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
Meditations on Hunting Backpacks (Written in 1998)// June 23rd, 2020
As the founder, chief designer and former owner of Mountainsmith, one of the world’s best known manufacturers of technical backpacks, I spend about 200 days a year camped out testing designs. On almost every one of those trips, I carry … Continue reading
The Possibles Pouch (written in 1997)// June 23rd, 2020
Over several decades of wandering the backcountry I’ve developed a kit of “possibles”–items that can save my bacon, or just ensure comfort, wherever I roam. The term “possibles” comes from the intrepid Mountain Men of the Rocky Mountain West, who … Continue reading
Arizona Outdoors Interview with Jim Solomon (September 2001)// June 23rd, 2020
Patrick:I’ve been backpacking and backpack hunting for about 45 years.I owned a wilderness survival school (Colorado School of Outdoor Living) from 1972 to 1980.I was a Certified Cross Country Ski Guide from 1974 to 1982.I founded Mountainsmith Inc. in 1979, … Continue reading