You may see their products in our pages, but how much do you know about the small companies that make up a critical component of the outdoor gear industry? Here's a behind-the-scenes look at Austin, Texas-based Gossamer Gear.
Who: Glen Van Peski, Gossamer Gear founder
Favorite Hike: Buckskin Gulch, Utah
Inspiration: "When my oldest son Brian got into Boy Scouts [in the mid-90s], we went down to REI and they loaded us up with 7-pound backpacks, a big canister stove, and all the stuff they said we needed for a week in the Sierra. It just got me thinking, and since I know how to sew I started making my own [ultralight] gear. My buddy Read Miller, who was the scout master of the troop, had read Ray Jardine's Pacific Crest Trail Hiker's Handbook, and so he started telling me about those ideas.”
Growth: "I wrote up my plans for my fourth pack, the G4, and put them on the internet so people to make their own. And then people contacted me and said, 'I don't know how to sew, could you make one for me?' After a couple inquiries I thought I should try and figure out how to get some made."
A-Ha Moment: "With 50 packs [in the initial batch] I figured I'd have them in the garage for the next five years...[but] those we re sold before I even got them, and we were off."
What It's All About: "We want to spread the philosophy of minimalism, of not taking more than you need. Our gear is designed to be enough, but not too much ... Our goal is to remove barriers for getting people outside. If someone goes out and they’re carrying 60 pounds of gear they don’t have a good time, and they don’t do it again. So we’re trying to remove barriers by making lighter gear, and teaching them to get by with less. And the more people that are in the outdoors, the more people will advocate for preserving the outdoors. So it helps all of us.”