The Story

Meet brother/sister duo Tosch & Zoë....


Left: Circa 1993 when bowl cuts and barrettes were the height of fashion.

Right: 2024

Tosch is the original instigator, mastermind, and brains behind Free Range Equipment. Born and raised Bend, OR and self proclaimed "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.

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 simple 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.

The Raven. Directly inspired by the five peak traverse. Built for light and fast skimo and ski touring.

Timeout! And enter Zoë...

Zoë 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. She's always been a Free Range Yahoo but officially came on board around the time the Canvas Series sparkled to life. She's the artist liason and all-around gofer at Free Range.

You can (and should) stay updated on DoingZoëThings by following @zoeeroy on Instagram.

But back to The Raven, which became a stepping stone in the process (not to say it won't make a comeback!) and creation of the Canvas Series. Artist Rachel Pohl is a Bozeman buddy of Tosch's and the two schemed the idea of using panels of art to create the packs. That stroke of brilliance and collaboration brings us to where we are today, working with an amazing crew of artists to create functional pieces of art in the form of backpacks, phanny packs, totes, and duffels. It's our way of taking the outdoors where ever we go while adding a splash of color and spunk to the world!

Team building exercises for the leadership crew at Free Range: