Our philosophy

Origins of a light ethos

Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, it was hard not to get hooked on backpacking from an early age. Overnight hikes eventually led to explorations of steeper, more remote terrain. I made my first forays into what could be called alpinism in my teenage years, but were really just scrambling on easy rock and snow routes. Later, in university, one of the biggest perks of membership in the climbing club was access to an inventory of gear. This included single wall tents, packs, ice axes, bivvies—in short, everything a destitute climber needed to venture into the high mountains.

Experience on Washington's many glaciated peaks eventually led to a spot with a group heading to Denali. I put my studies on hold and focused on training full-time. During a shakedown climb of Mount Rainier, I was paired with a seasoned alpinist who'd recently returned from Makalu (8,481m). I marveled at his minuscule pack that weighed a small fraction of my 50 liter behemoth. He explained his personal approach to gear for the mountains honed, I later learned, from many fast ascents in the Himalaya. 

For our trip he used a half sleeping bag together with a down jacket, a light shell, eschewed gaiters and had dozens of other tricks and refinements. It added up to a compact yet completely functional alpine kit, lacking nothing. While the rest of us labored under our heavy loads, my partner moved with ease while expending far less energy. For me, at age 20, this revelation forever changed my outlook on gear for the outdoors.

At ODONATA GEAR, this same philosophy informs every decision we make. We hope you'll join us on this journey and discover this light ethos for yourself.

—Will Z.