Big Agnes employees hike the 740-mile Colorado section of the Continental Divide Trail |

Big Agnes employees hike the 740-mile Colorado section of the Continental Divide Trail

The Big Ages crew atop Mount Elbert.
Courtesy photo

Talk about practicing what you preach — down to the last blister.

Last summer, more than 70 employees of local outdoor gear manufacturer Big Agnes, along with those from sister companies Honey Stinger and BAP, took part in the company’s Border to Backyard Rally, hiking, biking and horseback riding the 740-mile Colorado section of the Continental Divide Trail.

Working around an active forest fire season, they made the trek in celebration of the trail’s 40th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of the National Scenic Trails Act. 

The hike had a few objectives: Big Agnes had just adopted a 75-mile stretch of the trail that runs through Steamboat, and the company wanted to raise awareness and funds for protecting and enhancing the route. The hike also was inspired by the new line of Big Agnes 1101 sleeping bags, named after a section of the trail between Rabbit Ears Pass and Buffalo Mountain.

“Everyone here likes to get outside, get dirty and have fun,” Big Agnes President Bill Gamber said. “The hike gave all our employees the opportunity to do just that with the products we develop and sell.”

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That’s not to say it was all smooth sailing. Just 7 miles into the adventure, the hike was dealt a blow when wildfires prompted the closure of the San Juan National Forest, causing employees to reroute and delay certain sections. A flat tire and dead car battery also complicated matters. 

But the people they encountered more than made up for these glitches.  

“We had a lot of great interactions with other trail users,” participant Kellie Nelson said. “And a lot of them were usually using Big Agnes gear. People know our product.”

The journey also brought the employees closer together. 

“It gave us the chance to be out there on those trails together,” she added. “We got to spend time in the mountains with people we work with, and it is a story we can now all share.”

To reach Eugene Buchanan, call 970-871-4276 or email

By the numbers

Employees participating: 70

Animals joining: 3 dogs, 2 horses, 1 mule

Age range: 11 to 70

Car issues: 3 flat tires, 2 dead batteries, 1 set of keys locked in the car 

Total vertical: 145,615 feet 

Number of bike mechanics: 5

Number of blisters: 123

14ers summited: 3

Big Agnes employees stand at the Wyoming border on the Continental Divide Trail.
Courtesy photo

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