A Campfire Chat: Benji Wagner of Poler Stuff & His Mixtape Standard | Pop-In@Nordstrom Gets Out
We’re celebrating long, post-summer-solstice days with Pop-In@Nordstrom Gets Out—your go-to mercantile for nature provisions from all the best brands. And what better way to welcome a season of camping, glamping and road-tripping than with a cool new pen pal who built a company and ethos (#campvibes forever) around feeling the pulse of the great outdoors?
Meet Benji Wagner, co-founder and creative director of Poler Stuff. This Portland-based purveyor of all things adventurous has been bridging the gap between action sports and traditional outdoor activities since 2010 with “the world’s highest standard of stuff” and amazing strokes of genius like the Napsack. (Seriously, get it—it’s like a Snuggie for the wild.)
You once mentioned that outdoor brands weren’t really engaging young people the way you envisioned. How does Poler Stuff speak to that demographic? What did you guys want to do differently?
For me, music provides the best answer to your question. A generation ago, a typical young person was probably primarily interested in one kind of music. Now, your average person’s mixtape is a true mix of different genres. In our industry, I felt the brands were focused on very specific types of activities, even though their customers and how they relate to the outdoors was much more diverse and much more like a modern mixtape. So we try to inspire and relate to people in a variety of ways that are relevant to their lives in the modern world.
What’s the one thing you always take with you whenever you venture into the outdoors?
SHOP: Poler Stuff hammock
What’s your best piece of advice when it comes to enjoying the outdoors responsibly?
Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea that you have to do something grand to connect to the outdoors. People often travel across the world to feel like they are on an adventure when something equally amazing might be right in their backyard. The more time you spend in nature, and the more you’re inspired by it, the more likely you are to care about it and try to protect it!
—Photos and text by Mona Lee