Ken “DripDry” Holder returned to backpacking from a long break about ten years ago when his oldest son joined a Scout Troop. On his first trip he carried nearly 50 pounds and almost gave it up for good but knew there had to be a better way. After reading everything he could find on lightening his load and drastically cutting his pack weight, he fell back in love with backpacking.
Eventually he ended up in a Scoutmaster position for their large troop and it became a passion to introduce backpacking to as many scouts as he could. Another leader and himself started taking scouts on backpacking trips several times a year- starting with weekends and moving on to week-long Spring Break trips. Their experiences convinced them to challenge a longer trip as an example to the Scouts, so they completed a 2 1/2 month Appalachian Trial hike in 2010.
The experience of a long trail hike has made Ken even more passionate about backpacking and introducing others to the joy of being self-sufficient in the backcountry. The trail teaches self-confidence and simplicity and immerses scouts in nature in a way that nothing else can.
Ken believes the key to giving scouts and other youth the backpacking bug is to make sure they enjoy their first trips, and the secret to that is lightening their load. DripDry’s goal is to introduce scouts to LW backpacking so they will develop a lifelong passion for the trail.
Oh- and the trail name? Other scout leaders started accusing Ken of bringing rain on every trip and “DripDry” just stuck!
Home: Midlothian, VA
Outdoor Organization Involvement: ASM and ‘Retired’ Scoutmaster at Boyscouts of America | Grounds Searcher and Signcutter at Piedmont Search and Rescue
Favorite Training Grounds: With more than 500 miles of the AT in Virginia most of my trips end up on some section of the trail (it is hard to get bored on the AT in Virginia!). I love the area around Mt. Pleasant (Cold Mountain) which is very close to where I live, as well as hikes to McAfee Knob/Tinkers Cliffs and the highlands of Mt. Rogers.
Current Plans: In addition to several planned trips with Scout groups, I hope to complete my one remaining 100 mile section in the first half of the Appalachian Trail (GA-PA). I have spent much of the last 6 months teaching Search and Rescue to Scout troops and helping several Summer Camps prepare to teach the SAR MB that was released this year. Plans for this year are to work with several Troops on moving to Lightweight Backpacking and to finish my certification as a Search Team Leader in SAR in VA.