Here’s a picture of me (far left) sporting my Mariposa Plus back in 2008 when I was introducing my brothers to lightweight backpacking. And yes, I’m also an Amateur Radio operator. 🙂# # #
The announcement came a little sooner than I had anticipated, but regardless, I am pleased to confirm that I have volunteered to be a Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassador, and I would like to thank Grant and the team for this opportunity.
Some of you may know that besides being a hammock camping evangelist, I’m also a lightweight backpacker and devoted gear tester, primarily with BackpackGearTest.org, but I’ve also done beta testing with specific brands. So when a call came from Gossamer Gear to test some gear, I jumped at the chance. The conversations that followed with Grant led to an invitation to become a Trail Ambassador.
So what is the Gossamer Gear Trail Ambassador program and how does that impact me? On one hand, being an Ambassador is sort of like being a “featured fan” for Gossamer Gear, as they are looking for customers who use their gear on occasion. I’m a happy owner of a first generation Mariposa Plus backpack; it was my first ultralight backpack and I am very fond of it. On the other hand, Gossamer Gear is looking for “people who are passionate and excited about the ultralight backpacking movement.” Guilty on both counts.
The final point that won me over (and really impressed me) about the program is that Gossamer Gear is not looking for complete fidelity: I have no obligation to exclusively promote or use their gear unless I happen to like and own it. Grant is looking for a team of dedicated lightweight backpackers who can serve as a testing bed for gear and provide honest feedback and criticism for improving their gear.
This falls in line with how I work with other vendors in the hammock arena. While I have my own favorite hammocks, as many others do, I don’t want to be tied down to only promoting one or two brands. I often request gear to test and evaluate for first-hand research on my book project. Occasionally those reviews are published on my blog, some are provided as feedback to the vendor, and some are just filed for reference. I enjoy friendships with many hammock vendors—relationships that began as I was doing research on my book. However, if I find a good deal, a promotion, or an interesting piece of hammock gear, I will continue to share those “finds” regardless of the vendor source.
My goal is to continue to promote hammock camping and provide honest, candid reviews of all types of backpacking and hammock-related gear. I wanted to be upfront with my new partnership with Gossamer Gear as a tester and evaluator.