Backpacking and backcountry snow sports can be an excellent way to stay active and enjoy nature. Whether it is a day trip or multi-day adventure, some gear will be required. Food, water, a tent and a stove are just a few of the items that might be needed. Start piling up the gear and it is not inconceivable that your backpack could weigh over 50-pounds. It doesn’t sound like much, but after hours on the trail, that 50-pounds might as well be 1,000-pounds. Lightening the load can be done by reducing the amount of gear and supplies, or reducing the weight could be achieved by starting off with lighter weight gear. There are certainly a number of companies producing lightweight backpacking gear; just most of them have left the U.S. to manufacture their product line overseas. Kifaru International of Wheat Ridge, Colorado produces an assortment of lightweight backpacking gear and unlike their competition, they are still manufacturing their product line on U.S. soil.
The roots of Kifaru International reach all the way back to 1978. Patrick Smith actually started another well known company, Moutainsmith, Inc., after finding the commercially available gear inadequate for his needs as a guide. A number of years had past and along with producing many innovative products, Mountainsmith provided Patrick a fertile ground for some truly unique developments like the very first man-carryable wood-stove-heated shelters. In the mid-90s, Patrick sold Mountainsmith, but not much time had past before he was at it again and Kifaru was born.
The current Kifaru product line has quite a few interesting products. From stoves to sleeping bags, the focus is on producing lightweight and rugged gear – features that any backpacker will appreciate when they are miles from civilization and they are wanting to cook a hot meal. Take one package that Kifaru shows on their website; the backpack, sleeping bag, stove and shelter all weigh under seven and a half pounds when put together leaving plenty of capacity for food, water and other gear. This combo easily is one of the lightest setups available.
Kifaru not only serves the needs of backpackers, they also offer products for hunters, outdoorsman, those who carry concealed firearms and even military use. All manufactured to the same standards and all made in America. Patrick Smith not only is passionate about the Kifaru product line, but also where the product is made. This is very evident on their website.
Being a small company, we keep a critical eye on quality control for the highest performance. No foreign sweat shops, no passing the buck. Every dollar you spend with Kifaru stays right here in the United States, instead of fueling foreign economies. The taxes reaped from our sales and salaries support our infrastructure and communities – not those in Asia or Latin America. This gear will outperform and outlast anything made offshore – period. Drilex thoroughly trumps Coolmax, as genuine 1000d Cordura trumps all off-shore imitators.
The gear from Kifaru is available directly through their website. They feel that this allows them to design and manufacture gear for actual use; not have to add gimmicky features to draw the eye of a consumer away from a competitor’s product at the store level. Those who want bright colors or a flashy name brand need to look elsewhere. But for those who believe in function over fashion and that maintaining jobs in America is the only fashion statement that needs to be made, Kifaru products might just be for you.