BACKPACKER Lands Talent, Launches New Ventures

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Boulder, CO: Active Interest Media today announced additions that will strengthen one of its preeminent brands and accelerate the company’s drive to establish more robust consumer-direct and custom-content businesses. Effective November 1, Shannon Davis will join Backpacker as editorial director; simultaneously, longtime editor-in-chief Dennis Lewon will assume the new role of Director of Content across the group portfolio. “Earlier this year, Backpacker launched two major initiatives, our Basecamp membership club and our travel program,” said group vice president Sharon Houghton. “With our audience growth and expanding content services, the time to grow our team is now. Backpacker’s footprint has gotten much bigger and more complex, and we’re very excited to add experienced leadership that will fuel growth and continue to evolve Backpacker’s editorial voice.”

Davis returns to Backpacker, where he rose from freelance writer to senior editor, after stints as editor-in-chief of Climbing magazine, editorial director for REI’s Adventure Projects, and marketing director for Visit Estes Park. “Shannon is coming back with extensive experience in digital and social engagement,” said Houghton, “and a great vision for how to communicate across relevant channels to reach the younger, more diverse audience that is fueling record growth in outdoor participation.”

Backpacker has an incredible legacy of leadership, innovation, and inspiration, and I’m humbled and stoked beyond belief to become just the eighth editor in the magazine’s 45-plus-year history,” said Davis. “It’s the reason I summitted peaks like the Matterhorn and Denali, and it’s the resource that taught me how to navigate wild rivers, guide on Mt. Rainier, and stay safe in grizzly country. Backpacking is a radical act, one that demands an untethering of society’s bonds. It is a leap of faith, a quest for freedom, and a yearning for something greater. In Backpacker’s best moments, the brand has matched that passion with stories and initiatives that redefined the genre. My mission now is to craft content that is creative, surprising, and radical enough to inspire the next generation of adventurers and conservationists.”

Together, Davis and Lewon boast almost 30 years of writing, gear testing, and editing for Backpacker. “I can’t imagine a better editor to lead the way forward,” said Lewon, “or a stronger collaboration as we partner to expand Backpacker’s presence. After 16 years of editing copy and hauling heavy packs, my back is good and sore, so I’m psyched to tackle business development projects that can now get my full focus.” Initially, those projects will include oversight of Backpacker’s thriving branded content program, expansion of its international adventure travel partnerships, and next year’s launch of a B2C/B2B platform for outdoor gear.



It’s simple. Get people outdoors more. BACKPACKER welcomes travel and trail-loving adventurers with open arms. As the authority on escaping to the backcountry, we deliver trusted, actionable advice and inspiration to outdoor enthusiasts.

About Active Interest Media, Inc.

One of the world’s largest participant media companies, Active Interest Media ( produces leading consumer and trade events, websites, magazines, podcasts, films, and TV shows that reach 40+ million readers, fans, and attendees in 85 countries. AIM produces the World Series of Team Roping, the second-richest equestrian competition in the world. Our brands include Yoga Journal, Backpacker, SKI, Vegetarian Times, IDEA Fitness, Anglers Journal, Yachts International, Sail, Power & Motoryacht, EQUUS Journal, Horse & Rider Journal, Team Roping Journal, Oxygen, Clean Eating, Log Home Living, Old House Journal, Woodsmith, Garden Gate, Writer’s Digest, Popular Woodworking, Numismatics, and more. The company’s five divisions—the Equine Network, Home Group, Healthy Living Group, Marine Group, and Outdoor Group—also operate thriving B2B platforms, online universities, and retail events. Core competencies include lead generation (through our Qualified Buyer Program), marketing services (through our in-house agency, Catapult Creative Labs), and video production; Warren Miller Entertainment is the most successful adventure-film company in history, and AIM Studios is a bustling division dedicated to digital video. Active Interest Media’s customers are smart, engaged, and loyal, and they look to our brands for trustworthy information and services that will inspire and enable them to enjoy their passions.