Rik Christensen


Rik is a long time hiker and innovator who has over 50 years of backpacking experience and over 2,000 hiking miles per year since going light. Rik started camping with his family as a 4 or 5 year old in the late 40’s. They used their Dads’ WWII army equipment and Coleman stove/lantern. These were fishing/hiking trips around the Great Lakes. From there Rik entered scouting and did many outings in their programs. Rik proudly earned his God and Country award as a Boy Scout. His turn to light started with a 10 day backpack in the John Muir Wilderness in the 90’s when all Rik and his friends were passed (with our 50 to 60 lb. packs) by a couple with light packs and walking sticks. The three friends, fit bicycle “roadies”, one even being the state champion, were unable to keep up with the ultralighters and became exhausted to the point of being miserable. On returning home, Rik, like so many other ultralight converts, bought Ray Jardine’s book “Beyond Backpacking” and began transforming. Rik loves the simplicity, back to basics, and above all, the comfort of ultralight backpacking. Going into the wilderness is Rik’s way of keeping centered. He calls it going to church as it charges his spiritual batteries. Rik’s conversion to ultralight was not complete right away. it took a few years before he could give up some of his favorite “necessities”. But he came to realize that he’d given up nothing, just substituted for lighter. It’s been Rik’s experience that the easiest converts to ultralight backpacking are those who have no backpacking experience since there is no attachment to the heavier items.

Rik has been involved with the development of a number of Gossamer Gear products. He has participated in the design of the One, the RikSak Packable Daypack, and the Lodge (as well as a number of them still in the outdoor laboratory). If you want to see a pack full of innovative ideas, just ask Rik to show you what’s in his pack.

Home: Summerland, CA

Age: 68

Outdoor Organization Involvement

Member at California Conservation Core | Volunteer at Los Padres Forest Association | Ranger at Volunteer Wilderness Rangers

Favorite Training Grounds

Areas of Washington and California, especially the Los Padres National Forest.

Current Plans

Continue working as a Volunteer Wilderness Ranger in Los Padres. Head to the Sierras and Washington in August. Try to become more of a presence in our Los Padres… folks like seeing us back there.

Favorite Backpack

The Mariposa Lightweight Pack

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