Hasn’t it felt like this year has just flown by? Here we are once again approaching the holiday season, and the rush of it all can be a bit dizzying. Where are we heading to in such a hurry anyway? We only get to do this life thing once. Well, it turns out we weren’t the only ones feeling this way. Our favorite snail pal was too.

Slo Sal (he/him) prefers to simply go by Sal. He was born and raised in Austin, Texas, but has glided his way all over the country, slowly enjoying long strolls in nature and stops in trail towns for raucous nights of trivia—he’s your go-to teammate for questions related to U.S. trails, of course!

When he slid his way back into Austin recently, we got to chatting about this holiday season, its pace, and the message we want to send into the world heading into the New Year. He told us about how much change and growth he has experienced these past three years and how he has used meditation to ground himself and thru-hiking to ignite him. It was on the Florida Trail that he realized how, now more than ever, many hikers and backpackers have become obsessed with setting records for the fastest known time (FKT). 

“Why is everyone going so fast?” he asked us. “The best part of this journey is soaking in every step!” 

By the end of our chat, we all agreed that Sal would be the perfect partner for Gossamer Gear this holiday season. He’s here to remind us to slow down and enjoy the journey—while also knowing that your gear doesn’t have to be the thing slowing you down!

Interview With Slo Sal on Partnering With Gossamer Gear to Take the Season Light and Slow

We knew our audience would be just as inspired by Sal’s commitment to slow movement and ultralight backpacking as we were, so we caught up with him to ask more questions about his journey. Get ready for some honest snail wisdom, friends!

Gossamer Gear: Let’s dive right in, Sal! What’s your deepest truth? What wisdom are you here to share with the people?

Sal: That’s a great question! My deepest truth is that I’m always trying to find something new or inspiring out of every situation—even the mundane activities. That’s the best part of slowing down and being present in each moment. I think this is especially true during the holiday season when we’re all kinds of swept up by various festivities. It’s important to enjoy time with friends and family by showing up fully while also taking time for yourself so you can show up fully. 

Inspiring stuff! Are you planning to follow your truth to any particular trails this season? Do you have any favorite winter trails?

Absolutely, I am. I’m taking some friends out on the Western Ridge Trail out at Rock Creek Park near Washington, D.C. Some other winter trails I enjoy may or may not appear on Gossamer Gear’s Instagram throughout the sale, so keep an eye out!

Now, we know you choose your brand partnerships very carefully. Why did you choose to partner with Gossamer Gear this holiday season? What about the brand resonates with you?

I’ve been a fan of Gossamer Gear for years now. As a long distance hiker (and a snail), every gram really does matter. I already have my shell to account for, so anything on top of that needs to be an easy carry, and Gossamer Gear has that covered. Otherwise, I really respect their sustainability efforts and how they inspire and equip everyone to get outside. It’s great to see a company being so dedicated to their community! 

Are there any special deals or games that you’re involved with for the Snail on Trail Sale?

I alluded to it earlier, but there will be a weekly quiz on Gossamer Gear’s Instagram Stories with a photo of me on one of my favorite winter trails each week of the sale. The first 20 people to guess the trail correctly will be rewarded with a special (super secret) prize. Each week equals a new opportunity to win a cool prize, so make sure you stay tuned to GG’s Instagram

That’s going to be so fun! By the way, what’s your favorite piece of gear, and why do you love it so much?

My favorite piece of gear has to be the Limited Edition Vaporwave Kumo 36 Superlight Backpack. The pack is so versatile and light. I can use it for a quick weekend trip or for a not-so- quick 200-mile trip. Plus, the purple color really brings out my eyes. Not kidding! Really though, I’m excited to take this pack out on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) next year. Apparently it’s one of the most popular frameless packs on the PCT. 

Anything else on your holiday wish list this year? 

Yes! I definitely want to snag the Minimalist 19 Daypack for those shorter day hikes. Did you know it’s packable too? So neat. The Feedbag is another one on my wish list. Easy snacking is so important to me. I also wanted to grab the Little Sit Pad for the trips where I want to bring something smaller than the Thinlight Foam Pad to sleep on. 

Any tips for our audience as they gather their gifts or stocking stuffers for loved ones?

There are six weeks of savings, which is plenty of time to grab a pack or shelter at a discount for your loved ones this year. Gossamer Gear is also extending their return policy to 60 days instead of the usual 30 days, which means there’s more time to really dial in that pack fit or set up a shelter (clean surfaces only, of course). No need to rush through the decision-making process for those staple items in your backpacking kit! 

Also, you can never go wrong with buying our Thinlight Foam Pad as a cool, versatile present. 

Follow the Snail on Trail Sale for More Wisdom and Slow-Moving Fun From Sal

What a gift it has been to partner with Sal this holiday season! As he mentioned, he’ll be sticking around throughout our Snail on Trail Sale, which runs from November 14, 2022, through December 25, 2022. Make sure to follow us on social media (@gossamergear) for a chance to guess where Sal hikes next and win fun prizes!

In the meantime, we hope you find some moments over these busy holiday months to slow down and enjoy the journey! As Sal reminds us, there is no time to rush.

November 14, 2022 — Korrin Bishop