WHO WE ROLL/SKI/PADDLE/CLIMB WITH: BRETT DAVIS
Words and Photos from Brett Davis @bdavis
WHO AM I AND WHAT DO I DO?
My name is Brett Davis, though most friends and my students call me “BD.” I am fortunate to call Durango, CO home where I have lived and worked as the Director of the Outdoor Pursuits program at Fort Lewis College for the past 15 years. I have been working as an outdoor educator for 25 years providing opportunities for college students to get outside and let the deserts, mountains, rivers, and oceans speak to them however they will. It is a pretty awesome job and career!
I grew up as the son of a career military officer in the Air Force, hence we were always on the move from place to place. I believe we moved 13 times before I went off to college. These experiences were fundamental to my adventurous spirit and need to explore. As a kid, basketball was the family game where my dad was a basketball star in his younger years (check out a short film about him, A Ride with Gunner). The sport dominated my life through college when I finally hung up the sneakers and began pursuing outdoor activities in earnest. My father’s other passion was skiing, so, needless to say, I was sliding on snow by the age of three. This amazing sport was my gateway into the wonders of the mountains and being outside.
WHAT DO I DO OUTSIDE AND FOR HOW LONG AND WHERE?
Where to begin? I am a generalist having pursued many different activities for many years. From all disciplines of climbing (rock, ice, alpine, mountaineering), cycling (mountain biking, bikepacking, road touring), backcountry skiing, to paddling (whitewater kayaking, expedition rafting, packrafting), I have put my time into each of these activities with the ability to perform and teach each of them at a high level.
As I have progressed in my skills and experience, my adventures often combine multiple pursuits from my own doorstep or in far off exotic lands. What has become increasingly more attractive are adventures that have a high degree of uncertainty on whether they can be done or if I have the skillset and team support to complete them. It has taken years of doing for me to come to this point, but now I have group of partners where our mindset is one of “just go try and figure it out when issues arise.” This attitude has sent me to remote regions with packrafts, skis, fat bikes, climbing gear and other equipment to see what will happen. So far, so good.
WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH US AND OUR GEAR?
I was given an HMG pack years ago to test for an independent outdoor gear tester. I must admit, when I first put my hands on it, I was skeptical of its durability. I loved its simplicity and the lack of bells and whistle overkill which is often found on many of today’s packs. Living simply is one of my life mottos, so there was an immediate appreciation for one of HMG’s core values. During the testing process of the Windrider pack, my skepticism eroded away to appreciation and trust as the pack took the abuse I subjected it to. To this day, the pack is still an essential member of my pack quiver. I was sold.
It was soon after the pack test, that I found myself on a trip with some HMG rad agents where we were supplied with more HMG gear to put through its paces. Since then, I have been moonlighting with the HMG team as a product tester, photographer and storyteller. A week doesn’t go by where a piece of HMG gear isn’t in my hands, on my back, or over me. I have much gratitude for the position I am in and for the support from a great company.
WHAT THREE ITEMS FROM US ARE YOU MOST OFTEN USING AND WHY?
As stated above, I use my HMG gear weekly. A few of my well-loved items include:
Any Pack—I am fortunate to have a pack for any season or intended use and they get used. Given it is prime time for spring skiing, the new Headwall is carrying my gear up and down steep couloirs. The Daybreak is my daily carrier as I commute by bike with it every day to work. The new Elevate will be making a journey to Columbia with me in a couple of weeks for some light and fast jungle trekking. My Porter has logged some serious wilderness time—most recently in Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness on a pack rafting adventure. The Prism is hands down the most capable ice and alpine climbing pack I have ever used.
Ultamid 2—After two Alaskan trips where I was introduced to the Ultamid, this storm proof and rugged shelter has been my go-to for any nights out where having something overhead is a must. It is light; easy to set-up in a pinch; and provides excellent protection from the elements. Plus, it takes up very little carrying space. Enough said.
Camera Pod—As a photographer, the HMG Camera Pod is my carrying and protection case of choice. It is either hanging from the hip belt of my pack or dangling from the pack straps at sternum height. Easy access is the name of the game in trying to capture compelling moments while on the move. Love it.
Ground Cloth—Since the advent of the HMG Ground Cloth, my trusty Tyvek sheets have been regulated to paint drop cloths. The ground cloth is a trusty companion on nearly every overnight adventure and has kept my air-filled sleeping pads, puncture free. I can’t say enough about how small it packs down and how durable it is. I never leave home without it.
ANY PARTING WORDS?
Working with young adults as I do, I hear a drive to always get from point A to point B at breakneck speed. Life hacks abound. I understand fully about wanting to accomplish one’s goals, but the process in doing so is important. This is where my adventure skillset has been built which has allowed me to venture farther and wider into the unknown for me. Skipping a step or two would not have afforded me the opportunities and experiences I have had in my adventure life. I urge my students to slow down and to relish the journey. It is more important than the summit as it will show you the way for bigger and more committing future endeavors. Be patient and present to the tiny moments that add up to the big moments. Wahoo! Get after it, everyone!