Dave Collins is young, talented and the person behind CleverHiker. A new soon to launch online backpacking website. It will be skill focused, content rich and Dave here tells us about the passion behind it. His inclusiveness and reach all approach has won me over.
For starters, my name is Dave Collins and I recently began a project called CleverHiker.com. I’ve been getting great feedback from the backpacking community about my project and I recently raised over $10,000 to build a lightweight backpacking video series.
The CleverHiker campaign will still be running for a few more days – until January 18th. If you have any readers who would like to sign up for an advanced video series copy or learn more about the project, they can follow the link – www.indiegogo.com/cleverhiker to learn more. There is an intro video on the campaign page that should provide a lot of insight into what the project is all about.
The reason that I began CleverHiker.com is that I absolutely love backpacking and have since I was a little kid in the Cub Scouts. My backpacking skill set has grown over the years and in 2010 I was able to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. I have learned so much about increasing my enjoyment on the trail through lightweight backpacking. I want to share that knowledge and help other backpackers to do the same. CleverHiker is a project designed to make lightweight and ultralight hiking easy for anyone to learn and practice.
As for my personal backpacking story, it starts in the “mighty mitten” – Michigan. I grew up in a scouting family and spent my summers backpacking around the mid-west with our local scout troop. My three brothers, my scouting friends, and my supportive parents helped me to appreciate the wilderness for its challenges and its beauty.
As I grew older I sought out every chance I could get to backpack abroad and learn about the world. I have a hunger for travel and I love the freedom of living out of a small pack. Some of my favorite hiking experiences have been the Fox Glacier in New Zealand, the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, and a week of day hikes in Antarctica.
In 2007 I landed an opportunity to move to Portland Oregon to follow a career in consulting. Moving to the Pacific Northwest had been a long-time dream for me and I was ecstatic to head west.
The natural beauty in this part of the country is breathtaking and I take advantage of it every chance I get. Some of my favorite Pacific Northwest backpacking spots are the Enchantment Lakes, the Olympic National Park, Hells Canyon, the Goat Rocks Wilderness, and the Three Sisters Wilderness. I love backpacking with close friends and I try to organize at least one large group camping trip every summer.
In 2010 I set out to accomplish one of my lifelong dreams – to thru-hike the Pacific Crest Trail. The five-month, 2,650 mile journey was life changing to say the least. It was one of the most difficult and rewarding excursions I’ve ever undertaken. I learned the true meaning of generosity and humility during those five months on the trail. I learned hard lessons about the benefits of persistence, a positive outlook, and being mentally tough. And lastly, I learned that I could lead a very fulfilling life by experiencing, sharing, and supporting the activity that I love the most – backpacking.
CleverHiker.com is a project to help make lightweight backpacking easy and accessible for any hiker. I’m building this resource for anyone interested in lightweight backpacking and I don’t want to come off as a pack snob. I am all about backpacking for the experiences, the friends, challenges, and the connection with nature. Lightweight backpacking is simply a way for me to enhance the enjoyment of backpacking while I'm on the trail. I don't believe that it is necessary to have a ten-pound pack to enjoy backpacking and I'll never push that concept.
Along those lines, I hope that your community understands that I am not seeking to promote myself or my beliefs. I have taught a number of my friends about lightweight backpacking and they are much happier on the trail because of it. I'm doing this for people like them. I want to spread the good word of lightweight backpacking and help to make it easier for everyone.
I hope your readers can relate to my mission and I hope they can support me in my project. Thank you again for the wonderful work that you do in promoting backpacking. And thank you for helping me to spread my vision.