For the month of November I am highlighting some of my favorite hiking based companies, giving readers a closer look into the people who make the gear they love on the trail as well as products that remind us of the trail when we can’t be there. Today we are taking a closer look at Backcountry Ninjas, a trail inspired t-shirt company. Learn about “the COOLEST t-shirts in and outta the woods” from owner Kevin ’30 Pack’ Conley.
Tell us a little bit about your background as a backpacker.
30 Pack: In 2012, I hiked the Appalachian Trail. In 2013 the Pacific Crest Trail, during my hike I raised 10,000$ for a children’s charity in DC called For Love Of Children or FLOC. This year my girlfriend and I went on a 20,000 mile road trip, through Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Nevada and Arizona. We went to over 20 National Parks, Monuments and countless Forest and cool places, a lot of backpacking and exploring. From the road trip we made a 2014 Southwest calendar, its amazing, epic and inspiring called Chasing The Sun.
Where did the name Backcountry Ninjas come from? What does it say about your company?
30 Pack: My ex-girlfriend and I were cross-country skiing in Idaho tossing up ideas about a company name, I can’t remember the other names but we kept throwing out ideas when she blurted out Backcountry Ninjas, I looked at her with a big smile we laughed and that was it. My friends and I, on the PCT did a lot of karate in the woods, just for fun, kicks, and stuff to make eachother laugh and I think that has somewhere to do with it. Also, I spend a lot of time in the Backcountry and are designs are inspired by the woods.
When did you begin the company and what inspired you to create shirts and other clothing items?
30 Pack: We launched Backcountry Ninjas in February of this year and had started working on it in December and January. I was inspired to make a tee shirt company for thru hikers and adventurers because I have never seen anything like this before. I wanted to create a one stop shop for lovers of the outdoors and raise money for the trails we love in doing so.
*Backcountry Ninjas donates 3% to the Pacific Crest Trail, 3% to the Appalachian Trail, and 1% to For the Love of Children
You have a relationship with current thru hikers that most companies don’t. How do you connect to those on the trail?
30 Pack: I spent a good amount of time on the PCT this year, I have two thru hikes under my belt and know a bunch of thru hikers. It was easy to get the word out because people believe in what we are doing and love our stuff. I also did some trail magic along the PCT and I love thru-hikers!
Who designs the shirts in the Backcountry Ninjas team?
30 Pack: We have two friends of mine, whom hiked the PCT in 2013 that do our designs: Rocket Llama and Doodles. They are fantastic individuals and awesome to work with. I’m very grateful to have such awesome people on my team!
What makes your site different than any other online retailer?
30 Pack: We raise money for the trails and kids, we are authentic, we are grassroots, and strive to provide awesome customer service and a personal touch. We color on all of our packages and write personal thank you notes, we do monthly winners and give out free shirts. We love our customers and prefer to call them friends. We want a world of Ninjas and people who love to explore and represent what they do with awesome shirts, hats, calendars etc.
|My Backcountry Ninjas package!
What may we see in the future? Are there any new designs being worked on?
30 Pack: We have a new Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail shirt coming soon, maybe in December. We have several other designs we will launch in 2014. Those are secrets though, but you’ll love ’em, we put hard work into every design!
|My personal favorite shirt!
What is your favorite outdoor location?
30 Pack: That’s an impossible question! It makes me smile because oh there are so many. Big Bend National Park in Texas holds a special place in my heart, Maine, Virginia, Montana, Washington and Utah, Buckskin Gulch is majestic, The High Sierras have my heart. I want to explore more in the Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho area. I love it all, no matter where it may be when I’m out in the wild, away from the lights and noises and distractions – that is where I find true peace and true happiness. I come alive when I’m outside, I breathe better and have great ideas and get inspired. One day I live in the woods, in a small cabin, away from a town.
What is your one “must have” item you carry with you backpacking?
30 Pack: sometimes I bring a frisbee, sometimes a badmitten set, checkers, sometimes all three. I like to have someone special to share my time with, so a friend.
Last modified: September 2, 2017