Chris Wallace joined our team as Backpacking Light's Wilderness Trekking School Manager in 2010. We're pleased to welcome him aboard as our new Gear Editor to see us through 2012 and beyond!

Chris brings a unique blend of analytical, perceptive, and experiential talents to this position - firmly grounded on his growth in and participation from our community, and in our school (as both a student and an instructor), for several years. Chris is best known for pushing the limits of ultralight in contexts that require extreme levels of fitness and tolerance for the unknown, rapidly evolving skill in gear design, manufacturing, and do-it-yourself projects, and an awareness of the wider market for ultralight gear that allows him to fairly evaluate trends and opportunities for lightweight hikers.

In appointing Chris to this position, my primary goal was to increase Backpacking Light's reputation as a voice of authority in the analysis of lightweight gear. In 2012, we will:

  • Increase our coverage of cottage industry gear;
  • Increase the extent to which we evaluate gear under harsh conditions (I have promised Chris a “test-to-failure” budget);
  • Increase the fairness and objectivity of Backpacking Light’s whole review program by not only reviewing the products we think are worthwhile, but also by reviewing products that we feel have serious limitations and shortcomings;
  • Increase the engagement of our readers during (not just after) our review process.

In that context, we expect to:

  1. Increase the visibility and awareness of the cottage industry as providing high-performing, viable, and useful product alternatives to what is available from specialty and mass market retail outlets;
  2. Challenge the status quo of performance expectations for lightweight gear in order to urge the industry as a whole to produce goods that are more durable, higher performing, more repairable, more sustainable, more soundly designed, and lighter in weight;
  3. Educate our readers not only about the benefits and limitations of lightweight philosophy and techniques, but also about the benefits and limitations of every bit of gear we review. It is my sincere desire that Backpacking Light helps you make informed decisions about what you spend your money on. We are entering a new age where waste in spending and in gear disposal are no longer acceptable options, and we’d like to help you travel down a path that keeps you in the backcountry more and working overtime less.

Please join me in welcoming Chris to the team, and for the exciting changes he will bring to Backpacking Light in 2012!

Ryan Jordan


  • Introduction
  • A Letter From Chris
    • Multi-Part Rolling Gear Reviews
    • Expansion of Technique-Related Content
    • Exploration of Other Modes of Backcountry Travel
    • The Use of Alternative Media

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