Small Steps

It all started with 13-year-old Lauren McMurtry, who grew up camping and trekking the mountains of the Sierra Nevada with her dad and border collie Cash. Her obsession for hiking created a desire to trek the 165-mile-long Tahoe Rim Trail, and the skepticism from others due to her young age and small size fueled her desire. Her dad remembers her asking, “What is the fastest that a kid my age has ever hiked the entire trail.” With her mind made up, her Dad helped her plan the logistics of hiking the trail.

After searching for a light weight pack that would fit her small framed body (she was barely 100 lbs.), and with capacity to carry 20 lbs comfortably, they realized there was no such pack available for her. To solve their problem, they found an industry expert that was inspired by Lauren's ambition and became dedicated to designing a light weight, comfortable pack that had all the necessary features for a modern ultralight hiker. The first prototype incorporated high quality ultralight fabrics, hardware, and straps to create an extremely lightweight and durable pack. After Lauren’s first 50-mile test hike, numerous adjustments and modifications were made to improve the pack. New prototypes were developed, this time with one large enough for Dad who realized he wanted to enjoy one of these packs. 

One day in 2021 while talking with some PCT thru-hikers during a test hike in Desolation Wilderness we were asked about our packs. We explained that they were homemade, and that we were on a test hike to try out our new packs. The PCT hikers liked what they saw and asked for the website where they could buy one. We explained that we didn’t have a business and we just had the two homemade packs that were on our back. Disappointed by our response, they encouraged us to consider developing the homemade packs into something that could be made available to other hikers. It was in that moment sitting in the shade of a Jefferey Pine near Lake Fontanillis that Desolo™ was born. The name Desolo™ was fitting since the idea was born in Desolation Wilderness.  The word Desolo™ represents those wild and beautiful places that can only be seen when the mountains call you to go.

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