The time is here! We’re excited to officially announce the winners of our 2021 Adventure Sponsorship.
Throughout the last three weeks, we’ve seen close to 200 applications come in from every corner of the globe. It was difficult to land on just nine winners, but we are more excited and inspired than ever before.
The "Adventure Class of 2021" will represent a wide range of sports, disciplines, backgrounds, vocations, and locations. Over the next several months, we'll be sharing each of their stories as they design and make their own gear, then put it to use in their trips.
What pieces of gear will they make?
Will it hold up during their adventure or fail miserably?
Who will wear the crown for most epic adventure?
I guess we'll find out :).
But without further ado, it's time to meet the makers! Below you'll find a brief bio on each of these individuals/couples so you can get to know them a little better.
Bio: We are a Colorado couple that gets after it on the slopes, rock, and trail! We love adventuring with our favorite four-legged friend, Peanut, and follow where our feet, and paws, take us.
Adventure: Aidan will be doing a one month bike-packing trip to ski volcanoes in the Northwest. After that we will be planning a thru-hike of The Colorado Trail with our dog. We will also be making trips up our favorite mountain in Colorado, Longs Peak, via the Diamond.
COVID: We love the communities we adventure in and want to help protect them as best we can. This includes always wearing face masks when around people and in public places like grocery stores, social distancing at all possible times, and minimizing the need to go into towns by taking extra days of food at one time and shipping packages ahead.
MYOG: We want to make a fanny pack for easy access while riding or hiking with the pup. A sleep system for Peanut. We are deciding between creating a convertible sleeping bag insert so that he can either cuddle up with one of us or have is own little nest. A frame bag for Aidan's bike so he can store more things on his trip! And a tent! Maybe...this would be really cool but we might be biting off more than we can chew with this one.
Bio: I am Lea, a hiker from Germany, currently living in Switzerland and trying to research the Glaciers of the Swiss Alps. I did a bunch of hikes and thru-hikes in a few different places around the world during the last few years. On some popular trails like the Pacific Crest Trail, lesser known ones like the Greater Patagonian Trail and some trailless/self designed routes I hiked over 10.000 km on long distance trails and have always considered myself to be a bit of a gear geek. I love cheese and wine, hiking in sandals (when possible), carrying my stuffed animal elephant Eddie on all my hikes and just enjoying life. After my backpack got stolen while hiking in Patagonia last year, instead of just simply replacing the gear (leaving out the fact that that would have been a big financial investment), I started thinking about how I could start to make a few of my own gear items. I had some very basic sewing skills, thanks to the COVID lockdown a lot of time and decided to just embark on the adventure of making my own ultralight backpacking gear! I was always very picky about gear, knew exactly what I wanted and was annoyed that no commercially made gear really fits those needs (i.e. gear made that i.e. fits the female body and isn't pink). So, that paired with the fact that generally ultralight backpacking gear is a bit hard to get in Europe, this turned out the best decision. I learned a lot in my first few projects (but still have a long way to go) and feel like the more gear I make, the more ideas on new projects I have.
Adventure: I have the hope to be able to traverse the Swiss Alps from East to West on a self-designed route/high route in the summer/end of summer. Since I live in Switzerland and don't have time for an extremely long thru-hike this year, this is probably the most realistic scenario of what I can achieve. And since the Swiss Alps are incredibly beautiful, dramatic and wild, I think it is the perfect year to go and explore my home country a bit better.
COVID: Since I will not leave my home country for this adventure, I am able to access start and end point in my private vehicle, avoiding any public transport. Since Switzerland is densely populated, I won't have to hitchhike to any resupply points and just visit local grocery stores in the villages I pass through every few days. Since there is no established route, I expect to be mostly alone and not meet any other thru-hikers, which should leave me sufficiently isolated.
MYOG: I will definitely take my turn on trying to design and make the backpack of my dreams (and since I love fanny packs there will hopefully also be a fanny pack). Furthermore, I need to upgrade my heavy stuff sacks to nice Dyneema bags and make a Climashield APEX puffy jacket. If there is any time and money left, I would try to make a shelter as well but I can't really decide on the design yet - probably something between a tarp and an ultralight single-walled enclosed shelter...but that is very ambitious so I am not sure how realistic that is.
Bio: I'm 26 years old and live in San Luis Obispo, California. I've been riding and racing bikes of various disciplines most of my life, but mountain biking is what I enjoy the most. Just like most of us, I too love being outdoors, and I love the freedom that a bike provides and the satisfaction of doing it under your own power. When I'm not riding, I've pretty much alway making and tinkering. By day, I'm a prototype machinist for a bicycle component company, and then I also have a workshop where I get to work on all my other projects: welding, woodworking, cars and motorcycles - and most recently sewing! I got into sewing a few years ago and couldn't have been more stoked about the things I can now make and fix. It's an amazingly practical skill and it's certainly something that I'm going to keep pursuing.
Adventure: I have a modified/extended version of the Tour De Los Padres planned - A bikepacking trip starting and ending in San Luis Obispo and roughly 340 miles round trip. If there are any curveballs, there are some re-routes we can do on the trip.
COVID: Our route starts and finishes in the town we live in. We will be pedaling from our doorstep, so no extra traveling would be necessary. I didn't want to venture too far from home with the uncertainties that COVID has brought. I have just a few other friends I'd be doing this with (that also live in town) and would make sure to get tested before we depart, just as an extra precaution. The route barely goes through any towns and the amount of people we'd likely see is quite small.
MYOG: The main item I'm looking to make is a large bikepacking seat bag. The ones I've used hold the gear securely but sway a bit more than I'd like when you stand up to pedal. I've had an idea to fabricate a small frame that would offer a more secure mounting point and hopefully eliminate this issue. There's a handful of other small bikepacking gear items I'd like to make as well, time permitting.
Bio: Bryce Gordon is a Bozeman, Montana based adventurer with a passion for large outings powered by bikes and skis. He grew up exploring in the San Juan Mountains around Durango, Colorado before attending college at Montana State University. Bryce has always known the basics of sewing but began delving more into the practice three years ago when he decided to make his own bikepacking bags for his Colorado Trail trip. Bryce enjoys sewing outdoor gear as well as repairing things for himself and friends and seeks to reuse and repurpose materials whenever possible. Bryce loves the MYOG approach and the way it changes people's relationships with their gear and their activity.
Adventure: In 2021 I will be embarking on a human powered ski traverse of the Wind River Range over the course of 10-14 days. Back up: A bike packing loop connecting most of the slot canyons in the Robbers Roost and Dirty Devil Wilderness areas of South Central Utah.
COVID: The Wind River Range is a one day drive from my current residence in Bozeman, Montana. My partner and I (who are currently in the same bubble) will wear masks in all gas stations and stores that we must enter on the way to the start of the route in Lander. Once on the trip we expect to have very little human interaction but will practice social distance if we do encounter other back country travelers.
MYOG: I will be making a lightweight trekking/climbing pack with ski and ice tool attachments, mesh pockets and detachable brain pocket. I will also be constructing a single pole style pyramid tent for use as a kitchen and gear shelter during this trip and as a sleeping shelter during non winter trips. Lastly, I would like to construct a sled cover or sled/drybag combo that would be more streamlined and durable than the typical ski touring sled. This piece would essentially be a modified dry bag with a semi-rigid side to act as the main sliding surface. This design would be waterproof, self-righting and easy to haul or lower on steep terrain.
Location: Relocating from Colorado to New Zealand
Bio: MYOG was the perfect convergence of three personal desires: the love of the outdoors, the curiosity to create, and the wish for more customization. Creating your own gear allows ultimate creativity with features, colors, and sizing, all while learning something new and having fun along the way (not to mention all the street cred)!
Adventure: Our primary adventure is planned to be packrafting with our DIY packrafts all throughout New Zealand. Along with that, we plan to do some hut-to-hut fastpacking trips with our MYOG fastpacks through the wonderful hut systems of the New Zealand backcountry!
COVID: Step one: move to New Zealand! Jokes aside, I think COVID is an excellent time to try to find the destinations less traveled. This last summer, instead of working to knock of a few more CO 14ers, I decided to do some 13er ridge traverses where there were no other people, but abundant views!
MYOG: Finishing up the fastpack V2 (self-drafted) is first on the list, followed closely by experimenting with bonded DCF rain mitts and possibly rain kilts.
Bio: I’m Sara and I love to be outside! Hiking, snowboarding, canicross, cross country skiing, and astrophotography are all fair game. I can usually be found on the trail with at least one of my two dogs, Perrin and Sei. When I am not on a trail, I enjoy sewing, knitting, spinning, dog sports, and gardening. I love being able apply my sewing skills to make backpacking gear that is both beautiful and functional (and actually fits!).
Adventure: Top Trip Pick - I am excited to hike the entire Superior Coastal Trail in Lake Superior Provincial Park solo. I did a section hike last summer, and am looking forward to hike the whole trail. Additional/Back Up - So far, my backcountry adventures have all been hiking and my paddle sports limited to whitewater kayaking. This year I am looking forward to expanding my backcountry options and planning my first canoe trip: a 4 day loop in Algonquin Provincial Park.
COVID: Following all public health guidelines, changing trip plans or cancelling outright if recommendations change, selected adventure destinations are within a days drive, selected trips are self contained (no resupply/town stops required), mask wearing and hand washing, trips are solo or only with people from my household.
MYOG: My big MYOG project for this year will be a new down quilt designed around my measurements. I hope to coordinate the print on the outer shell of the quilt to match my night sky themed MYOG projects. I plan to minimize the fabric waste from this project by making a color-blocked windbreaker from the scraps.
Bio: I got into hiking later than most, and falling in love with it has taken me to where I am today. I went from working as a bank manager to working at REI for a few years to learn more about the world outdoors. It was there that I discovered thru hiking, and one day while watching John Z’s CDT series, I decided out loud, that I was going to not only thru hike, but also triple crown. In 2018 I hiked both the Appalachian Trail and the Long Trail. In 2019 I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail (I have a series on YouTube unfolding currently for that hike) and repeated the Long Trail in Fall of 2020. I had plans of CDT to GDT for both 2020 and 2021, but with COVID still impacting our communities, I have to put it off. But that route, CDT to GDT, just calls to my soul. In the meantime, 2021 is going to be spent exploring mostly Brett Tucker routes, as I am in Arizona and these routes are local to me. Since 2018 I’ve been getting more and more into photography and videography, and just creating in general, with myog and hopefully music here in the future! Other hobbies include skateboarding, climbing, video games, disc golf, and existential conversations.
Adventure: Top pick would be CDT to GDT. Backups are a year of routes like L2H, SKIT, GET, HDT, MRT, NNML, etc.
COVID: With me staying close to home I won't have to rely on towns the way I normally would on a thru hike. My girlfriend and friends are all aware of my plans and will be aiding me in resupply close to home. If I need a gear swap, they can bring it to me out on trail. HDT would most likely be in the fall, and I'll be caching my food and water ahead of time to avoid town encounters. I don't use TP so the shortage doesn't worry me ;)
MYOG: I would like to recreate my first pack, with an updated design, and primarily featuring the new Venom UHMWPE ❤️. This pack will need to be able to handle the ruggedness of off trail travel.
Location: Manitoba, Canada
Bio: Hi, I’m Mikaela! I’m an adventurer currently based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada (and yes, that does mean that it is currently -37°C out as I write this). During the day, I shoot photos for the local paper. On evenings and weekends, I hike, climb, kayak, bike, and ski! I also love to travel. This last year has turned out to be a bit of a gem, and I’ve had a blast exploring lots of neat local spots and a few neighboring provinces. I’m currently working on lightening up my hiking setup by sewing a bunch of new gear so that I can fit more chocolate into my pack!
Adventure: I'm planning on doing a three-week SOBO section hike of the Great Divide Trail here in Canada, starting in Jasper. My backup (if inter-provincial travel is not possible) is to yo-yo the Mantario trail!
COVID: This adventure is relatively close to home, and the actual hiking part should be pretty low-risk (it is quite a wild route, and definitely not crowded with hikers). Town stops/resupplies would be the riskiest part, and I plan to limit interactions by only making essential stops - on the trail, that would mean limiting town activities to only picking up a resupply box, and nothing else. I would also be wearing a mask, physically distancing, and practicing hand hygiene while doing so. The Canadian government is hoping to have the general population vaccinated by the fall (when I plan to do my trip), but even if that isn’t the case, the most vulnerable folks will definitely be protected by then.
MYOG: I’m planning on making a lightweight anorak/wind shirt out of the AIRWAVE nylon, and hoping to also sew two down 0.66 MEMBRANE, approximately -5°C top quilts (or one top quilt and one false-bottomed sleeping bag).
Perhaps you're wondering why, in a crazy year like 2021 - we're choosing to do this.
That's a great question! Actually, we've spent a lot of time pondering that one ourselves. In the end, we chose to organize the adventure sponsorship because we want to promote MYOG and safe adventuring.
Throughout this campaign, you will see real people go through the making process first hand. From choosing fabric, to designing, redesigning, constructing, and finally using their gear in the real world.
So get pumped! This is gonna be great.
We'll be posting regular updates on Instagram, so be sure to follow all the action there!
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