Reader Interview & Giveaway

    Reached over 1 million page views recently!  Doing this with a global reader base; is a big personal milestone.  To celebrate I wanted to interview one of my readers and try to catch a glimpse on what  goes on in 'your' life; on the other side of the computer screen.

  It's a pleasure to introduce one of my readers by the name of Jeff.  I do not know him on a personal level, but peek into his world via social media frequently.  He likes to get outdoors with his wife and kids.  They both wear Vibram Fivefingers religiously and look forward to meeting them someday.

How long have you been wearing minimal footwear and what are the benefits have you experienced?

  I started wearing minimal footwear in April of 2012. Starting in 2007 wearing Lowa Banff all leather backpack boots.  On the scale in a size 13 they weighed nearly 3 pounds for the pair.  Very heavy.   Never noticing the weight until a few years later I hiked in a lighter pair of hiking shoes and found I was less tired and more happy.

  Then in April 2012 I purchased a pair of Vibram Komodosport LS shoes with no plans of actually backpacking with them.   On the first hike with a 3 pound daypack and the VFF’s I was hooked and never looked back.

  There is a BIG difference in the whole wilderness EXPERIENCE going minimalist.   All for the better in my opinion.   The VFF’s weigh less than a pound for the pair and and the sole is just 4mm thick.   Having so much less material surrounding the foot means less protection from sharp roots, rocks and really forces you to watch where you go and to slow down. 

  This style of walking becomes natural after time.  You walk so much quieter with a softer landing.  Sometimes too quiet( wild animals).   So the main benefits for me are: energy levels, wilderness experience, much longer distance hiking before fatigue.

Vibram fivefinger in snow
Jeff stepping through snow in Vibram Komodo

What does being an Minimalist/Ultralight Backpacker mean to you personally? 

  Being a Minimalist backpacker means using only the minimum tools or gear required to accomplish the goal. An Ultralight backpacker means not to carry more than a 12 pound base weight pack and instead of heavy boots, wears lightweight shoes.
  I also consider Primitive backpacker a style and that is someone who uses natural materials from his surroundings and learned bushcraft skills. 

  The traditional backpacker is heavy boots and all the burliest heavy duty gear they can carry. 

  I’ve hiked with 80 pounds while in the military and even 60 pounds on my very first wilderness backpack trip in 2008. Now I carry a winter back with a base weight around 15 pounds and my summer packs are about 10 pounds.

You're going to spend 3 days out, with the lows of 30 degrees and a chance of rain. What are you bringing? 

  Backpack, Tarp, Stakes, Cordage to guy out tarp, Ground cloth, Sleeping Pad, Sleeping bag, dry bag for sleeping bag, Ditty bag, first aid, headlamp, camera, wallet, 1 pair socks, 1 pair VFF’s, one set long johns, pair of quick dry nylon underwear, quick dry nylon pants, fleece pants, fleece long sleeve shirt, Event fabric rain shell, fleece beanie, merino wool gloves, canister stove, fuel can, titanium pot, small pack cloth, bear cannister with all food inside, toilet paper in ziplock bag, small knife, watch, topo map, trekking poles to pitch tarp and use one for hiking stick, lighter and maybe a random small item or two.

Trail Plans for 2013?

  This is our “Explore WA” year.  We intend on visiting 3 National Parks, a few other wilderness areas as well and lots of smaller trips around our home city of Enumclaw. 
  Starting off the year with a multiday winter backpack trip to the Pacific Coast in Olympic National Park.  We also have a spring multi day trip into the interior of the Olympic mountains.

  Summer multi day trips into the heart of the rugged North Cascades (these are the most epic trips ever planned). 
  We also intend on doing a few 2AM start day hikes into Mount Rainier National Park, getting somewhere awesome to watch and photograph the sunrise.   In the plans is a climb of Rainier up to 10,000 feet (in minimalist shoes if conditions and safety allow).

Favorite one piece of gear and why?

  My favorite piece of gear would be my Gossamer Gear Minimalist Pack.   It is the first piece of gear I grab for all my explorations.   The minimal design is the right tool for the job.

Gossamer Gear Minimalist
Jeff and his Gossamer Gear Minimalist. 

Gossamer Gear Minimalist Ultralight Pack Giveaway

   Pleased to announce that GG has donated one Minimalist pack to giveaway on this site.  I will be putting up a full review of this  pack before spring.  Personally had a chance to test drive it Urban Hiking, Day Hiking, Trail Running, Cycling and Snow sports.  What a great multi-use pack!

Barefoot Jake at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico in Nov. 2012. - testing the GG Minimalist. 

Giving away one free  GG Minimalist - make sure to check out specs on the main site. 

Rules to Enter

  1. 'Like' Gossamer Gear on Facebook
  2. Post a happy face shot of yourself on Barefoot Jake's FB Wall. Tell me a little about your outdoor life in the picture caption.  
  3. Post link to your FB picture in the comments below.  
  4. Deadline March 31st at 5pm PST - Announcement April 2nd on Facebook

Special Thanks:  Jeff for taking the time for this interview and Gossamer Gear for the pack donation!