Patrick Smith has designed virtually all the base platforms we sell and has been a pioneer in the outdoors industry since before most of our employees were born. In the early 1970s, Patrick Smith got started as a wilderness guide when he owned Colorado School of Outdoor Living. He taught many things as well as avalanche safety and snow caving with an emphasis on foot travel in the backcountry.
He was the first Keystone Resort cross-country ski instructor, as well as the director for the cross-country ski club and year-long wilderness travel club. While doing this, Patrick started designing his own gear to fill the voids in the then rudimentary gear that was available. We still use his sled design today!
In 1979, Patrick got out of the service industry, and he started the company Mountainsmith. He developed designs for sleds, high quality packs, and in 1986, he was the first to create man-carriable heated shelters with the tipi and stove combination.
When faced with the problem of carrying a rifle in Alaska bear country, he came up with the gun bearer, which is the most innovative rifle carrying system ever built. The standard sling was too insecure, slow, uncomfortable and can leave you too vulnerable amid predators. Hunting was always in the back of his mind during the design process.
Aron Snyder started out testing gear and giving feedback, and officially became an employee in 2012. He and Patrick co-designed the timberline pack that was brought to the market in 2013 and brought forth a true father/son relationship. He was a perfect fit to help the cause as he spends the majority of the year testing new gear and prototypes in the field. Aron took over operations in 2014 and is currently the President & CEO of Kifaru while Patrick enjoys the life of a retired adventurer.
2020 Leading The Edge Of Hunting
Road Trip: Gila Wilderness// April 15th, 2016
I set out for the Gila in a blazing crimson desert dawn, heading west on I-10 across the barren southern New Mexico wastelands. The Gila lies in the Gila National Forest along the Black Mountain Range in southwest New Mexico. … Continue reading Continue reading
Road Trip: Davis Mountains// April 6th, 2016
Texas Highway 118 ascended steadily north from Terlingua. Beige earth and pale green cactus segued to red-brown dirt and dark green Ponderosas and even some aspen. I was climbing into the Davis Range, what turned out to be a real … Continue reading Continue reading
Road Trip: Santa Elena Canyon// April 2nd, 2016
Santa Elena Canyon sits at the western edge of the Park, whereas Boquillas Canyon resides on the eastern edge. I had selected the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive as my route to Santa Elena because the “scenic” part of its title … Continue reading Continue reading