Glen Van Peski & Gossamer Gear Bringing the Light to Ultra Light Backpacking

Posted on September 26, 2011


Gossamer GearWhen Glen Van Peski heads into the wilderness, he likes to go as unencumbered and as light as possible, for Peski is an ultra light backpacker.

This was not always the case. When Peski went backpacking in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains in 1996, with his son’s Scout troop, he hiked with a traditional externally framed pack full of gear weighing more than 70 pounds in total. However, later after reading a book by Ray Jardine, considered by many to be the father of the modern ultra light backpacking movement, he decided that he too would explore the freedom offered by going lightweight into the mountains.

Backpackers who are first attempting to lighten their loads generally try to reduce the weight of the big three: backpack, tent, and sleeping bag. Then they cut back on how many items they carry. Eventually, an ultra lighter aims for a pack weight sans food and water of around 10 pounds, a super-ultra-light backpacker shoots for five pounds or  less.

Peski started his ultra-light metamorphosis by reducing the weight of his backpack when he designed and made his own, a little more than a sack with shoulder straps. Overtime, working on improving his pack, he created the G4 in 1998. This is the ultra light backpack that started it all for Peski and the company that became Gossamer Gear.

Weighing only 16 ounces and  able to carry up to 30 pounds, the G4 remains a very popular ultra light backpack. According to the company’s website, the G4 and Gossamer Gear have been mentioned in articles by the New York Times, MSNBC, Backpacker Magazine and National Geographic Adventure Magazine.

Though Grant Sible took over as  company president in 2005, Peski still provides overall direction for the company and for new product development. In the world of ultra light backpacking, the man who headed out into the mountains with 70 pounds on his back 15 years ago is now considered to be a guru, a leader, and a spokesperson for the movement.

In this interview, Peski says that although ultra light is not for everyone, it is how he best enjoys the outdoors. “My personal philosophy, which I realize doesn’t work for everyone, depends on how you do backpacking, how you enjoy the outdoors. I like to walk. A lot of people like to hike in to a lake and sit there and fish and maybe do some day hikes. I like getting up early, walking all day, going to sleep, and then getting up and walking a lot the next day. I’m walking along with ten, fifteen pounds on my back. It’s like a day hike,” said Peski.

To learn more about Peski, Gossamer Gear and ultra light backpacking visit:

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