Mike St. Pierre is the founder and CEO of Hyperlite Mountain Gear, a “Made-in-the-USA” outdoor company that specializes in building ultralight backpacking gear. Founded in 2010, Hyperlite Mountain Gear has grown quickly and is emerging as a leader in the outdoor industry. The company takes on the passion exhibited by Mike, and strives to make high-quality products that fulfill their intended purpose. This interview will focus on Mike’s journey with HMG, a recent backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon, and his philosophy as a lightweight adventurer.
Eric: First, some questions about yourself. Where are you from and how did you become interested in backpacking?
Mike: I grew up in northeastern Pennsylvania, but spent a lot of time in Maine visiting my grandparents. A family friend introduced me to backpacking when I was about 18 years old. He invited me to Colorado and taught me a lot about the gear I needed. Through my twenties I started taking it more seriously.
Eric: How do you spend your spare time? (If you have any?)
Mike: I spend most of my time at the company. But I schedule a couple of big trips each year. When I’m not on a trip, I might get one day a week outdoors, and I preserve my base fitness level by regularly going to the gym. Not having a wife and children allows me a bit more time than other people in my position. I also love to cook and have a background in the culinary arts.
Eric: Next, some questions about your company Hyperlite Mountain Gear. Tell us why Dyneema® Cuben Fiber is your company’s material of choice.
Mike: There are major advantages to using Dyneema® (non-woven) Cuben Fiber in the backcountry. It’s the most cutting-edge fabric available in the outdoor industry and is ideal for our minimalist design approach. It’s lightweight, exceptionally durable and waterproof, and thus far superior to other materials being used (it’s 50-70% lighter than Kevlar, yet four times stronger). It seems like a no-brainer to use it considering the conditions you experience on a regular basis out there.