What influenced your passion for nature and the outdoors?
I have always had a strong sense of adventure, a passion for exploration and believed that life should be lived without ever asking yourself “what if?” I grew up in a pretty tough neighborhood where no one camped or hiked and boy scouts were beat up for wearing their uniforms so it took the Army to open my eyes and expand my worldview. I’ve been off and running ever since.
What motivates you to spend so much time outdoors now?
I just feel such a strong connection to the wilderness and love being out there exploring and helping folks successfully tackle new adventures. I believe that there is a deep connection to nature within all of us and I feel incredibly fortunate that I get to make my living helping folks push themselves beyond their comfort zones while making sure they are safe and well cared for.
Do you prefer trekking alone or in a group?
For me the answer is both. I enjoy scouting out new trips solo. My favorite adventure so far was my first trek on the Arctic Circle Trail in Greenland. I didn’t see a single person for 4 days and it’s adventures like that, when you are far away from help and must rely on your experience and skills to survive and accomplish your goals, that I find incredibly rewarding and satisfying. I say both because I live to share my adventures with others. To help those with the spirit of exploration, but maybe not enough experience, enjoy a bucket list adventure that they thought was beyond their limits.
This is a unique year for the Fjällräven Classic USA. Why take part?
Hiking the Classic this year is definitely unique but as a professional guide I feel that I am uniquely suited for the adventure. I make my living showing people ‘the way’ and this is exactly what I’ll be doing on this trek. Through the lens of a camera strapped to my chest I feel as if I’m guiding the world on the highest altitude version of the Fjällräven Classic. Plus you’ll never have to twist my arm to convince me to head off into the mountains for a new adventure.
What are you looking forward to most on this trek?
I’m looking forward to trekking in a new area and trying out some new gear. I’m particularly excited about the Abisko View 2 Tent
. It has a unique design that is roomy and easy to set up and as a bit of a ‘hippie warrior’ I love that the color is ‘UN Blue’.
What challenges do you expect to face?
The altitude is the only real challenge I can see affecting the trip. I’ve been up to high altitude before but over multiple days it can cause fatigue, requiring extra effort and may slow things down. That being said, though much higher than the other ‘Classics’ it’s not like I’ll be setting up camp on the summit of a fourteener so I don’t expect it to affect things all that much.
Is there anything in particular you like about trekking in Colorado and the Rockies?
I love how folks in Colorado really embrace the wilderness/outdoor adventure and make it a part of their lives. For many the epic mountains of the Rockies are what drew them to Colorado in the first place. This also makes Colorado the perfect location for the Fjällräven USA Classic since I’ve witnessed this same passion for the outdoors in Fjällräven’s home country of Sweden as well as in neighboring Norway. It’s an inspiring setting in which to come together and share an adventure.
What Fjällräven products do you like to bring with you on a trek?
I’m a huge fan of the Abisko Lite Shorts
and the Ovik Short Sleeve Shirt
. The Abisko Lite stretch material moves with me and dries quickly if I get caught in the rain while the Ovik Shirt keeps me comfortable and looking professional while out guiding. I love them so much that I own each in multiple colors. Definitely on my must have list!
Do you have a favorite?
While the Abisko Lite Shorts are a longtime favorite I recently had the chance to test out the Abisko Trail Fleece
and it might be my new favorite. It’s the perfect weight to keep me warm while moving on chilly days while the grid section allows sweat to escape as I push for the summit. The thumb holes are a nice touch as well.
What do you hope viewers of the Fjällräven USA Classic livestream take away from the experience?
I hope that after viewing my trek they see that they can do it too, that it is within their reach.
To learn more about Kevin, his life story and his guide services, visit his website http://www.iagadventures.com/
and follow him on Instagram @iagadventures