Where: Golden, BC
Year Established: 2018
Owners: Dan & T Durston
Premium lightweight backpacking equipment including tents and packs.
Give us a brief description of your manufacturing processes and philosophy.
My design philosophy starts by relying on my personal hiking experience to inform an in-depth understanding of hiking gear performance and limitations. I then pursue improvements and solutions by reasoning from the first principles of geometry, physics, and materials science. For example, our most popular product – the X-Mid tent – eliminates the majority of the complexity found in other trekking pole supported tents. That improves the user experience (ease of pitching), while also creating a lighter and higher performance tent.
Our core strength is design, so we outsource manufacturing to people with expertise in that. Our tents are built by the same factory that makes premium tents for other companies like MSR and Mountain Hardware. I work with this factory to perfect the prototypes, and then our manufacturer proceeds to make a product run.
How many employees and/or contractors do you work with?
Durston is made up of myself (Dan Durston) and my wife (T), where I do most of the design work and also many other things (website, customer emails), while T helps with social media, design, and gear testing. We have a company website and get a lot of customer inquiries, but thus far our products are sold through a partnership with Drop.com. Drop funds the production runs, handles sales, marketing and warranty, and we collaborate on customer service. They have a large reach which has been valuable to getting the product out there and established. We may continue with this model, but we are also in the process of creating new products that Durston Gear will sell exclusively through our website.
What brought you to the Kootenays and how long have you been here?
We moved to Golden in 2018 to get away from the frenzy of the coast (previously we were in Whistler/Squamish/Victoria). We wanted to move somewhere surrounded by mountains but with a laid back, small town feel – which is most places in the Kootenays. We picked Golden because it’s close to world-class backpacking in the Rockies, and is surrounded by places to ski, climb and bike. It’s the right size town for us and has a great outdoors community.
Tell us about the history and relative work experience of your founder(s).
I’ve been a lightweight backpacking enthusiast for over a decade, which led to increasingly longer hikes such as thru-hiking the 4200km Pacific Crest Trail in 2014. Since then I’ve competed in adventure races, set fastest known time records on popular hiking routes, and with my wife, competed the first yo-yo (out and back) thru-hike of Canada’s Great Divide Trail (1100km x 2). My passion for backpacking combined with my personality for obsessing over backpacking gear led to me modifying and then creating my own gear.
Describe the mission, vision, goals, and aspirations of your company.
We want to create backpacking gear that genuinely optimizes the user experience by virtue of being light, high quality, and extremely well thought through to the smallest detail. Right now we only have two tent models and one backpack, so our goals over the coming years are to continually refine those products while expanding our tent lineup to cover several other classes. I have far more ideas for tents than I expect I can realize in the near future.