Innovative collaboration to benefit outdoor enthusiasts by providing advanced product-testing capabilities to Outside’s gear editors and partner brands
DENVER, CO—A new, world-class innovation lab for outdoor gear is coming to Denver. The University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver), Colorado’s leading public urban research university, and Outside Interactive, Inc., the world’s leading creator of active lifestyle content, services, events, and experiences, today announced the creation of The Outside Lab at CU Denver. The center will be used for gear testing, education, brand consultation, workforce development, and product reviews.
The lab will be located on the CU Denver campus in the heart of downtown Denver and will serve as an anchor for companies looking to test equipment. The Outside Lab at CU Denver will support Colorado’s outdoor recreation industry, which accounts for $9.6 billion in value-added GDP annually according to the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.
The new lab will enable CU Denver faculty and students, as well as Outside editors and industry partners, to evaluate product performance using top-of-the-line equipment and protocols that are beyond the reach of most brands. CU Denver’s College of Engineering, Design and Computing will manage the lab and will provide companies of all sizes the opportunity to test their products as well as reach their customers with the results with the help of Outside.
“Our goal here is simple,” said Outside SVP Jon Dorn. “We’re on a mission to increase outdoor participation, and one way to do that is to improve the comfort, safety, and accessibility of tomorrow’s gear. By adding controlled lab testing to our existing trail tests, we can help the industry elevate product performance while publishing more sophisticated reviews that guide our readers to the gear that’s best for them.”
“We are thrilled to be part of this innovative partnership, which will give our students and faculty unique opportunities, and support our burgeoning outdoors ecosystem,” said Martin L. Dunn, dean of the College of Engineering, Computing and Design. “The lab will be an anchor for testing and positioning new outdoor products and workforce development in our innovation district that will create a pipeline of skilled outdoor industry talent for Colorado while providing critical services to companies developing outdoor gear.”
As co-founders, Outside and CU Denver have created a unique public/private partnership that leverages their complementary resources to serve consumers, brands, and students alike. The private/public collaboration is designed to give CU Denver learners hands-on experience that will make them employment-ready in a sector that’s so important to the statewide economy.
Outside gear editors will work side-by-side with students and faculty from CU Denver’s engineering college, designing and conducting tests that push products to their limits. The partnership also enables the collaboration with media students and faculty to support small companies in telling their stories and developing marketing strategies for their products, all in service of elevating Colorado’s standing in the worldwide outdoor recreation industry.
The Outside Lab @ CU Denver will test hard goods and apparel across all outdoor sports, using specialized equipment and standardized methods as well as new test methods designed by the engineering faculty. When paired with results from Outside’s field testing, the lab data will yield the most comprehensive third-party reviews available to outdoor consumers and Outside’s monthly audience of 80 million active lifestyle enthusiasts.
The lab is being built with industry needs in mind. The team is also working to sign up founding members who will be among the first to use the lab in 2024.
Outside Interactive, Inc. is the premier destination for active lifestyle enthusiasts and home to leading brands in the endurance sports, outdoor, and healthy living spaces. Each month, Outside reaches 80 million of the most active consumers in the world across its 30+ media, digital, and technology platforms, creating an experience for both longtime adventurers and those just getting started. Outside’s mission is to get everyone outdoors, experiencing healthy, connected, and fulfilling lives. Outside’s membership offering, Outside+, bundles best-in-class storytelling, videos, gear reviews, mapping apps, online courses, discounted event access, magazines, access to NASTAR courses, and more. Learn more at OutsideInc.com.
About the University of Colorado Denver
The University of Colorado Denver is the state’s premier public urban research university and equity-serving institution. Globally connected and locally invested, CU Denver partners with future-focused learners and communities to design accessible, relevant, transformative educational experiences for every stage of life and career. Across seven schools and colleges in the heart of downtown Denver, our leading faculty inspires and works alongside students to solve complex challenges through boundary-breaking innovation and impactful research, and creative work. As part of the state’s largest university system, CU Denver is a major contributor to the Colorado economy, with 2,000 employees and an annual economic impact of $800 million. For more information, visit ucdenver.edu.