May Founder Favorites

May Founder Favorites

Dear Friends,

Thank you for being part of our community! It’s such a pleasure to connect right now, especially as we turn from the blooms of Spring to an active Summer spent outdoors!

For those I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting, my name is Rue Mapp and I am the founder and CEO of Outdoor Afro Org—an organization that began as a blog and social enterprise back in 2009 to reconnect the Black community to the great outdoors through outdoor recreation.

In 2015, I formed a not-for-profit organization to help more people find their joyous community, and learn and share outdoor skills. Then in 2021, after learning a lot about the outdoor industry and products, I became motivated to address how more people can connect with outdoor experiences in a relevant and joyous way through Black outdoor-community informed design.

So in 2022, I launched a two-year collaboration with longtime partner REI, bringing dozens of well designed, colorful, and technically elevated products to fulfill a vision of more connected and joyous experiences in the outdoors for everybody!

As we complete our final season of that collab, I’m so excited about what’s next for Outdoor Afro, Inc. as we build on our value of relationships, community, and connectedness in outdoor experiences for everybody. So be on the lookout in the coming summer months for some exciting announcements with more products, experiences, and solutions to continue the journey of lowering barriers and bringing joy to the outdoors for all!




As some of y’all know, I have grown passionate about horse riding over the last year, and reconnecting with my own family’s equestrian roots. Unfortunately, due to an accident with a horse about six years ago, I had sworn off ever riding a horse again. But all of that changed when I had the chance to meet Cash, a beautiful quarter horse, and I decided to overcome my anxieties, and get back in the saddle!

Over the past several months, I have had a chance to rebuild my equestrian confidence while having some fabulous times and learning moments with Cash. Recently, I visited Cash and my instructors at his horse camp near the California coast, where we rode along trails, and across bridges and streams. What outdoor activities are on your bucket list? 

Summertime is also prime time for grilling season and The Cookout!  I have been brushing up on my treat baking skills to share so I don’t show up empty-handed, as my mama taught me better than that. A friend-group and IG favorite that is a super quick and easy treat to make are coconut cashew, chocolate cookies that are so delicious and guaranteed to keep you on the invite list for the next cookout! Click here for the recipe.


One of the big myths that I grew up with was that melanated skin did not need sunscreen –  and that could not be further from the truth! In addition to protecting yourself from damage, proper suncare products can also help keep your skin looking vibrant and healthy for many years with consistent use, especially if you enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle like I do!

My favorite brand right now is Bolden Brightening Moisturizer with SPF 30. It’s my favorite grab, dab, and go that feels light, gets along well and smoothly with my other skincare products, and importantly does not discolor or mask my skin tone for the sake of protecting it! 


My hiking essentials are many, but what shoots to the top for me is the colorful and classic Outdoor Afro, Inc. x REI Flash 22 Pack! Its got layers of storage for my water bladder, snacks, packable clothing, and more! It was also recently featured in Good Morning America's top picks for Father's Day gifts for any active dad—check out the article here!



Hope you enjoyed this month's Founder Favorites with Rue, our Founder, but now we want to hear from you! What else do you want to hear from her? Let us know on social media: @outdoorafroinc.

Make sure to sign up for our email newsletter so you never miss an update from Outdoor Afro, Inc. or our Ambassadors who are crisscrossing the world and putting our gear through its paces. Do you think you’d make a good addition to our crew of ambassadors? Check out the team and apply here.

Want to learn more about our REI x Outdoor Afro Inc. collection? Check out the collection here.