45.5231° N, 122.6765° W
Chris Erickson leads Parliament, a design agency focused on active, outdoor brands. He grew up fishing mountain creeks in the shade of the northern Cascades. Portland, Oregon is where he now sets up camp with his wife and three savages. Blazing trails to field and stream.
1. Regarding your favorite outdoor passion, how did you get into what you do?
When I was twelve my family moved to the NW corner of Washington state. A family friend happened to be an avid sportsman, taking me and a buddy under his wing.
He had an uncanny account of hidden mountain lake, grove and backwoods road, much of which he passed on to us. Adventure was never far. My folks’ property edged up to Whatcom Falls Park, so trout fishing and trouble were always at hand. Summer days of 50+ hookups and cliff jumping were commonplace.
Around the same time, a neighbor got me stoked on Volkswagens. Throughout high school and college I drove and modified a few bugs and a Type IV. VWs have a place in my heart, and I recently paired my Wrangler with a rad '86 Syncro.
2. Tell us about the first time you had a successful adventure. i.e. your first amazing trip, successful hunt or fishing trip.
I have so many memorable firsts, but two of them are fresh.
Not long ago I took my oldest daughter hunting for the first time. She shot three pheasants and field dressed them herself. Unforgettable.
I also tackled the Oregon Backcountry Discovery Route this year for a first and second time. My inaugural excursion was along sections three and six with friends and colleagues. I upped the ante on my second trip by logging 400 solo backcountry miles en route to a Steen Mountain Chukar hunt.
3. What’s the first thing you say to people when they ask why you do what you do?
Commit to what you love. Figure out what you love and throw yourself into it.
4. How do you mix/balance your professional life with adventure?
I do it in a few ways. First, I seek out active, outdoor brands as clients. It leads to interesting work, as well as inspired, work-based co-adventure. For example, we pro bono work for Home with Heroes, a non-profit that takes vets hunting and fishing. In return, we tag along on a few adventures each year. Win-win. Throughout the year we also take field trips (i.e. surf camp, winter camp, trail rides)—many of which likely push the limits of our worker's comp policy.
5. What are the three pieces of gear you would never go without?
Daily: Woolrich or Filson button-down shirt, hat, polarized Raybans
Trail: Winch, jack, extra fuel
River: Ultralight 5’ 6” spinning rig, Panther Martin Deadly Dozen, Case Trapper
Field: Grandfather’s break action 20-gauge, all-leather USA Danners, Havalon
6. What do you do to stay in field shape?
[Wife laughs out loud]
My spine is constructed from a whole mess of titanium, making exercise tough. I leap in to the deep end and pay for it afterwards.
7. Do you have any advice for the guy or girl reading this who is considering a leap into your world?
Leap is the right word. As I mentioned earlier—commit to what you love. Find the things that you can't help but do, and figure out how to do them more often. It's easier said than done, but the doers do it.
8. What’s one thing we could do as a society to protect the environment vital to your passion?
A few things. First, I encourage folks to experience the environment in person. Not through Instagram—not online—but in real life with real people.
Building on that, we can share our outdoor passion and expertise with folks in our circles. For example, each summer I lead a dozen+ families on an five-day adventure called The Brink. Adults and kids alike have the best time of their lives, all the while learning how and why to love on the outdoors.
Finally, we need to support legislation that doesn’t undo all the greatness out there.
9. Tell us something that's true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Lol. God. Lightweight topic.
10. What is your favorite quote?
“Better done than perfect.” It's easy for me to get hung up on the idea of perfection, but I get lot more done when I let go of it. Three things done 95% perfect are better than a million projects never completed.