Monday, March 2, 2015

Lichter and Forry Complete First Winter Thru-Hike on the Pacific Crest Trail

Two Harbors, MN – March 1, 2015 – At 1pm on March 1st, Granite Gear athlete and accomplished thru-hiker, Justin “Trauma” Lichter and hiking partner Shawn “Pepper” Forry have finished the Pacific Crest Trail, making them the first to complete the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail during winter months. 

From October to March, Lichter and Forry found themselves battling frostbite, icy ponds, frozen ski bindings, blinding whiteouts, 80 mph wind gusts, negative temperatures, and many other unpleasant conditions. However, with over 55,000 miles of trail experience between them, Lichter and Forry were able to meet the conditions with safety and confidence. Detailed packing and preparation also played a major role in the safety of their trek, and Lichter and Forry are pros at packing the best ultralight gear. On the trail, Lichter and Forry carried various Granite Gear backpacks and stuff sacks. View Lichter’s full list of gear here. 

“We set out on this adventure to challenge ourselves and test our physical and mental limits and skill sets,” said Justin Lichter. “We also want to open the door and hopefully show people that the winter can be a beautiful and amazing time to experience the outdoors.”

Lichter and Forry have worked closely with the PCTA along their trek, and plan on continuously acting as stewards to protect and preserve the trail. Viewing the PCT as a capstone and symbol for America’s value of wilderness and conservation, Lichter and Forry would like to see the PCT respected enough so that people will enjoy it many generations to come.

For detailed stories around each stop on the trail, read Justin Lichter’s blog and Shawn Forry’s blog. View more photos from the trail here. To learn more or schedule an interview with Justin, please contact Shelly Smith at

About Justin Lichter

Justin Lichter has hiked the equivalent to almost one and a half times around the Earth, and in one year hiked over 10,000 miles. (In total, he’s racked up over 35,000 miles!) His accomplishments include hiking unsupported from end to end through the Himalayas, through the Southern Alps of New Zealand, through Iceland and Norway, across the United States six times, and over 1800 miles through Africa. He is a ski patroller and enjoys backcountry skiing, Nordic skiing, biking, surfing and anything else outdoors and active. During his trek through the Himalayas, Trauma proudly carried the Leopard AC and found it to be the perfect pack for the treacherous 1500 mile hike. Justin is the author of Trail Tested and Ultralight Survival Kit.

About Shawn Forry

Since 2003, Shawn has hiked over 20,000 miles through 26 states and 7 countries, including Nepal and New Zealand and most of Europe. Long distance backpacking has taught him determination, problem solving, compassion for fellow neighbors and the environment. He is currently residing in Truckee, CA (winter) and Midpines, CA (summer) and works as an Outward Bound Lead Instructor and Wilderness Adventures Musher.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Granite Gear is proud to sponsor:
Only The Essential
View the Sneak "Peak" Video

From thru-hiker and film producer Colin Arisman: 
"In the summer of 2013 Casey Gannon and Colin Arisman thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail with cameras in hand. "Only The Essential" is the story of their 5 month, 2668 mile journey on foot from Mexico to Canada across the wilderness of California, Oregon, and Washington.
The full length film will be available to stream for free online, as well as premiering around the country and being submitted to film festivals. Prior to the hike we successfully ran a Kickstarter fundraiser, and we are deeply grateful for the independent financial support of those who backed our project. The film is a non-commercial project and has been a labor of love for us. We are honored to be supported by Granite Gear and the PCTA."

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Four Tips for Backpacking in the Winter

Written by Justin "Trauma" Lichter

There’s a mystique about heading out into the backcountry in the winter. In recent years backcountry skiing has been gaining in popularity, but that still typically doesn’t take people more than a few miles from the road. The allure of the short trip is obvious. Even the most popular backcountry destinations are deserted in the winter. I’ve been to Glacier Point in Yosemite, the Great Smoky Mountains, and the White Mountains, some of the most heavily trafficked areas -- and hardly seen a soul. Most people hike and backpack to disconnect, seek solitude, and experience the outdoors. There’s no better time than the winter to achieve this. Don’t be scared to leave the comforts of a warm fireplace - expand the camping season and escape the crowds by heading out in the winter!
I have hiked the Appalachian Trail in the winter and seen hardly anybody. This is the Grand Central Station of hiking trails. It’s amazing and beautiful, even more so in the winter because you can see out of the “Green Tunnel”, but can be crowded and difficult to get shelter space. Almost every night of the trip I was the only one in the shelter – with the added benefit of no one else snoring but me!
This winter I plan on attempting to thru-hike/ski the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. It will be roughly 2650 miles of varying travel methods, from skis to snowshoes, in a mix of terrain and conditions. We think this challenge will take 5-6 months through the heart of the winter. Here are a few things to keep in mind on a winter trip:

1) Prior proper planning prevents piss poor performance – my favorite saying.

You want to research the conditions that you could hit, including the low temperatures, potential weather, and the potential for avalanche conditions. This includes last minute checks of the weather and avalanche forecasts, then alter your kit accordingly. For example, if you are expecting a snowstorm then you might want to throw in the GPS to help you navigate or add a few additional layers to wear. You’ll also want to cater your sleeping system to the potential low temperatures.

2) Pack wisely – but that doesn’t mean you should pack the kitchen sink

You want to be prepared for colder temperatures and adjust your kit accordingly, but that doesn’t mean that you need to throw your entire closet into your pack. The sun sets early and you’ll be in your sleeping bag when it starts getting chilly. Save on extra camp clothing layers since you’ll be in your sleeping bag, but pack something to read or a deck of cards and a shelter with a little extra room. You want to be comfortable and the weight savings from other items will allow room for extra comforts.

3) Layer

I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times, but seriously, layer your clothing. This will help to create an adaptable and versatile system throughout the day and night. If you are sweating during the day then you should strip off a layer and save it for later before it gets wet. You don’t want to overheat because that will lead to chilling later on. Use your layering system to prevent overheating. Also when you stop for a break, make sure to add a layer before you start getting cold. It takes less energy for your body to stay warm then to get cold and warm up again.

4) Adjust your goals

A winter trip is different than a summer trip. Sometimes you can make great time if the snow sets up right, but often the travel is much slower. Adjust your expectations accordingly. Take this into consideration when you pack your food. It might snow and you could be slogging. In the winter I would always recommend packing a bit of extra food. If you don’t need it, you’ll probably end up eating it the last day anyway!
A winter trip is rewarding, enjoyable, and challenging. When an old timer says, “I remember when we would go weeks without seeing people in a national park”, you will respond “I still do.” Sometimes travel might feel like it is uphill both ways, but those challenges will just make the hot chocolate in front of the fireplace that much more rewarding when you return home.  
Justin "Trauma" Lichter bio:
Justin has also logged over 35,000 miles of hiking and backpacking. He has hiked unsupported from end to end through the Himalayas, through the Southern Alps of New Zealand, through Iceland and Norway, across the United States six times, and over 1800 miles through Africa. He is a ski patroller and enjoys backcountry skiing, Nordic skiing, biking, surfing and anything else outdoors and active. His first book, Trail Tested, was published in April 2012, with a follow up book, Ultralight Survival Kit, released in February 2014.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Granite Gear Announces 2014-2015 Athlete Roster

Two Harbors, MN – September 8, 2014 – Granite Gear, manufacturer of legendary backpacks engineered to deliver the ultimate in function and comfort, is proud to announce their official athlete roster of 2014-2015. Athletes include the following: Polar Explorers Lonnie Dupre, Eric Larsen, John Huston, Professional Thru-Hiker Justin “Trauma” Lichter, and Blind Hiker Trevor Thomas, each of whom has shown impressive persistence in pushing the limits of their specific disciplines.

Acknowledging that these athletes are internationally recognized professionals in the outdoor industry, Granite Gear confidently engages the athletes in thorough gear testing and research and development. In doing so, the outcome is highly functional Granite Gear products that have been tested to the max and are ready for decades of use by the end-user, wherever their destinations take them.

“Both our athletes and our customers’ safety directly depends on the quality and durability of our gear,” says Senior Director of Design; Development, Mike Meyer. “Our athletes really put our gear to the test in some of the most extreme environments on the planet. Their product feedback is a tremendous asset.”

This year, the athletes are participating in various events such as climbing Denali in January, hiking the PCT through the winter months, an impromptu triathlon across the state of Colorado, and various week-long explorations and adventures around the USA.

Lonnie Dupre, Eric Larsen, John Huston, Justin “Trauma” Lichter, and Trevor Thomas will be pairing up with Granite Gear during various trade shows and events throughout the year. For more information on their individual pursuits sign up to receive Granite Gear’s newsletter and follow them on Granite Gear’s Facebook page.

Contact: Shelly Schmidt
Darby Communications
828.254.0914 o / 630.337.6505 c

Monday, August 4, 2014

Granite Gear Supports the Big City Mountaineers!

The exciting launch of our new campus collection, has put us in the giving mood. Back in May, we launched our Back to School Giveaway, where we partnered up with industry brands to give away a prize pack every two weeks, catering to students getting ready for campus. We also wanted to “share the love,” to a favorite organization of ours – the Big City Mountaineers.  If you’re not familiar with BCM, you should be. Really. It’s an amazing organization that focuses on getting under-resourced youth outdoors and so much more. At Granite Gear, we thrive to get more people into the great outdoors. So by donating to the BCM, we felt our contribution could make an impact through getting kids out and enjoying all that the wilderness has to offer.

Here’s a little bit about BCM’s history, and what they aim to do for underprivileged youth.

Big City Mountaineers strives to instill critical life-skills in under-resourced youth through transformative wilderness mentoring expeditions. In short they help kids enrich their own lives through outdoor and mentoring experiences.

Since its inception, BCM has worked to offer life-changing experiences for urban youth through wilderness mentoring expeditions led by caring adults.  The original program design of single-gender, 5-adults-to-5-youth outings continues to be a unique aspect of their program.

In 2013 alone, BCM worked with more than 1,000 under-served youth across the country on 68 wilderness expeditions, and 2,600 day and overnight programs. In total, they tirelessly delivered 6,650 days of outdoor youth mentoring programming to their kids.

If you want to learn more or are interested in getting involved, visit their website at

We’re in our FINAL WEEK of our Back to School Giveaway, and this prize pack is epic, so you may want to check out the winnings before you take a pass. Enter our Grand Prize giveaway for the chance to win mega cool winnings for life’s random needs. Here’s what we’ve got stuffed in our Superior Pack: A Kindle Fire complete with an E-Case to protect it from the elements, a pair of Sunksi Lime Headlands Sunglasses, a $50 Amazon Gift Card, a pair of Vasque shoes of your choice for comfortably getting around campus, a Grilliput for a future tailgate scenario, and a sleek KOR water bottle – for hydration. Enter to win here:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Alpha Dog Pack Featured in Sierra Magazine

Sierra Magazine featured our Alpha Dog pack in their July 2014 issue. They loved the fact that the pack has fleece-lined straps to prevent from chafing!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Travel & Leisure Trip Doctor Highlights Cross-Trek Collection

In the June 2014 "Trip Doctor" feature, Travel & Leisure included Granite Gear's 36L Backpack from the Cross-Trek adventure travel collection.