Are you a lover of maps? Not the kind you zoom in and out on with your fingers, the kind you spread across a table and plot your next adventure on. If you’re a fan of maps, you have something in common with this week’s Shoestring Warrior. Meet Shoestring Warrior and Founder of Muir Way, Jared Prince. Jared loves the utility of maps and finds them visually appealing and likes the emotions they illicit.
I have a hard time passing a map by without looking it over to see what cool information it has to offer, the design that went into it, and what feelings it might provoke.
Jared loves maps so much that five years ago, he decided to create visually appealing maps of National Parks using his own design and color palette that were meant to be hug on a wall. That was the start of Muir Way and since then he has created numerous designs of areas all over the United States and Canada. Keep reading to learn more about Jared’s love for maps and to find out what advice he has for people thinking of becoming an entrepreneur in the outdoor realm. Check out Muir Way to view all of the beautiful designs and follow along on Instagram.
San Diego, CA
Founder of Muir Way
Shoestring Warrior: Jared Prince
What are your passions outside of work?
I love to either be in the mountains or the ocean. When I used to live in Telluride, CO, I would spend my time skiing in the winter, or mountain biking, climbing, and hiking in the summer. I currently live in San Diego so I spend a lot of my free time surfing but I try to get to the mountains when I can. My wife and I love to explore National Parks and go camping together. Every spring, my friends and I take a trip to Zion for a few days to go canyoneering which is still one of my favorite adventures. As long as I’m outside enjoying nature, I’m a pretty happy guy.
Tell us about yourself!
I’m lucky to have been able to spend my life living in some amazing places and have travelled quite a bit. After Telluride, I lived in Maui, HI for eight years before moving to San Diego, where I started Muir Way. I’ve spent the past five years growing Muir Way, but what has brought me my greatest joy is marrying my wife, Kelly, last year.
How would you describe your level of camping experience?
I consider myself very competent.
When did you first discover your love for the outdoors?
My love for the outdoors began as a child at sleep away camp on the east coast. We spent our days outside, went on hikes, camped, learned valuable skills and my deep love for nature grew.
You started a company called Muir Way. Tell us about your love for maps and how that led you to start a company centered around maps!
I’ve always loved maps, I find them intriguing in many ways— visually, emotionally, and of course, utilitarian. I have a hard time passing a map by without looking it over to see what cool information it has to offer, the design that went into it, and what feelings it might provoke. In 2013, I decided to create some maps of National Parks with my own aesthetic— a clean design with colorful palettes meant to be displayed on walls— and sell them on muir-way.com. They were an immediate success, and since then, I’ve spent my time growing the business and creating more maps that people can connect with.
The great hope is that Muir Way maps provide our customers who display them on their walls the inspiration to adventure to new places or return to the ones they love most.
When did you first learn to read a map and do you think that is a valuable skill that youth might be missing out on with the advent of GPS?
As a child I had a basic understanding of how to read a map, but I taught myself in greater depth as an adult. I do believe it is still a valuable skill for people to have since there are many places in the world that GPS isn’t reliable. Plus, it is just fun to be able to figure out where you are without an electronic device telling you.
I believe finding our way is a lost art.
What advice do you have for people thinking about becoming an entrepreneur in the outdoor realm?
Stay true to what you believe in and make a quality product. People who enjoy the outdoors rely on their tools and appreciate a well made item.
What do you enjoy most about the work that you do?
Hearing from people about how much they love the maps we’ve created. It’s truly heartwarming to read the amazing emails and reviews that customers write us.
Our customers are our inspiration.
Funniest outdoor experience/mishap?
None too funny that I remember, but definitely some scary ones!
Which explorers, artists, adventurers, or entrepreneurs inspire you the most?
John Muir, who I named the company after, was a figure who did so much for the protection of our wild places and is still an inspiration for many to enjoy the outdoors. He was a writer, an activist, and the father of our National Park system.
We donate a portion of our sales to the Sierra Club, which he helped create.
What’s your next adventure?
A river trip on the Salmon in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho.
The perfect s’more? (If you don’t like s’mores, what’s your favorite campfire dessert?)
I do love a good s’more but it has to be golden, not burned, and bacon is a plus!
Photos © 2018 Jared Prince