These are the faces that you
see when you come into the store; we each have our own unique story,
but we all have one thing in common... we love the outdoors! Come
visit us at our Traverse City and Birmingham locations!
Biography: Water has always
been my favorite place to play. I swam through age group, high school and college. After that, there was finally
time for other activities - all were outdoors. After years of trying many things, I found that my favorite was kayaking.
I was a white water boater first, sea kayaker second. Currently, I have three white water boats, CR250(rodeo), Jeffe
(creek), Topo Duo (tandem), and two sea kayaks; an Artic Hawk (solo) and an Aleut (tandem). Time spent on the water is always good! My
favorite quote - as well as the store motto - is "Stupid Oughta Hurt."
The Motto of the
Graham Clan is: "He who fears his fate too much, desserts are too small, put unto the touch, to win or lose
it all." Interpretation: Crash and Burn.
Favorite Activities: Paddling, skiing,snowshoeing, mountain biking, and anything with Susie
Pyramid Point, Youghigheny River,
Mt Washington, and anywhere Susie is
Gear: Benchmade Mel Pardue knife,
Smartwool T shirt, and my AT and Werner paddles.
Favorite Trail Food: Beef Jerky, sweet and sour shrimp, beef stroganoff, and anything Susie cooks.
Biography: Sandy and I moved to Traverse City in June of 2001 and purchased Backcountry Outfitters.
We had dreamed of living "up north" for many years - so we made the move when the opportunity came along.
I get to do the behind the scene jobs at Backcountry; pay the bills, pay the employees, sometimes soft good buyer, and shipping
Before moving to TC I was a Medical Technologist at Crittenton Hospital in Rochester, MI for 20 years.
Favorite Activities: I love to kayak, snowshoe, downhill ski, and knit. My favorite places to kayak are along
the Sleeping Bear National Lake-shore, Benjamin Islands in the North Channel, Parry Sound, Ontario and the inter-coastal waterways
in Florida. I love to snowshoe on the dunes around TC. My favorite ski area is Alta. I love to hit yarn shops anywhere
I travel. Innish Knits in Cedar is a favorite local shop.
Favorite Gear: My titanium Atlas snowshoes, my Western Mountaineering down sleeping
bag, all my Arc'teryx clothing, and my Patagonia down sweater. I have to confess to a love/hate relationship with my
Wilderness Systems Arctic Hawk kayak. I also enjoy our Valley Aleut 2 tandem kayak.
Trail Food: I enjoy any mix of nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate. I also like to chew on a bit of
beef jerky for protein.
You Since: August 2005
Store Location: Traverse City
From Washington to Washington DC, and the Quetico to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and all the way to the geographic
center of Asia, I’ve paddled thousands of miles and backpacked even more. From being interrogated by the former
KGB to lounging in my hammock, I’m a Pilgrim and I’m sure to be always on a journey.
Favorite Activities: Lounging with my wife and friends, kayaking/canoeing, snowshoeing with my dogs, road biking, and Stand Up
Favorite Places: HOME! No matter how far I am from
home I always treasure the memories of the people that I know and love. I enjoy the mountains of Montana and New Mexico
and love paddling the waterways of Michigan and Canada.
Favorite Gear: I feel like
the best piece of gear you can always take with you is your mind - it can get you into some really great situations, and also
get you out of them. My Crazy Creek Chair is a trusty companion... it makes sure I stop and take in the sites along
Trail Food: Nutella (google it if you’re
not sure what it is), fruit leather, and Mountain House Raspberry Crumble (this is supposed to be a dessert and also feed
four, but I can eat one by myself and for breakfast - don’t tell Sarah!)
Outfitting You Since: February 2009
Store Location: Traverse City
Biography: I've been into the outdoors as long as I can remember, growing up in Traverse City was a natural
environment for a kid like me, tons of outdoor spots, more water than you can think of, and even more cool little critters
to catch! I grew up on the water on Old Mission Peninsula, and at this point in my life can't imagine living very far
away from it. Backpacking has been one of my staple activities for most of my adult life; the ability to get away from modern
conveniences and back to your basic hierarchy of needs; (food, water, shelter) keeps me from ever feeling mundane. I am also
a caver at heart, for the same reasons as backpacking; there is just something about being 2 miles into a cave system through
a labyrinth of tunnels, knowing that a headlamp failure or a flash flood could mean your demise at any moment that just makes
me feel alive. As I mentioned before, I love the water, I grew up on a boat and am also an experienced sailor, so moving into
Sea Kayaking was a natural progression for me, I bought my first Sea Kayak two years ago and am working hard to hone
my paddling skills to become a more proficient paddler.
Favorite Activities: Backpacking, Caving, Kayaking, Fishing, Snowboarding,
Hiking, Boating, and BARBECUE!
Favorite Places: Isle Royale, the Pictured Rocks segment
of the NCT, Voyaguers National Park, The Manitou islands, The Boardman River and my small collection of karsts/grottos spread
across a couple of different states.
Favorite Gear: Petzl DUO 14 Headlamp, Garmin 60CSX GPS,
Thermarest Prolite plus, Werner Carbon Paddles, My Texas pit barbecue, Native Dash XP sunglasses. I am
a huge Arcteryx fan; My Sidewinder SV, Alpha LT and NAOS 85 backpack are among my favorite notables. I also am a huge fan
of Mountain hardwear tents, both my Trango 3.1 and my Skyledge 3.1, also my collection of kayaks which I have dubbed "The
fleet", and lastly Yakima racks for allowing me to lug all those boats around.
Favorite Trail Food:
French bread with oil,
Backcountry Pizza, Dark Chocolate, Rosemary and Olive oil Triscuits, Raspberry Crumble (see Eric R's Profile), Cheesecake,
Eggs, Jerky, Taste of Thai Noodle bowls and shortbread cookies. I once met a guy that hauled a fresh whole pineapple
into the backcountry of the North Country Trail, I would never do such a crazy thing, but appreciate him for sharing a bit
of it with me around the fire.
Outfitting You Since: February
time outside gives my life the balance it needs - so I attempt to do it whenever I can. :) I am currently working on my Bachelors
degree in Marketing, but I'm taking my time and lovin' life while I'm at it. I'm a huge fan of exploring new places and showing
friends old favorites - whether it be by foot or boat. I've been backpacking for years now, but more recently took up
sea kayaking. I've paddled through Voyageurs National Park and along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, but I still have
a ton to learn. I'm hoping to fine-tune my skills with my sea kayak, and try white water kayaking along the way. I was introduced
to caving a number of years back and loved the thrill of it, so I now do it whenever I can. It makes me happy.
to my love of backpacking, water, and small places, I have a slight obsession with photography and art- whether it be sketching,
painting, scrapbooking, designing logos, brochures or websites. I take pictures whenever I can and usually have one of my
cameras nearby at any point in time.
Activities: Backpacking, photography, snowshoeing, kayaking, hiking, spelunking, geocaching, sketching, watching
thunderstorms, fishing, campfires with friends.
Favorite Places: Isle Royale National Park, Glacier National Park, Pictured
Rocks National Lakeshore (you've GOT to hike up to Grand Portal Point), Voyageurs National Park, and Acadia National Park.
Gear: I love my Osprey Ariel 65 Backpack,
Mountain Hardwear Phantom 0 sleeping bag, and my ENO hammock. Other things that make me happy: my Keen Newport H2 sandals,
Arc'teryx Beta AR Jacket, TNF Metropolis Parka, Smartwool socks, MSR Titan Kettle and my little folding bucket (perfect for
getting water at night and filtering it around the campfire).
Favorite Trail Food: Sour Patch kids! Smoked almonds, Arizona Arnold
Palmer packets, jerky, and hot apple cider for cold nights. I'm a huge fan of Enertia Trail Foods; their Switchback Shells,
Max Patch Mac and Cheese, and Wind River Cheesecake are amazing. Also a big fan of Backpackers Pantry Pad See You.
Outfitting You Since: June
Biography: My love for the outdoors started most with dad getting me
out camping while I was a kid. I have been hiking, biking and camping for as long as I can remember and cannot get enough
of either any of them. I have a strong appreciation for any hobby that gets me outside and at least feels like an adventure.
I have recently come to the realization that I have too many hobbies. I have since been doing my best to combine them. Photography
has been an activity that I have enjoyed for some time. It is a perfect pairing with all the activities I enjoy and I try
to always have some form of camera with me at all times. My eyes are open and my list of activities grows constantly.
Favorite Activities: Photography, biking, backpacking, kayaking, hiking, snorkeling, exploration, and campfires.
Favorite Places: Point Oneida, Empire, Frankfort, Glen
Arbor, Lake Michigan, Copper Ridge, anywhere in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Lake Superior, and behind my camera lens.
Favorite Gear: Osprey Packs, Smart Wools, Mountain Hardware, Canon, Patagonia and
now Arc’teryx and all the gear I drool over while at work. Really just endless!
Trail Food: Vitamin
S (aka. Snickers), I really do love “just add water” meals, tuna fish and crackers, PB and Honey on Hawaiian buns,
and dihydrogen monoxide.
Outfitting You Since: July 2011
Store Location: Traverse City
I grew up right on the river in Grayling, Michigan, so spending time outdoors in the woods and water has
always been natural. My parents have given me the opportunity to travel to several states and countried while growing up,
so I'm an explorer at heart! I love hanging in a hammock reading a book as well as being a beach bum.
Activities: Music festivals, photography, skiing, snowboarding and sledding. Any form of arts and crafts, bike rides,
leisurely kayak trips and bonefires! Yoga, reading, geocaching, the whole S'mores process, picking flowers, blowing bubbles,
making snow angels, and sidewalk chalk. Also karaoke if the moment feels right!
Favorite Places: Hawaii,
hands down, followed by Switzerland, Malaysia, and Coloado - in that order.
Favorite Gear: My Camelbak reservoir, hammock,
Smartwool Socks, and lifestyle clothing!
Outfitting You Since: July 2011
Store Location: Traverse City
Born and raised in Michigan, I have been in the Traverse
City area since '94. My top two favorite activities are traveling and riding motorcycles; my greatest peace seems to come
when I can do both together. I have traveled all over the United States, and continue to be amazed by the beauty that exists
right here in our own country. Glacier National park and Crater Lake are at the top of my list of places that I have
had the privilege of experiencing. I am currently a deck cadet at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy working on my unlimited
tonnage license which limits my ability to travel, but I still try to get out and enjoy the local scenery as much as possible.
Activities: Cruising on the motorcycle, traveling,
snowboarding, hiking, camping, rollerblading, biking, rock climbing, basically anything outdoors, as well as reading and watching
Favorite Places: Hawaii, Colorado, Montana, and the Rocky Mountains.
Favorite Gear: I enjoy putting my Arc'teryx gear to the test and am grateful for Smartwool socks and baselayers.
I have gotten my money's worth out of my Osprey kestrel 38 backpack, which is still going strong, and have been very grateful
for my therm-a-rest prolite plus mattress on numerous occasions. I am also now a big fan of the zipfy mini luge.
Trail Food: Cliff bars and trail mix
Outfitting You Since: October
Biography: I have been to a lot of places, but its never enough. I am always
going somewhere and planning new trips. Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end. If I haven't been there,
I probably want to go, and if its a challenge, I want to go even more. I love it when things go as planned, but a young
man once said to me "Joe, you know what a plan is? A list of stuff that never happens." At the time, those words
were very hard to hear. I had to admit that I was unable to do something I wanted to do. Something I planned for and dreamed
about for two years was impossible. I was not physically able to reach my goal, and I had to put my life on hold. Now, those
words mean nothing to me - I live life without compromise, or at least I try. Do not give up, and do not be the face of regret!
We have all seen it! I now live by these words; "If it is in your heart, make it happen."
Favorite Activities: Hiking and
backpacking, climbing, snowshoeing, playing guitar, biking, paddling, and mainly going on an adventure!
Places: Lake George, New Paltz and the Gunks,
NYC, the Red River Gorge, the Smokey Mountains, Grayso Highlands, McCaffe Knob, Tinker Cliffs, the Shenendoahs, Vermont, the
White Mountains, Katahdin.
Favorite Gear: Arc'Teryx clothing, Suunto Core watch, Asolo Flame GTX boots, Smartwool baselayers, Western Mountaineering
sleeping bag, and my camera.
Favorite Trail Food: Hard salami, cheese sticks,
Snyders of Hanover pretzels, peanut M&M's, cold pizza, Subway.
You Since: June 2012
Store Location: Traverse City
Biography: My passion for the
ouside started at an early age in the abondoned 100-acre orchard behind my home. I was raised in a household of naturalists
with a passion for simple living and good eating; thankfully it wore off on me. I graduated from Lake State in Sault Ste.
Marie, MI. My wanderlust and hunger for new and dynamic adventures led me overseas after graduation to avail myself in
all that European culture had to offer. Upon my return, I attempted to settle down in Kalamazoo... only to again catch the
fever of my wanderlust. From there it's been a patchwork of locations, cities, and adventures from coast to coast all culminating
in the joy and excitement of calling this, Traverse City, my home - or at least my home base for all future explorations
Favorite Activities: Traveling, exploring, meeting new people, getting perspective, yoga, meditation, writing, cooking,
après drinks and helping others.
Favorite Places: Next
to the fire pit at my parents in Fenton, MI; the beach at Iroquois Point Lighthouse outside Sault Ste. Marie, MI; snorkeling
Maui, HI; the river's edge outside Talkeetna, AK; the hills of Massarosa, Italy, and a few hidden places in between.
Favorite Gear: Smartwool, Patagonia, Merrell, Mountain Khakis, and my iPhone 4s - mostly for the camera.
Favorite Trail Food: Trail mix, coffee, anything tasty,
wild and indigenous.
Outfitting You Since:
Biography: I grew up for the most part in Grayling, MI, spending a lot of my time on the Ausable river with
my brother, and that is where my love for adventure and the outdoors grew into a passion. My father was in the military, so
my family did a lot of traveling and moving around, but we alway had our home base in Northern Michigan. I spent a small amount
of my time living in Puerto Rico where I developed an even stronger love for the water and became a "true pirate."
I now reside in Traverse City where there is vast amounts of water, while still having all four seasons to
indulge in the activities I enjoy. I have made many friends who share the same passion for the things I love and my
family is still in the area, making it the perfect place to come back to after each new and exciting adventure.
Activities: Sailing, mountain biking, climbing,
running, hunting, traveling, playing guitar, hanging with friends and family and loving life.
Places: Isla da Culebra - Puerto Rico, St. Thomas - Virgian Islands, St. Augustine - Florida,
San Antonio - Texas, Fairplay - Colorado, Colorado Springs - Colorado, New Orleans - Louisiana.
Favorite Gear: Patagonia,
Smartwool, Arc'teryx, and Outdoor Research.
You Since: August 2012
Store Location: Traverse City
Biography: I love to live, work,
and play outside. Trying new things is on top of my list and so far I've been able to try white water rafting and skydiving.
On a more regular basis, I love rock climbing, caving, skiing, kayaking, and camping. I have a real passion for the water
and spend every free minute I have sailing on my boat or volunteering on the tallships. I am an EMT, Wilderness EMT, and firefighter;
I also work for Traverse City's Technical Rescue Team where I get to use my love of ropes and heights for a bigger purpose.
I also love to travel... hopefully, my next trip will be to Patagonia to learn mountaineering for a month.
Favorite Activities: Sailing, fire-training,
caving, and all of the other activities I mentioned in my biography.
Favorite Places: Grand
Traverse West Bay (in the middle of it); South Manitou Island; the Badlands, South Dakota; Alaska; the Outer Banks; Wakami
Lake, Ontario, and any cave, anywhere.
Favorite Gear: My firefighter edition Swiss Army knife, and waterproof camera.
Favorite Trail Food: A jar of peanut butter, beef jerkey,
and Cliff Bars.
Outfitting You Since:
Biography: I spent my formative years
living in and exploring the many hidden wonders the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and what it has to offer. From searching
for ice caves and isolated waterfalls, to trekking across the Porcupine Mountains and paddling Pictured Rocks, I love it all.
It was here where I learned a deep appreciation for Mother Nature and also embraced the Yooper culture I resonate today.
love for adventure keeps me constantly grappling with my thirst for travel and exploration. I am always looking for new places
to see, and without much convincing, you could probably talk me into trying something I’ve never done before. Some of
my most extreme adventures were also the most spontaneous.
My other love, Laurel, is my wife to be. We met as students at MSU
and will both be Spartans for life! As newcomers to Traverse City we are enjoying acclimating to Northern Michigan living
together and are happy to lay roots down in this wonderful area of the state. In some years to come, you will probably find
us growing vegetables and flowers on our small farm, living the simple life.
Favorite Activities: My favorites include
cycling, skiing, snowshoeing, wine touring, fishing, and hunting.
Favorite Places: Pyramid Point in The Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Forest is my favorite destination to visit in this
region. Additionally, the Tuscan Hills of Italy’s wine country and the Redwood Forests of Northern California are other
favorites of mine, too.
Favorite Gear: Chacos,
Smartwool, Arc’Teryx, Benchmade.
Favorite Trail Food: Chocolate, Trail mix, Sunflower seeds.
Outfitting You Since:
Biography: Living in Michigan
my whole life has given me the opportunity to experience a variety of outdoor adventures. I have always loved being out on
the water, so growing up on a peninsula could not have been a more perfect location for me. Some of my favorite
times and memories are spent at the edge of an ocean or in the deep end of a pool. Being a happy and positive person, I try
to keep a smile on my face all the time. I enjoy finding new things to try and experience, and working on projects keeps me
busy and focused. I really enjoy working in the clothing and footwear departments of Backcountry because I love
the look on people’s faces when they finally find the item that fits their needs.
kayaking, SUPing, snorkeling, relaxing on the beach, drawing, reading, spending time with friends and family.
Places: Caribbean, Rose Island, Bahamas, Platte River,
Sleeping Bear Dunes, our backyard pool, and downtown Traverse City.
Gear: Arc’Teryx, SmartWool, Camelbak, ENO Hammocks and Zipfy Sleds.
Food: H2O, granola and chocolate covered cherries.
Outfitting You Since: March 2010
Biography: Born in Houston, Texas and raised in Southfield, Michigan.
My love for barbecue still remains. I've been going up north (Eastport, MI) a few times a year since I was six.
I started skiing when I was ten and did my first skiing trip out west to Steamboat Springs when I was twelve. Since
then I try to go out west whenever I can. Graduated from Michigan State in '08 with a Telecommunication (digital media/graphic
Favorite Activities: Skiing, Traveling, Photography, Going to Concerts, Kayaking,
Jet Skiing, Eating, and Sleeping.
Favorite Places: Aspen, CO; Barcelona, Spain; London, England; Eastport, MI
Favorite Gear: My Patagonia Down
Sweater, Cloudveil Boundary Jacket, Arc'Teryx Gamma AR, Cloudveil Run Don't Walk ½ Zip, Oakley A Frame Goggles, and
Favorite Trail Food: Almonds, Dried Cranberries,
Dark Chocolate and anything fried.
Outfitting You Since: July
am originally from Saginaw, MI. I have a Bachelors in Music Education from Saginaw Valley State University and a
Masters in Music Performance from Central Michigan University. Most of my life is consumed by teaching and performing music,
however I dedicate most, if not all, of my spare time to being outdoors. Along with working at Backcountry North I am currently
a free lance musician and teacher in the Metro Detroit area.
Favorite Places: Sleeping Bear Dunes, MI; Mackinaw Island, MI; Platte River, MI; Traverse
City, MI; Denver, CO
Favorite Activites: Canoeing, hiking, snowboarding, disc golf, bike rides,
going out with friends to new places, playing percussion, teaching music, writing music.
I love my North Face
Denali Fleece, Leatherman Skeletool, Keen Newport's, Vibram Komodosport Five Fingers, Nalgene Water Bottle.
Favorite Trail Food: Cliff Bars and fruit
You Since: February 2009
Store Location: Birmingham
Biography: Traverse City has always been my home, even when I moved away. I have a degree
in General Education from NMC and a degree in Apparel Design and Apparel Merchandising from CMU. Straight out of college
I went to work for a major retailer in the south as a Private Label Designer. From there, I returned home and love being with
my family and friends after being away for so long. I never felt completely at home in the south and decided that Traverse
City was the only place for me. Shortly after I moved home, I was hired at Back Country. I love applying my eye
for design to the clothing and merchandise within the store. I love learning about all of the new equipment, their uses,
and meeting new people. I can’t wait to expand my knowledge base about the outdoor world. Thanks for reading
my bio and I hope that you stop by the store to introduce yourself!
Favorite Activities: Traveling, being with my friends, going to the beach,
sewing, and...I love doing anything that's creative
Favorite Places: London changed my life, I
have traveled the world for my former career and loved every second of this city. Paris is also amazing...but when it
comes down to it my absolute FAVORITE place is wherever my family and friends are!
Favorite Gear: I
love my Lole! I wear it all the time, ask anyone at the store. It's the perfect combination of function and fashion!