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From the oxygen-starved steeps of the Himalayas to the civil islands of Hong Kong, from the wintery backcountry of Yellowstone to the blistering heat of Australia's Opal mines, Dave has traveled the world looking for knowledge and inspiration. He’s lost 25 pounds in a Nepalese guesthouse, stuck because he couldn’t walk out, lived on the 19th floor of a modern high rise in pre-revolution Jakarta, lost track of his middle name at 7000m on K2, and slept under the stars for months on the empty beaches of Australia.Dave is an adventurer in every sense of the word. The real kind, not the Instagram version. But before all that went down, as early as he can remember, he was a designer and gear maker. At age 6, he was taking monthly trips to the Salvation Army to buy old tarps and fabric to cut up and sew and make sport-specific gear for his G.I Joe’s. By 12 he had a small collection of handmade backpacks that he still has to this day. His dad grew up a rancher in Montana who hunted and fished in his free time, but never minded that Dave would always rather be cutting and sewing than hunting, and he was often the driver to go pick up more material. He was also a geologist and avid rock hunter and commissioned Dave to make some custom rock hunting slings over the years.
When driving through the west with his family Dave got a glimpse of the scene that would soon become his obsession. He saw people hiking, biking, and climbing and immediately knew that was what he wanted to do and where he wanted to be. He took notice of the gear they were using and always wondered if he could make it better himself. With mail-order outdoor gear catalogs as his bible and a growing love for the outdoors, the obsession between gear and adventure grew into a lifestyle, and he rarely gave one more attention than the other. He would regularly quit or be fired from jobs because he’d request 2 months off to go climb mountains, race his bike, or backpack across different countries. But he would always come back more invigorated with more drive and a better understanding of the gear he wanted to create and would ultimately land a better job upon his return.He's worked for most of the big dogs since then (Black Diamond, The North Face, Spyder, and Smartwool to name a few) but has always found time to make custom gear for himself and his friends. When working as a canyoneering guide in Moab back in 2014, Dave, as he does, took notice of the current gear available in the space and saw room for improvement. As a personal project, he set out to create a canyoneering backpack that would improve speed, efficiency, safety, and style in the canyoneering world. He started designing, testing, tweaking, and testing some more. 8 years and 17 iterations of packs later, the Slot Canyon pack line became available to the public.
Dave’s most recent side project was to help his friend, Nik Hawks, design and sew a custom paragliding backpack. Nik was unsatisfied with the packs available and knew who to call to dial in his vision. Nik has a great, in-depth write-up about the process from start to finish. His write-up captures Dave’s passion for gear and craftsmanship perfectly. Click the button below to check it out.