We’re excited to announce our newest Brand Ambassador, Zelzin Aketzalli, to the Gossamer Gear family! Zelzin is the first known Mexican national to finish the Triple Crown, and continues to work to find ways to inspire others to experience the great outdoors in her home country and beyond.

In fact, we’re teaming up with Zelzin and Trail Mixed to offer a sponsorship for one woman of color to receive ultralight gear and mentorship for backpacking adventures big and small! Want to apply or know someone who should? You can find the application here. You can also learn more about Trail Mixed’s mission here. And, of course, read on to learn more about the badass woman who will be providing the sponsorship’s one-on-one mentorship—Zelzin “Quetzal” Aketzalli!

Interview with Gossamer Gear’s Newest Ambassador Zelzin Aketzalli

We caught up with Zelzin to ask a few questions about how she got started with thru-hiking, what “take less, do more” means to her, what it was like learning English on the trail, and, of course, which product is her Gossamer Gear MVP.

Gossamer Gear: Can you introduce yourself to our community a bit? Where are you based? How’d you get started with lightweight hiking?

Zelzin: My name is Zelzin Aketzalli. I am a 27-year-old communications and electronics engineer. If I am not walking, you will surely find me on a bike or rowing.

I am based in Mexico City. I started hiking when I finished university in December 2016. I wanted my graduation gift to be special, and I wanted it to be unforgettable. At first, I thought I would ride my bike from Mexico City to Patagonia, but I met a couple of cyclists from California who told me about the Pacific Crest Trail. I didn't think twice and chose to venture into this great experience without having prior knowledge.

What are some of the thru-hikes you’ve done and do you have any other big trips planned soon?

Some of the thru-hikes I’ve done include:

  • Pacific Crest Trail 2017
  • Hayduke Trail 2018
  • Appalachian Trail 2018
  • Continental Divide Trail 2019
  • The Great Western Loop Challenge 2020 (attempt canceled by COVID)
  • Arizona Trail 2020

My next trip is to introduce thru-hiking in Mexico, opening new routes.

What does #takelessdomore mean to you?

For me, it means two important things:

  1. For 23 years of my life, I lived surrounded by a materialistic society where the most important thing is to have money and a good job to excel, but since I met the thru-hike, I saw my life change and I learned that living with the essentials makes you happier.

  2. Take less, do more means for me to do things with the essentials, to learn to solve challenges in the mountains with what you have. It is doing more with less equipment, generating confidence in ourselves and growing our survival skills.

You learned English while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. What was that experience like?

At first, it was my biggest fear when I started my walk through the PCT, then it became a challenge to overcome.

I have always been self-taught, so I decided to speak English when I finished walking the PCT.

One of the things that helped me the most is that I am Mexican and I like to socialize with people. I also like to learn from others.

Everyday I learn more.

What’s your best piece of advice for people wanting to get started with long distance hiking?

Have your goal clear and trust yourself.

What product is your Gossamer Gear MVP on the trail and why? 

I like the Gorilla backpack for the compact shape and the comfort.

Follow Along With Zelzin’s Adventures

You can learn even more about Zelzin and follow along with her adventures on Instagram, YouTube, her website, and Facebook. We can't wait for all the trails ahead with our newest Brand Ambassador!

May 10, 2021 — Korrin Bishop