My first really serious backpack trip was at the ripe age of 14 when I went to the BSA Philmont Scout Ranch. I carried gear I could obtained from friends & relatives but it contained a number of ex-military gear. I carried 49 pounds leaving base camp. Move twenty years later when my own 2 boys were entering the Boy Scouts & I became an Assistant Scoutmaster. Then came my search for really good gear instead of ex-military. I was so proud of the pack I spent $300 on and it weighed ~ 9 pounds “EMPTY”. It really carried 50 pounds really well. After my first Sierra trip with our troop I carried 50 pounds and I was the “light” adult. After that hike I got serious in finding a better way of backpacking without all the weight. Two things had a big impact on me & my search for lighter pack. The first has been mentioned by others was Ray Jardine’s book. It really opened up a lot of possibilities for me. The second was a phone call I made to Read Miller asking about his article on hiking the John Muir trail with Boy Scouts. When I called him he also put on his friend that was over at his house. The friend was Glen Van Peski. We had a very good discussion about hiking with lightweight gear then Glenn told me he was coming out with some packs that he was having made that were similiar to his G4 pack pattern that he had published. I quickly ordered one of Glen’s G4 packs. Going from a 9 pound pack to a 1 pound pack was an eye opener. Next were tarps, down bags, esbit stoves, etc. Then I needed a smaller pack because the G4 was to big. So the G5 was next then the G6 as everything got smaller & lighter and my skill developed such I did not need a number of items I used to bring on trips.
During all this time I was going on hikes with my two boys and the other scouts throughout the local mountains and the Sierra’s. My gear was very different from other leaders & scouts. Usually they would laugh at my gear then I noticed within 6-12 months they started to use the gear that they were previously laughing at. I was fortunate to go thru Woodbadge and I had some tickets that eventually lead to the articles I published on backpackinglight.com. I then decided to take a Wilderness Trekking Course I Dessert Southwest course from Backpackinglight.com. This was the first time I was out with other lightweight backpackers. I learned so much but also confirmed what I have been doing was going the right way. The challenge I had from this course was going as light as possible to Philmont Scout ranch which saw my pack under 15 pounds with food & water or under 7.5 pounds with just my gear. 2010 saw me teaching a course in Montana with Ryan Jordan and crew in Montana for scout leaders.
Home: Camarillo, CA
Outdoor Organization Involvement: Assistant Scoutmaster at Boy Scouts of America | Group Organizer at Pacific Crest Trail Hiking & Backpacking Meet-Up
Favorite Training Grounds: My favorite places to train are the Santa Monica Mountains & Mt. Pinos area here in Ventura County, California. My favorite places to hike have been the Pacific Crest Trail, Sierra Mountains, Lake Tahoe area, Grand Canyon, and of course Philmont Scout Camp.
Current Plans: Teaching efficient lightweight hiking skills through publications and courses. Getting out into the woods with Scouts and other friends. Working on designing lightweight packs for young/small Scouts as well as gear kits for them. I am currently section hiking the Pacific Crest Trail with ~ 800 miles completed. This year will do another trek at Philmont Scout Ranch and spend a week or so on the John Muir Trail with friends. Also got to canoe down the Colorado River for 5 days with the Boy Scouts. Next year plans are starting to get firmed up but look like another spring trek in the Grand Canyon with Todd, a part of the John Muir Trail with Scouts and then with my friends, and complete a multi-week PCT section from Tuolumne Meadows north bound. 2013 I completed the 72hrs Wilderness First Responder First Aid course.