Rob “QiWiz” Kelly

Rob Kelly
Rob Kelly

The less I carry, the more I enjoy my time on trail. This truth has led me to work diligently to lighten my load. My current base weight is usually 8-12 pounds. I like shaped-tarp shelters and sleeping quilts. I cook on a woodburning backpack stove in the eastern woodlands where I do most of my trips and use Esbit tabs when I go out west.

I get out on trail about once a month, year round. Most outings are local weekend trips in the east, but I get out west for a longer adventure at least once a year. I have backpacked about 2400 trail miles over the last 6 years including a JMT thru hike and 3 weeks on the AT. Internationally I’ve done some trekking in Nepal and the Haute Route in Switzerland. I just love getting to a beautiful place that can only be reached by walking there. It just feeds my soul.

My constant tinkering with gear leads me to always be trying new things. To my surprise, it also led to a cottage gear business, beginning with ultralight titanium trowels. Other products have been added over time. It’s fun to know that backpackers all over the world are using things that I made for them myself.


Home: Cleveland Heights, OH

Age: 60


Outdoor Organization Involvement: Assistant Scoutmaster at Boy Scouts of America |Trip Leader at Northeast Ohio Backpacking Club | Master Educator at Leave No Trace | Life Member at  Appalachian Trail Conservancy | Allegheny Chapter Member at North Country Trail Association

Favorite Training Grounds: As often as he can, he gets out for weekends or even 3-4 day trips in western and central PA, SE Ohio, and WV and VA. His favorite “local” hikes are the Black Forest trail and any trail in the eastern Quehanna Area, both in PA.

Favorite Pack: It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I use my Murmur the most for weekend 1-2 night trips, and my Mariposa the most for extended trips.

I Never Hit The Trail Without: Possumdown beanie and Darn Tough socks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *