include hiking rental shops, specific activities, such as white-water rafting, and restaurants. Obviously you’re looking for a win-win situation here. You bring them lots of new customers and they give you a cut of the increase in profits.
While this is something that could be done without hiking yourself, it is always best to be continually trying out new hikes to look for opportunities to do the same in other locations, or to find new activities in the same locations.
You Can Be A Hiking Guide.
While the option above is about arranging everything in advance for people, this option gives you the chance to really spend time with people and guide them through a hike.
Like the above, not everyone who wants to go hiking has the knowledge of routes or wants to have to think about it and are happy to pay someone to arrange this for them. This is where you can come in.
If you’re someone who knows some great hiking routes near you then you can arrange for groups to come and hike along the route following you. You can show them the best spots to take photos and generally help them to get the most out of their hike.
You Can Start A Hiking Blog
If you’re someone who has a way with words then you might be able to start a website of a blog about hiking. Want to write about the latest hiking trail that you’ve done? There is a lot of people who are interested in finding out about hiking trails, especially where you’re able to provide high-quality informative articles.
Over time, if you’re able to build up a following of people that are reading your content you are likely to find times where you’re talking about products you use and recommend. You can use these opportunities to provide affiliate links to sites that sell products that you find useful.
Our biggest recommendation is ensure that you stay honest. It doesn’t take long for readers to realize if you’re trying to sell them anything that will make you money.
It is worth being aware that this is very competitive with lots of people writing about their latest hike, so you’ll need to find ways to make your site different from all the rest.
We would definitely recommend combining this with something such as YouTube as this would allow you to show highlights and draw more people to your site.
You Can Become A Park Ranger
If you are passionate about hiking, you are also likely to be someone who is passionate about protecting forests and parks. This is one of those jobs where you can do that and make some money at the same time.
Some of the responsibilities of being a park ranger includes:
- Providing first-aid to hikers that have injured themselves
- Performing search and rescue missions for hikers that have become lost while out on the trail
- Helping to maintain the forest and parks
- Ensuring that park rules are followed to help keep hikers safe
- Sometimes leading hikes and tours of park grounds
You Can Get Sponsored By An Outdoor Company
If you’re someone who has built up a following from blogging, social media or YouTube then there are plenty of opportunities where companies will pay you to promote or even just use their products.
While this sounds very glamourous it is worth finding out about the rules about product placement without letting your audience know that you have been paid for it. The last thing you want is the FTC coming to have a little chat.
A good place to start is the FTC’s Endorsement Guidelines (https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/ftcs-endorsement-guides-what-people-are-asking).
It is always worth keeping in mind that over time you will be building a personal brand that people will associate with you. If followers feel that you’re trustworthy then they will likely listen to you, even when you say that you’ve been given a product to review. However, if you lose their trust then you will have to work far harder to regain that trust than you had to work to build it in the first place.
Become a Cabin Caretaker along Trails
Finally, you can become a caretaker for cabins along trails. It’s not the most glamourous of jobs but it is one that can not only allow you to make a living doing what you love but you’re also to meet new and like-minded people.
Taking care of a cabin along the trail can involve:
- Maintaining the cabin throughout your stay, fixing problems etc.
- If there are fees for staying at the cabin then you are likely to be responsible for collecting the fees or at least ensuring that those who come to stay have paid their fees.
Hopefully through this post you’ve be able to see that there is definitely potential for someone to make a living through hiking and outdoors.
Now, you’re unlikely to be able to beat the pay of a job in the city, and these aren’t income streams that you can quickly build but the perks of being able to be outside doing what you love are a great bonus.
If you would really like to start making a living from hiking and being outdoors, then we recommend that you start looking at multiple of these at the same time.