Saunter Packs Interview

Tell us about you ?

Greg : How far back should I start?? My name is Greg and I am Aleut. I was born and raised in Alaska before moving to Portland, OR in 2008. In 2018, I thru hiked the PCT SOBO with my now wife.

How did you come to hiking? more specifically UL hiking?

Greg : Growing up in Alaska I was always outside. My first multi day trip was with an OutdoorAdventure Program when I was 12 or 13. Heavy pack, cold rain, river crossings, glaciers and fireweed fields. Needless to say, I was hooked. Over the years, with more experience, I have become more comfortable with less. To a fault at times, carrying less than I should, which I do not recommend!

What is your UL hiking vision?

Greg : No two stories are the same out on trail. Though our footprints leave a semblance of a similar tale, they are all unique. Utilizing a simple setup allows me the freedom of time and movement. We are all out there for different reasons and all have different goals in mind. Stripping down to my basic human needs, I can set my focus on encouraging an inclusive and supportive community while maintaining my personal goals. My UL vision is one of inclusion and simplicity.

Why did you decide to make your equipment?

Greg : The pack I carried on the PCT was made by a buddy of mine, Cruise Packs. When I got back home after the thru, I hit him up to see if he would make me another pack with some different features I had thought about while hiking. He invited me over to make it happen. He showed me the ropes and had me sew the pack, taking over on the more difficult parts. It quickly became an obsessive hobby.

Can you tell me tell me the story behind your brand names?

Greg : We all seem to get fixated on getting our miles in, I know I am guilty of this, so it is a subtle reminder to amble from time to time.

How do you feel when you see hikers with your equipment on the trails?

Greg : There are no words to describe the fulfillment I get when I see photos of a pack I made in use in some of the most beautiful places trails lead. Places I hope to experience one day. I have yet to run into anyone, casually, with a pack I have made but I can’t wait for that to happen!

For you there is an ecological impact to buy are equipment from small manufacturers?

Greg : I believe so, yes. I feel that many of the smaller makers run their businesses closer to their ideology making it a priority from inception. Using recycled materials and packaging, smaller batches that create less waste, using scraps on products, an overall smaller footprint, donating a percentage of proceeds to local and national conservation groups, and the list goes on. That being said, larger companies have the financial backing and the masses behind them to make a larger impact, if they choose to hold that standard, and there are some that do.

How do you see the small shop in 2021?

Greg : 2021 has been a hell of a year! I took time away from making after losing my brother, welcoming a newborn into the family, my “real job” reopening… it has been hectic but I am getting ready to hit the ground running.

Do you think that people want more and more to turn to small shop ?

Greg : I think so! Having that one on one connection is hard to find in larger companies. Saunter, being just myself, can get overwhelming at times but the customer is dealing with me directly from start to finish. It feels like a distant friendship by the end of the interaction, to me anyways.

Finally, if you had a message to pass on to everyone who would watch this interviewl and who would like to support the small shops?

Greg : Supporting small businesses not only supports said businesses but it supports folks who are actively in our community. It helps a friend or a family pay their rent, helps an individual step away from the daily grind to enjoy similar interests, creates closer connections and really brings it all together. I may never have hiked with some of my customers but I feel they are part of my trail family.

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