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May 2011

Trail Teachers: On Tour with BACKPACKER’s Get Out More Team

BACKPACKER's camping experts are coming soon to an outdoor shop near you. Learn what you can expect from this dynamic couple and their Get Out More clinics.
Sheri and Randy Propster relax in camp

JD: Who should come to your talks? Is this for beginners, for experts, for gear junkies?
Propsters: All of the above. Beginners will be given an invaluable foundation on which to plan their adventures, experts will leave with new tips and techniques to add to their backpack full of tricks, and the Get Out More Tour is a gear junkie’s ultimate fix. Attendees will not only see and hear about the latest and greatest gear, but the experience is completely hands-on. We encourage everyone to tinker with and test out any and all of the gear we highlight on Tour. Oh, did we mention that each Tour Event includes a gear giveaway? Chances are attendees will walk away with some of the latest and greatest gear just for showing up!

JD: What are the major areas you cover in your presentation?
Propsters: We know we can’t possibly tell the whole backpacking story. The whole story consists of too many sights, sounds, smells and feelings to possible convey in words and images alone.  The whole story needs to be experienced, but if we tell as much of our story as possible we will hopefully inspire and motivate our attendees to search out the experience. Our story consists of:  what’s in our backpack, why it’s in our backpack, when we need to use what’s in our backpack, how we use what’s in our backpack, other options we could put in our backpack, tips to plan a backpacking adventure, tips to enhance explorations on a backpacking adventure, tips to share a backpacking adventure.

JD: How many miles and stores have you covered in all these years of doing GOM?
Propsters: We have visited 221 retail stores over the past four years, and we have driven just over 131,000 miles.

JD: How many will you drive and hit this year?
Propsters: 70 total stops and 35,000-plus miles

JD: How many people have you had in your audiences over the years?
Propsters: 11,269

JD: Do you have a favorite “success” story from your time as ambassadors?
Propsters: One of the most rewarding aspects of our role as Ambassadors for the Get Out More Tour is receiving feedback from attendees who have achieved success in the outdoors as a result of attending a Get Out More Event. One example that stands out occurred at Trail Days in Damascus, VA in 2010. While conversing with a clean-cut, middle-aged couple who had attended a Get Out More Tour Event in Chattanooga, TN and listening with delight as they explained that they had decided to attend Trail Days so they could come say hello to us and let us know just how much they had loved their first overnight backpacking trip together, how much they enjoyed the new equipment they had purchased as a result of seeing us highlight the gear during our presentation, and how much Rock Creek Outfitters should be grateful to us because they had spent a pretty penny in the store while gearing up, a young man with a scruffy three-month growth beard walked by, stopped, turned around and exclaimed, “Randy and Sheri!” The young man, now full of excitement, first asked if we remembered him, then went on to explain to the entire group that he had attended a Get Out More Event in Kittery, ME, two years ago. He described how our passion and advice had been a piece of the puzzle that led him to quit his high-stress job as a day trader, outfit himself with the essentials we spoke of, and set out on the journey of his lifetime to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. After he completed his exhilarating story, the couple looked over at us and said, “Wow, how many people’s lives do you think you have impacted?”  To which we humbly responded, “a few.”

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