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Chris Brinlee quit the cubicle and never looked back

Today we meet adventurer and storyteller, Chris Brinlee, Jr.

I began my career working as a designer at an interactive ad agency in LA. It didn’t take long for me to move to a larger, more traditional agency–but I still worked on the interactive side of things.

It was there that I cut my chops with not only art direction and design–but with content creation and social strategy for brands like Honda, Farmers Insurance, and Intuit. I had always been passionate about shooting photography and video and had some really cool opportunities to work on some great campaigns through the agency, but I longed for more experiences not confined to the four walls of a cubicle, so I quit.

Related: Affiliate Management Agency

Immediately afterward, I embarked on an adventure around the globe–creating content and telling stories along the way. My journey led me from California to the North Cascades, where I climbed the snowiest mountain in the world. To Norway, where I watched sunset from the most epic ledge. To Iceland, where I nearly died on a glacier. To Nepal, where I vomited after summiting a 20,305′ Himalayan peak. To South East Asia, where I developed the ability to overcome food poisoning in twenty-four hours.

I returned to the States after about seven months, but the adventure never really let up; it’s been a whirlwind ever since with jobs and assignments leading from Alberta to Africa. Back to Nepal and Thailand. Alaska to India. Sharing stories for outlets like IndefinitelyWild, Outside, and Red Bulletin–while working with brands like GoPro, LifeStraw, and Cotopaxi along the way.

As a Cotopaxi ambassador, I work with the “Gear for Good” company to share their brand story through my adventurous lifestyle; and help to develop and improve their product line through extensive gear testing and review. Their pieces mentioned here are some of my favorites.

Jeans: DU/ER No Sweat Jogger. These jeans are move like I do; they look great too. Plus they’re naturally antibacterial, so I can go for days (or weeks) without washing.

Shirts: Cotopaxi “Do Good” Tee. The fabric is soft, the fit is great, and the message is simple but strong. I carry (and wear) two of these wherever I go. I am also a big fan of Huckberry’s Explorer shirt.

Pants: Cotopaxi Samburu. I wear these pants everywhere! Thanks to their light, breathable, and stretchy material they are great for climbing and hiking–but their cut is slim, athletic, and modern so they perform just as well off the trail.

Suits: The suit I’ve worn most often during the last few years has definitely my birthday suit. You’ll find me jumping naked into an alpine lake far more often than you’d find me donning sleeve cuffs.

Shoes: I’m a big fan of the Vasque Sundowner. If heading into the mountains though, the Adidas Outdoor Terrex Solo are my go-to approach.

Accessories: I rock a Suunto Ambit3 Peak for active pursuits; the Huckberry Pilot Mission Timer for more casual travel. Revo Holsby sunglasses, a LifeStraw Go, Goal Zero Venture 30, and the Cotopaxi Tarak pack. I love working with and supporting brands that are making a difference in the world.

Outerwear: The Cotopaxi Tikal is my favorite rain jacket. It’s light, packable, and extremely breathable.

Favorite Cologne: The closest thing that I wear to cologne is BeardBrand Tea Tree Oil. A lavish dose keeps my crumb catcher soft and smelling good.

Your favorite App: It’s a toss-up between Instagram and Snapchat. I love how aspirational imagery is on Instagram, but it’s super fun pulling back the curtain for followers on Snapchat.

Favorite piece of technology: Nikon D750. This camera is a workhorse. While it’s definitely heavier than Sony’s mirrorless bodies–the image quality is just as good, its battery life is better, and it can really take a beating. That’s important in my line of work.

Next tech purchase: Probably GoPro’s upcoming drone, the Karma. I’ve been wanting to elevate my perspectives of photography and video.

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Cator Sparks
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Cator Sparks was the Editor-in-Chief of The Manual from its launch in 2012 until 2018. Previously, Cator was covering…
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