Press Releases

High Sierra and CITYPAK Project help the homeless carry on


Vernon Hills, Illinois, July 2, 2013 – International adventure travel gear manufacturer, High Sierra and the Chicago-based CITYPAK Project have partnered to design and distribute backpacks to the homeless.

Founded by Chicago philanthropist Ron Kaplan in 2012, the CITYPAK Project provides a safe, convenient and versatile backpack uniquely designed to meet the constantly changing needs of the homeless.

“The homeless are often an invisible part of our communities that people walk by, look past, and ignore,” said Dawn Sicco, Vice President and General Manager, High Sierra. “It is our hope that through the CITYPAK Project, we can help to empower homeless as they face their everyday challenges.”

Before developing the CITYPAK, the design team reached out two Chicago area non-profits that work with the homeless for input on features and key considerations for the design. The resulting goal was to create a bag that could carry a large, ever changing amount of items, would not single people out as homeless, and would help people succeed on the streets and when transitioning into a job and housing.

Made from rugged ballistic nylon, the CITYPAK includes features that specifically address issues facing the homeless. Along with a large capacity, the pack has an integrated rain poncho that protects both pack and wearer from the changing elements; theft deterrent webbing loops that allow the pack to be secured safely to its wearer; and an interior organizer panel and oversized water bottle holders help make everyday life living on the streets easier.


Over the past year, 2,000 CITYPAKs have been distributed in Chicago, IL. This year, the CITYPAK Project is expanding its distribution to other cities across the country. Along with over 2,000 packs slated for Chicago, CITYPAK Project will be distributing packs in Maui, HI, and Boulder, CO in 2013.

“I frequent Boulder and Denver for both business and pleasure; I’m proud to be able to give back to those living in such an unfortunate circumstance as homelessness, and feel lucky to have such a strong network of altruistic colleagues and friends in the area,” said Ron Kaplan, CITYPAK Project Founder.

The CITYPAK Project will be distributing the bags in Boulder on Friday August 30 at The Bridge House Resource Center. For information on the distribution, CITYPAK project or to make a charitable donation, visit

About High Sierra:

High Sierra designs feature-rich, versatile outdoor lifestyle gear for adventurers everywhere. Since our founding in 1978, we’ve committed ourselves to creating durable, affordable product with distinctive details, delivering the freedom to go anywhere—near or far, on roads or trails, on mountain ridges or snowy slopes, no matter what form your adventure takes. In 2012, High Sierra formed a design partnership with the Chicago-based CITYPAK Project [501(c)(3)] to create purposeful, utilitarian backpacks for the homeless. High Sierra is also proud to be the Official Bags supplier to the U.S. Ski, U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing teams. High Sierra. Adventure the Day.

For more information or to shop online, visit, like us on Facebook ( and follow us on Twitter @HighSierrainc. For media inquiries, images, and sample requests, contact: Kara Herlihy,, (802) 583-6069.

About the CITYPAK Project:

The CITYPAK Project was founded by lifelong Chicago resident, Ron Kaplan. “I had the idea for the CITYPAK program after seeing that so many people living on the streets have an inadequate means to carrying and protect their belongings,” says Kaplan. Ron wanted to create something that would make life on the streets of Chicago a little easier. He shared his idea with the High Sierra design team; the goal was to design and provide a useful, high quality backpack for the homeless. As co-founder of international music booking agency Monterey International (Bonnie Raitt, Van Morrison, Trampled by Turtles, Buddy Guy, Los Lobos, Imelda May, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Keller Williams), today Ron is using his relationships to create a nationwide movement within the entertainment industry to help grow CITYPAK.

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