[Update: We’re actually having a CO sticker design contest right now, ending 4/23! Check out our Instagram for details. Show us what you’ve got and win tons of prizes!]
There are a few characteristics that all of us rad outdoors-people share, besides our love of being outside of course. One, we’re always doing something dope; even if it’s just sleeping we’re probably doing it perched on the side of a thousand foot cliff in a sketchy bivy. Two, we want everyone to know how rad we are but in a secret way where we don’t actually have to brag about it; instead people just know and are drawn towards our awesomeness. And three, we have a lot of stickers. How do stickers tie into that list you might ask? Because stickers are the best possible way to accomplish number two on the list, a subtle hint to everyone around you that you’re probably the coolest person they’ll ever meet. You’re only a rad outdoors-person if your water bottle, laptop, car, and first born child are covered in stickers that you’ve collected through the years of adventures and gear. So, here’s a little insight into our sticker obsession; hopefully you can use it to become the raddest outdoors-person on campus.
To begin, I think it’s important to look at the ways we use stickers. Of course, there’s putting them on your water bottle, that’s always a classic. Some go for the traditional, “fit every single sticker I can so they all overlap” look, while others opt for a more clean, one or two sticker layout. From there we move on to more expensive places, like your car or your laptop. And then everywhere in between, from refrigerators to an old plastic dresser from when you were three that you only still keep in your room simply because it’s covered in stickers you don’t want to get rid of. Then there’s people who don’t even use the stickers at all because nowhere is worthy and/or permanent enough to put the precious stickers, AKA me. I have an ever-growing pile of stickers on my desk that I haven’t gotten up the courage to use, so instead they just sit there collecting dust. What’s that all about? At that point why even have stickers? So, this brings me to my second examination, why we get stickers in the first place.
What is this urge that drives us to every counter of an outdoor retail shop to sift through baskets of stickers? Why do we get so much joy when we get a free sticker after we order thousands of dollars of gear? Like, my dad recently ordered a pair of J Skis, and he was going back and forth on spending the money until he found out about a promotional deal where he got a ton of free stickers with the skis and he immediately bought them. Or getting away from gear, why do we NEED a sticker from every single cool place we go? Well, I think it’s a perfect mix between us showing how rad we are and nostalgia.
No matter how humble we pretend to be, we still want to show everyone else how many cool things we’ve done and how much cool gear we have. Stickers are the perfect way to do this because you can subtly hint to everyone around you that you’re really dope every time you use your water bottle or open your laptop or drive your car without being that person who publicly boasts about every single thing they do or own. I, for example, casually put FlyLow stickers everywhere so that I can show people, “Yeah, I know what I’m talking about when it comes to ski gear,” which then automatically translates to, “Yeah, I’m the best skier on the mountain.” And then everyone wants to be my friend because I’m clearly pretty dope. Stickers are a way to brand yourself as the rad outdoorsy person that you are. And to be honest, it works like a charm on me. Every time I see someone with cool stickers somewhere, I want to be their friend right away. I will literally see a parked car covered with stickers and with no one near it, and still want to be their friend. You don’t even know anything about them, Audrey; they could be a murderer for all you know! So even if it’s hard to admit it, every time we buy a sticker and deliberately put it somewhere we are in some way trying to show the world how sick we are. Whether it’s because we own all the best gear or have been all the best places, we’re dope and everyone else needs to know.
On a more sentimental, gushy-feely note, stickers can be more than just for show. Sometimes, stickers impart nostalgia in someone else, reminding them of something super rad and awesome they did. And then you have a great connection and can make a new friend. For example, I keep finding Silverton Mountain (an awesome ski mountain an hour from my home in Colorado) stickers all over the place up here in Bozeman. As soon as I see that sticker, I can talk to them about home. Then, we can be best friends and shred the gnar together and get super pitted and all that. As cheesy as it is, stickers create a connection between all of us weirdos obsessed with the outdoors and everything related to it.
So, there it is: my thoughts on the sticker epidemic that floods our adventurous nation. Stickers just make you cooler, it’s as simple as that. And who wouldn’t want to be the raddest adventurer on campus? So sticker on, my good friends. Show the world how cool our generation is and how many awesome things we’ve done and how much gear knowledge we have. Just don’t lose your Nalgene or get a new car or laptop ever. These things are like radness currency; guard them with your life.
College Outside staff presents to you many examples of how to properly use stickers to show off your radness: