Ashley Thess

Assistant Gear Editor

Ashley Thess is the Assistant Gear Editor for Outdoor Life, where she edits and writes gear reviews. Originally from Missouri, she now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she keeps an unruly gear closet.


  • Interests include backpacking, hiking, camping, skiing, and kiteboarding.
  • Enjoys trying new things and spending all her time outside
  • Previous work experience: NRA Women


Thess attended the University of South Carolina where she majored in English and minored in Business. She sailed competitively and was voted Commodore of the team her senior year. After interning at a local academic publisher to focus on literary criticism, she was hired there after graduation. Thess later moved to Washington, D.C. and went to work for NRA Women, the National Rifle Association’s online women’s magazine. She was promoted to associate editor where she wrote and edited stories on conservation, self-defense, and recreating outdoors. In 2022 she joined the OL gear team. Now she performs in-depth testing on camping, backpacking, and hiking gear. Outdoor gear can be a confusing, spec-oriented space, and Thess hopes to include more people in the outdoors by breaking down those barriers while satisfying her own inner gear nerd.


Thess graduated from University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in Business.

Words of Wisdom

Do things that scare you frequently and fervently.

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