Damien Tougas

Damien spent most of his teen years growing-up in the foothills of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. During that time he cultivated a love (perhaps addiction is a better word?) for the mountains due to the speed and adrenaline they deliver via skis and snowboards. Through university he dabbled in running, mountain biking, rock climbing, kayaking, and telemark skiing. It wasn’t until his married adult years that he discovered the joys of hiking and backpacking.

There was a period of time where, due to physical problems with knees, feet, and lower back, he had to stop most of the foot-powered activities. It was through the process of looking for solutions that he discovered the benefits of barefoot/minimalist shoes (long before the current fad took hold). Thanks to new approaches to footwear he is back to doing the old activities he loved (pain-free) – and has become a genuine shoe geek.

These days, 99.9% of all trips involve his wife and three kids. The discovery of lightweight backpacking was borne out of necessity. It was either do it lighter, or be crushed under the load of family gear. Now that the kids are able to carry more of their own, everyone is fully able to appreciate the benefits of a lightweight approach.

Home: Quebec, Canada

Age: 41

Website: www.toesalad.com

Favorite Training Grounds: The Chic-Choc mountains of Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula.