It's a new edition of The Cache, your bi-weekly roundup for all things ultralight. New gear, new brands, interesting events, curious conversations, sales, giveaways, and just about anything and everything that we find remotely relevant. This week we look at: Trade wars and Xero Shoes, the life of Baltimore Jack, Deliberate Life Sandals, and Alex Honnold and the body issue!
While it often feels like the ultralight community is partitioned off into its own little ecosystem, it is certainly not impervious to the politics of the outside world. Faced with vastly increased tariffs due to the trade war with China, there are a handful of GGG brands who have been struggling to figure out how to adjust manufacturing so that they can continue to create products affordably. The New York Times sat down with Xero Shoe's founders Lena Phoenix and Steven Sashen and chatted with them about the difficulties they are facing with the increased tariffs. Is USA manufacturing not possible? Is Vietnam manufacturing too unknown? Read about their struggles to adjust to a changing landscape.
There is an abundance of interesting characters in the thru-hiking world, but none perhaps more interesting than Baltimore Jack. He spent 21 summers on the Appalachian Trail, and in the process dedicated himself fully to a space, a community, and a lifestyle. Outside Magazine tells the fascinating story of a legendary presence, a difficult life, and the power that comes with reinvention.
You don't get to become one of the world's most prolific climbers by being out of shape, but holy buckets is Alex Honnold jacked. At 34, Alex Honnold's naked climbing self will be front and center in the 2019 Body Issue. Free soloing just took on a new level of liberation.
A nomadic family who lives in a Skoolie makes incredible sandals that are custom built for the specific size and shape of your feet. For the past 9 months, Adam, Elizabeth and their 6 and 9-year-old daughters have been traveling the country in their converted school bus. Every couple of weeks, they stop for a few days while Adam makes and ships a batch of their Deliberate Life Sandals. Made out of retired webbing and a Vibram sole/footbed, these unique and ultralight sandals require purchasers to complete foot tracing to ensure the best fit.
While currently hiking The Long Trail (their order fulfillment varies based on travel schedule), check out their Skoolie Grown Gear setup!
Walking and talking!