Take Less. Do More. Our Brand Ambassadors Explain Why.
Take less. Do more. It’s the motto that has driven our work at Gossamer Gear for the last 20+ years. But, to us, and all of our trail family, that motto extends beyond a pithy catchphrase. Taking less and doing more is our life philosophy.
We recently reached out to our Brand Ambassadors and asked them what “take less, do more” really means to them. We wanted to know how it has shaped their lives and their time spent in the great outdoors. We hope their responses inspire your next adventure and challenge you to keep asking how you can lighten your load to deepen your experiences.
Heather “Anish” Anderson
"In an age of consumerism, those who live without, by choice, are rare. I never really had a lot, by modern sense. My family never had enough money to buy superfluous things or keep up with trends in fashion and thingamabobs. I learned frugality from day one. However, it wasn't until I began long-distance hiking that I understood and took to heart that having less could also be a choice, rather than a financial necessity.
As a young woman, I was impacted by the lightness of the trail experience. I purged many of my belongings after my first hike — and again, and again. The more I hiked, the less I wanted. The less I needed. I realized that accumulation of material goods held me pinned to a life that was less, a life spent in an effort to afford the things and a place to hold them. The more closely my possessions matched the contents of my backpack, the happier I became. I found a richer, more fulfilling life by having less.
Taking less into the backcountry isn't as rare as it once was. I hope that in the future, living with less off the trail isn't as rare either."
"Taking less is about making conscious choices. The time when we are able to plan for what is ahead of us.
It is that feeling of collective righteousness when we stay at home during unprecedented times despite our wanderlust, fighting the urge to venture out and explore. It can also be that moment when you pick up a piece of rubbish on the trail — one for the team.
Taking less is the mindset of leaving the world in a better place than how we found it, a trail karma attitude applied to life. Only after removing all the unnecessary clutter do we realize how agile, quick, and responsive we can be as human beings. Living simpler lives and finding true peace, whether outdoors or in everyday social situations, truly allows us to venture farther, explore for longer, and do more of what matters the most."
Carolyn Blessing & Jeff Podmayer
"Backpacking with less has often felt like a way to simplify and narrow the scope of where we focus attention. In this way, it also ends up making us feel like our world gets bigger.
By traveling light, with only what we need on our backs, our connection to what we value more than our stuff feels like it grows. When we backpack with less, we find ourselves getting closer to each other and the living, breathing world around us.
We’d like to think that we’re not sleepwalking through the rest of our lives, but maybe to varying degrees, we are. We do know, though, that in the days we spend with a home on our backs and our feet on granite, or grass, or earth, our attention sharpens. As we move, we notice where our feet hit the ground, how our hats tilt with the sun, how each boulder lines up on a ridge, trying to memorize the calls of birds and how wind sounds through every tree.
For us, the motto — Take Less. Do More. — means a lifelong practice of living into our values and paying attention to what matters"
"To me, 'Take less. Do more.' is an integral part of the mindset of essentialism, which guides my decisions as an explorer in the wilderness, in business, and in life. It is my daily mantra to always choose to do the right thing. 'Take less' isn’t just about being ultralight, it is also about minimizing resource consumption and my ecological footprint. 'Do more' starts with us being our badass selves out there, and extends to doing more good for the trails, our communities, and the environment.
Having practiced a version of taking less and doing more for the good part of my last decade, I’ve found that it has made my life more fulfilling. Out in the wild, whether I'm exploring solo or guiding an adventure, I've found that by taking less, I got to do more as a result. By taking only the essential, I got to focus on belonging, rather than my belongings.
The same mindset applies to business and life. By letting go of the unnecessary, I became freer from distractions and more able to focus on what really matters. It gave me the requisite clarity to recognize the abundance around and within, and that we are never limited by the lack of resources, only our resourcefulness."
"Most societies encourage consumption. Take more clothes, take more fancy cars, take more real estate, and take more toilet paper. For some, he who dies with the most toys wins.
The problem is: the more we take, the less we can do.
When you burden yourself with cars, clothes, and a mortgage, you become a prisoner of those objects that you took. You become a slave of the objects you coveted. As a result, those objects take from you. They take your freedom.
Now, you can do less. You can't quit your job since you're addicted to the income. You can't move to a smaller house because you have too much stuff. You can't do the backpacking trip you dreamed of because you've spent your life collecting objects.
So, take less. Do more."
Arlette “Apple Pie” Laan
"Take Less. Do More.
What does it mean to me? How has it shaped my connection to the outdoors?
The short and expected answer is that taking less allows me to go farther with less fatigue. But, a perhaps less obvious side effect, is that by minimizing my load, I’m also able to take on someone else’s load if need be.
Case in point, my mom at 82 years old still wanted to go backpacking, but couldn’t carry her own gear. By minimizing both our loads, I was able to fit all of it and three days’ worth of food for both of us in my Gossamer Gear Mariposa and still be comfortable. She had a small day pack with a down jacket, water, and some snacks, and it worked out perfectly.
This has also come in handy while guiding. I don’t go ultralight on my guided trips for obvious reasons, but light enough that I can offer to take a guest’s gear if I sense that it will make them feel more comfortable.
Another thing I love about going lighter is that I was able to take out my niece and nephew for their first overnight hike and their shoulders and hips weren’t hurting from excess weight. I wanted them to enjoy it so they would join me again, and going lighter got that mission accomplished!"
"Take less and do more is a mantra which can be applied to almost every aspect of life. In the mountains or on long hikes, it means I am carrying less weight, I can get more out of my day, and not worry about my pack weight holding me back. I am stronger, carrying less. It also means being more aware of the impact I am having on my immediate surroundings while out in the wild, making sure I don’t leave any evidence of my presence.
In a much wider sense, if we take less from the environment, reduce our carbon footprint, and live more sustainably, then in the future we won’t have to worry about the impacts that we are having on the planet. We definitely need to 'do' more and reduce the environmental impacts that we are having on the world. This has never been so clear as now. The consequences of human activities have led to an almost worldwide ban on outdoor activity and adventures being postponed or cancelled, as a result of COVID-19."
Steven “Twinkle” Shattuck
"I feel most connected to nature and the outdoors when I'm somewhere remote, somewhere that took effort to get to. By taking less, I'm able to go farther on a day hike, get farther into the backcountry on a weekend, and squeeze in long distance hikes to shorter time frames. All of this allows me to feel the connection of travelling through landscape and enjoy it with maximum comfort. That is what 'Take Less. Do More.' has meant to me."
Emily "Squishy" Schrick
"I have always been, and still am to some degree, a big consumer. Someone who likes to collect things. Glass votives, pins, patches, even shot glasses at one point.
Fast-forward to my thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, and I realized how content I was with only the things I needed to get through the day. My camera was my only luxury item, and I was totally okay with that. Then, I finished the trail and moved back into my home — into a childhood room where things had accumulated over the years: old sports ribbons, birthday cards from over 10 years ago, instruction manuals for things I didn't own anymore, college textbooks. It was actually overwhelming to stand in that space after thru-hiking, and I immediately purged. And I am continually purging.
Backpacking and carrying only the essentials on trail made me see how little I actually needed to survive and be happy and do some really awesome things and see amazingly beautiful places. I was so much happier backpacking and living on the trail than being surrounded by all of my belongings that I rarely used. And let's be real: if I had to carry all of those random things on trail with me, I wouldn't be able to backpack at all!
So yes, "Take Less, Do More" on the surface is about being able to lighten your load and to fully enjoy nature without an uncomfortable, heavy pack weighing you down, but I see it as more of a life motto, as well. Buy less, live with less, and you'll be free to live your life to the fullest."