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In the Adventure Biz: Big Agnes

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What’s in a name? For Big Agnes, a camping gear company named for a 12,060-foot peak just north of their offices in Steamboat Springs, a name represents a lot.

“Being in northwestern Colorado, Big Agnes is just one of many incredible places in our backyard,” says Len Zanni, co-owner of Big Agnes. “Everything we make is inspired by where and how we play, so our products are named for local rivers, mountains, and northwest Colorado’s historical people and places. Living so close to these amazing places inspires us to create gear that stands up to the elements and, we hope, inspires our customers to explore and protect the wild places in their own backyards.”

One of their most recent offerings, the 1101 Series of sleeping bags, is named for a stretch of the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) that runs from Rabbit Ears Pass to the Wyoming border. The 1101 Series was released this year in honor of the 40th anniversary of the CDT and the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act, which provided for the creation of iconic trails like the CDT as public resources to be used and enjoyed by all. Big Agnes will pledge $2 from every bag sold to the Continental Divide Trail Coalition to support their efforts to maintain and complete the CDT (1101 bags are available exclusively at REI).

Last year, the team at Big Agnes officially adopted the 1101 section of the CDT through a volunteer program run by the Continental Divide Trail Coalition, the nonprofit organization that works to complete, promote and protect the CDT. Trail adopters pledge to maintain their section of the CDT by doing things like clearing it of brush, making sure it’s well-marked, and monitoring it for damage from storms and other causes. For Big Agnes, taking responsibility for this section of the CDT was an obvious and important way to give back to a trail that has given them so much.

“The Continental Divide Trail is 3,100 miles along the spine of North America from Mexico to Canada,” says Kathleen Lynch, Big Agnes’ sustainability coordinator. “It is wild, desolate, humbling, astonishing and agonizing. From Big Agnes’ headquarters, you can hike 9 miles of spur trails and be on the CDT. The CDT is where the Big Agnes family rides mountain bikes, breaks in new skis, and backpacks to high alpine lakes. These 75 miles of trail have inspired Big Agnes in so many ways.”

And the folks at Big Agnes plan to continue to find inspiration on the CDT. This summer, their staff plans to hike, bike, and horseback ride all 800 miles of the trail in Colorado.

“We want to help drive awareness of the CDT, promote volunteerism and have some fun along the way as a company,” said Len Zanni.

Their hike started June 11 — you can follow along with their journey at bigagnes.com.

Learn more about the Continental Divide Trail Coalition >>

Plan your Continental Divide Trail hiking adventure in Colorado >>

Find more hiking trails in Colorado >>

Photo credits: Noah Wetzel.