This Page is to acknowledge those people who have influenced me and shaped my attitudes about hiking (and life), helped me, or who I simply admire and wish to share with you. They are in no particular order. If you have a suggested link to add to this page, email me and I will consider it.
Joe Valesko is a wizard with a sewing machine (and a really nice guy). He’s also an accomplished long distance hiker who has walked the Pacific Crest, Continental Divide and Appalachian Trail. His company makes packs and tents from cuben fiber. The backpacks are constructed with carbon fiber rod frames/supports. My current backpack is an older version of the “Blast” that weighs barely 9 ounces. Truly remarkable, durable gear and well worth the price.
Trailspace is a hiker’s resource web site that presents gear reviews, manufacturer’s profiles, and tips and tricks for increasing your enjoyment of the outdoors. I’ve especially enjoyed reading the reviews of other cottage industry manufacturers.
Started by some members of the Yahoo Group “Backpacking Light”, BGT provides comprehensive reviews of hiking gear submitted by manufacturers for testing. The site accepts no advertising and is not influenced by the corporations that submit the gear. It’s the “Consumer Reports” of the hiking world. In my mind, that’s the highest compliment I can give a review site.
Trail Designs makes a unique alcohol stove system that resembles the “Jetboil Stove” in the sense that it attempts to extract all available energy from the fuel. Several sizes available to suit individual cook pot systems. They also make windscreens.
Gossamer Gear makes ultralight packs designed for hikers who are serious about getting and keeping their carrying weights below 25 pounds. My Mariposa model weighs in at a mere 14 ounces, and it’s very comfortable. Glen Van Peski is an engineer who never intended to start a business. He made his own pack to solve personal gear carrying problems and afterwards made packs for friends that noticed his handiwork. The demand soon spread outside his circle of acquaintances and the rest is history. Glen’s primary concern is enjoyment of hiking rather than profit, so he sells his products at a low cost to make them affordable. As a person who’s made several packs myself, I appreciate all the thought and craftsmanship that goes into Gossamer Gear designs. Gossamer Gear packs are worth serious consideration by all backpackers.
This is Ernest Engman’s hiking site (aka Sgt. Rock). Chock full of great advice, excellent reviews and tips, and a good peek into an example of our military’s finest. Ernest is a dedicated career-army soldier, husband and father. He also happens to be a gear junkie, but don’t hold that against him. It makes his site a must-see. Ernest has also provided essential information that helped me in the development of my Micro model stove, and he also encouraged me to keep developing my designs. Discussions with him via email contributed directly to the process of my developing the Turbo models as well. Ernest is currently stationed in Iraq and putting his life at risk for the sake of protecting innocent Iraqi people. I wish him well and hope that he returns to his loving wife and family in as healthy and whole a state as when he left last spring.
Henry Shires makes ultralight silnylon shelters that are a hybrid of tarp and tent features, hence the name. I own one of the “Squall” tarptents and had a silnylon floor sewn in as an option. The design is simple, sleek and very user-friendly. Unlike other tarp configurations I’ve used, the tarptent design deals very well with wind provided it’s pitched correctly. At this point, I wouldn’t use anything else. It’s definitely worth a look.
Ultralight Adventure Equipment (ULA) is a small company located in Logan Utah. Owned and operated by Brian Frankle, ULA produces high quality lightweight packs, tents and tarps. Much of the gear has been reviewed by Backpackgeartest.org (see above link) and has consistently received high marks for craftsmanship and design. Recipient of a Backpacker Magazine editor’s choice award.