Tosch is from Bend, OR and is a true 80 percenter* or hack - I mean jack of all trades, with a penchant for getting lost in the mountains.
*80 percenter - someone who graduates to 80% of mastery for a certain activity before moving on to the next thing. Because the last 20% to mastery takes 90% of the work and only accounts for 10% of the fun.
Far Left: Copyright John Blake Graham
In 2011, Tosch was "attending" school in Bozeman, Montana and "studying" mechanical engineering. More importantly, he had registered for a ski mountaineering race at Bridger Bowl but did not have an appropriate skimo pack, nor the appropriate amount of money to buy one. So, he dusted off the old Kenmore sewing machine, designed and drafted a pattern, and stitched together a sketchy-looking pack. It was a massive success.
The progression of design from left to right. Said sketchy-looking pack and humble beginning of Free Range Equipment can be found on the far left.
Why backpacks you ask? At the age of 13, our gear junkie founder owned more packs than he was old. Yet, he always gravitated to the light and simples ones. Much later (2011), during a single day five-peak traverse of the Three Sisters, Broken Top, and Bachelor, frustration finally hit home with his adequately light and simple packs with inadequate features.
The summer of 2012 brought Tosch back to his hometown of Bend, OR with a decision: stay in school, or sew backpacks. While packrafting the middle fork of the Salmon, he read a book called "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho and subsequently dropped out of school. Tosch never liked school anyway.
The result? Free Range Equipment- simple sport-specific backpacks for light and fast adventure in the mountains. Made in the US, at our packtory in Bend, OR.
The Raven. Directly inspired by the five peak traverse. Built for light and fast skimo and ski touring.
Zoe is the older sister to Tosch. Despite a similar case of sports-ADD (it must be genetic?), Zoe pursued a career in nordic skiing for about 10 years. Summer of 2014, she stopped skiing to become the CFO or Chief Fun Officer at Free Range Equipment.
You can (and should) stay updated on Zoe's life by following doingzoethings.tumblr.com.
Team building exercises for the leadership team at FRE.