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
Snow Shelters// January 23rd, 2019
Snow caves are neither fast nor easy to build. They are by no means the preferred snow-based shelter solution for daily travel, or even for stranded, emergency shelter. The builder must have a shovel-—preferably a large one-—and be equipped with … Continue reading
Shelters, A History// January 7th, 2019
Shelter. We humans need it. Not blessed with fur, fat or any of the other animal protective designs we are on our own; it’s up to that big brain of ours to figure out how to deal with the elements. … Continue reading
Testing Shelters// January 2nd, 2019
It was twenty below inside my new Stephenson tent. I had been using the cutting edge Model 2R since summer. This, instead of my long practice of lean-to shelters with a fire out front. Military shelter half, tarp, that sort … Continue reading