Is It Goodbye GoLite?

GoLite Website
The US company which pioneered ultra-light hiking equipment, and with which I did some work a decade ago, has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy according to this Outdoor Industry news source.

It is moving to terminate the business unless a competing bid surfaces.  Is it goodbye GoLite?  I sincerely hope not.

However, the Denver Business Journal says GoLite is preparing for liquidation.

Reading these articles shows how hard the owners have tried to keep the business going.



They sold the trademark 'GoLite' to Timberland in 2006 and licenced back its use.  Timberland has now withdrawn that licence from 31 March 2015.  All this makes me disappointed because I was among the first to use GoLite in the UK and I sort-of know the people behind it.

Way back in 2001 I was planning to hike the Pacific Crest Trail and became aware of GoLite which had just started up and was expanding into Europe.

PCT in Oregon
It had bought the rights to manufacture Ray Jardine's for hiking equipment, specifically packs, shelters and sleeping 'systems'.

Jardine had earlier published the patterns in the The Pacific Crest Trail Hiker's Handbook
expecting people would make their own.  GoLite did it for them.

I used the original GoLite / Jardine designs in a big test for TGO Magazine, which saw the editor Cameron McNeish, the deputy editor John Manning, the equipment editor Chris Townsend and me all tramping around Ben Alder area for a weekend.

People had used, bivi bags, minimal gear and had cut the handles off toothbrushes for years but this was the first time American west coast ultra-light kit had received such a pubic test in Scotland.

My girlfriend (now wife) and I subsequently went on to test a variation of the equipment in winter, crossing the Fisherfield Forest one New Year.

On Corsica GR20
In 2001 we took it down the Costa Blanca Mountain Way, the Corsica GR20 and parts of the desert around Santa Fe, New Mexico.

All that was training for 'the big one', our 2568ml five month hike from Mexico to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail.

Everything we had we carried in GoLite packs (the Gust) which we still use when kayaking.

We had GoLite waterproof trousers (again, still in use), and shirts and wind/waterproof jackets which are long gone.

Before embarking on the trail we collected all these goodies at the Boulder headquarters of GoLite.  Demitri ("Coup") and Kim Coupounas took us out to dinner and there are two things I remember from that meal.

Testing winter ulralight in Fisherfield forest
One was the astronomic price of wine.  Second was a humorous remark by Coup which I've used myself, adapting it to different situations.

"You want to know how to make a small fortune in the outdoor gear business", he confided?  "Start with a large fortune".

I did a telephone interview with Coup a few years ago for a profile in TGO magazine and he was as upbeat as ever.

He was into raw food and had just completed his mission to climb the highest point in every US state.  We haven't kept in touch and we're not in any way close, but this news is still very disappointing.

I can only hope something good will come from it, eventually.

Kim recently gave a TEDx talk in Boulder which I've posted below - it's well worth watching.  The title - The Joy Of Less.

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