Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In


Press Releases

Mountainsmith Creates Groundbreaking Fastpack with Adventure Athlete The Real Hiking Viking

Crowdsourcing Campaign for Zerk 40 Launches December 12

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

Golden, CO—Dec. 12, 2018— Mountainsmith—craftsmen of iconic backcountry equipment and recreational outdoor gear—has created the ultimate thru-hiking pack co-designed with elite long distance hiker, The Real Hiking Viking aka, Thomas Gathman. Mountainsmith and Gathman drew inspiration from the ultra running, backpacking, and the fastpacking worlds to create the Zerk 40. The pack, which is unlike anything on the market, will launch though a grassroots campaign on Indiegogo December 12.

The combination of Mountainsmith’s expertise, Gathman’s vision and his on-the-ground experience hiking more than 12,500 miles of trail brought the Zerk 40 to life. The pack is extremely lightweight, durable, and packed with the tricks of the trade and features that Gatham says are essential to speed and efficiency on the trail.

“I can go longer without needing to take the pack off my back. It’s such a simple thing, but the time and energy I save over the thousands of miles that I’m on the trail adds up quickly.” Commented Gathman, “All of the features were intentionally dialed and tested to keep everything I need in arm’s reach while moving at a pace of 30, 40 or 50 miles a day.”

Beyond the line-up of quick access pockets and lashing points, the pack offers an unbeatable strength to weight ratio; it utilizes Spectra® fiber, which pound for pound is 15 times stronger than steel, yet incredibly light. At the same time, the pack is extremely comfortable as the shoulder straps disperse heavier than normal loads, and the padding maximizes comfort and breathability while minimizing abrasion. Lastly, the removable interior laser cut frame sheet and back panel mesh allow for ultimate airflow, breathability and resistance to chafing.

“We have always dedicated ourselves to building durable, function-first gear and we have a long history of working with elite outdoorspeople to inspire design.” Remarked Jay Getzel, President, Mountainsmith, “With The Real Hiking Viking we were able to open a conduit into the thru-hiking community to develop a pack unlike anything we’ve seen on the market.”

Mountainsmith is launching the Zerk 40 through a crowdsourcing campaign to allow them to work directly with thru hikers and deliver a pack outside the normal tradeshow, preseason and Q1 delivery cycle. The campaign gave the brand the flexibility of taking extra time needed to test and refine the pack in time for the kickoff to the thru-hiking season.

To support the campaign, order a pack and learn more about the Zerk 40, click here. For more information on Mountainsmith visit for more information on The Real Hiking Viking visit

About Mountainsmith

Founded in the Rockies in 1979, Mountainsmith was built by Colorado outdoorsmen in need of seriously durable gear that could withstand the rigors of their backcountry pursuits. It is here that the original lumbar pack was born and the Mountainsmith brand began its legacy.

Today, Mountainsmith celebrates not only the gear that has led us here, but the stories, adventures, and experiences that define the rugged, Colorado-grown, no B.S. lifestyle we continue to share. Headquartered at the base of the Rocky Mountains in Golden, CO, we’ve spent the past 40 years balancing hard work and playing hard, combining our passions for backpacking, camping, hiking, photography, travel, our dogs and our families. We are committed to creating durable provisions for every aspect of your adventure, tools that cut the frills and stand the test of time. Like our community, our gear is Forged for Life.