In a few short days – Monday, June 3rd – CleverHiker.com will launch the Lightweight & Ultralight Backpacking Foundations video series and Gear Recommendations eBook. After all the hard work and support that has gone into this project, it seems only appropriate that I should take a few moments to reflect on how meaningful this launch will be.
To put it plainly, I love backpacking. And I have since I was a little kid. I love the freedom of backpacking. I love the serenity, the beauty, and the calm of backpacking. I love the tough physical challenge and the strong feeling of accomplishment. I love spending quality time with my closest friends and getting away from modern life distractions. I love being in touch with nature, being in sync with my thoughts, and earning my views along the way.
Four years ago my backpacking world changed forever. I became aware of thru-hiking and started researching long-distance ultralight backpacking. My closest friend and I decided to thru-hike the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail and we set out to learn how. I was immediately astonished with all the tools, strategies, and techniques that I knew absolutely nothing about.
At that point in time I considered myself to be an expert backpacker. I was an Eagle Scout that had backpacked all over the world and I organized extended treks nearly every summer. I thought I had all the right gear and all the right skills to accomplish a thru-hike. The problem was, I had absolutely no idea how I was going to cover 20 miles a day. When I started learning about thru-hiking, it became immediately clear to me that I would have to make some big adjustments.
I gradually pieced all of the information I needed together by reaching out to friends, buying instructional books, and testing every piece of gear I could get my hands on. I learned from mistakes, I learned through trial and error, and I eventually learned by getting out there and doing it. It was a bumpy road and I made some costly mistakes along the way, but in the end, I learned a new approach that helped me to enjoy backpacking so much more.
When people hear the phrase “ultralight backpacking,” they immediately associate it with spending months in the woods and walking 20 miles a day, but that’s not really what it’s all about. Carrying a lighter bag allows me to stop focusing on my next rest break and simply enjoy the walk. It doesn’t matter if I’m hiking for 3 miles or for 30 miles, carrying a lighter pack just feels better.
More than anything, lightweight backpacking has helped me to enjoy short weekend trips with friends much more. Now that most of my backpacking gear is light, it doesn’t bother me to bring a few heavy luxury items. Even if I bring a thick book, some fun games, a French press coffee maker, and a hammock, I’m still carrying a pack than weighs around twenty pounds lighter than it ever did before I discovered ultralight backpacking.
When I initially started learning about lightweight backpacking, I wanted a resource that would help make the whole process easier for me. I wanted a resource that could introduce me to common lightweight gear options and tell me their pros and cons. I also wanted a resource that would give me specific recommendations on the most popular ultralight gear choices for backpacks, shelters, stoves, sleeping bags, etc. That’s why I started CleverHiker.com and that’s why I produced our first video series and eBook on lightweight backpacking.
With CleverHiker.com, I want to build video resources that will be engaging, entertaining, inspiring, and informational. I want to create resources that will make learning about backpacking easy and accessible. The sole focus of CleverHiker.com will be to help outdoor enthusiasts get more enjoyment from their wilderness adventures. That will always be our main objective with everything we do.
I have no doubt that this journey will have tough challenges, but I know that I’m up to the test. It’s going to be hard to spread the word about CleverHiker and it’s going to be tough to navigate the digital landscape, but I know that my heart is in the right place. I believe that I can make a difference in people’s lives and I am determined to do my absolute best.
I’d like to extend my most sincere gratitude for taking the time to learn more about our goals and I hope that you can support our mission. Monday, June 3rd will be a huge day in the life of CleverHiker.com and for me personally. There’s no way I could have made it this far without the love and support of my friends, family, and the backpacking community.
Now comes the fun part! I'm so excited for our big launch on Monday and I look forward to hearing your feedback. I can't wait to see where this journey will lead and I know it will be well worth the hard work. Thanks so much and I'll see you out on the trail!
Founder & CEO