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Trail Days: Celebrating the People and Traditions of the Appalachian Trail

May 14th, 2015

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The Appalachian Trail is one of the longest continuously marked footpaths in the world, measuring roughly 2,180 miles in length. The Trail goes through fourteen states along the crests and valleys of the Appalachian mountain range from the southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Georgia, to the Trail’s northern terminus at Katahdin, Maine.

Known as the “A.T.,” it has been estimated that 2-3 million people visit the Trail every year and about 1,800–2,000 people attempt to “thru-hike” the Trail. People from across the globe are drawn to the A.T. for a variety of reasons: to reconnect with nature, to escape the stress of city life, to meet new people or deepen old friendships, or to experience a simpler life. Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Osprey Packs has proudly attended AT Trail Days for more consecutive years (12 in total!) than any other Osprey-sponsored event. Mid-May is a gorgeous time of year on the Appalachian Trail and the city of Damascus, VA is full of some of our favorite people: thru-hikers! Thru-hikers typically hike a long-distance trail end-to-end (like the Appalachian Trail) and are a special group of outdoor enthusiasts whose commitment to backpacking parallels our own. Backpacking is an activity deeply ingrained in our company heritage — our founder and Head Designer Mike Pfotenhauer’s passion for backpacking was one of the reasons he founded Osprey Packs 41 years ago in 1974.

Thru-hikers continually inspire us with their commitment, tenacity and gumption, which is one of the reasons we support backpacking and community-oriented events like Trail Days and initiatives like the Thru-Hike Syndicate. We look forward to the opportunity to give back and support the hikers’ efforts by providing the them (and larger community of Damascus) with free gear repairs and much more during the fun Trail Days celebration May 15-17, 2015.


 

Trail Days gets better every year — here are just a few reasons you should stop by the Osprey booth:

“Long Start to the Journey” Premiere:

Join us for a documentary film premiere directed by Osprey Ambassador and filmmaker Chris Gallaway who documented his efforts to complete the AT Trail in “The Long Start to the Journey”

Date: Friday, May 15th, 2015

Time: 9:00 PM

Location: Rock School

The Long Start to the Journey – Trailer 1 from Horizonline Pictures on Vimeo.

Free onsite gear repairs: We’re offering gear repairs for all AT Thru-hikers at Osprey’s Tent City location for the duration of the event, Thursday through Saturday, 9AM-6PM. Come out and see the work of Master Repair Tech Jason “Jimi” Boblitt (he also shreds on Air Guitar!) and PackMaster Otis, who after years of practice has perfected his amazing “Kung-Fu” Pack repair techniques. Stop by, get your gear trail-ready and see the masters at work!

The Crew at Work

“Guess Your Own Pack Weight” Contest: How much do you think you’re luggin’ around in that pack of yours? Well, we can tell you! Guess within a pound of your pack weight and win some Osprey goodies! Giveaways happening Thursday through Friday – so bring by the pack!

Osprey’s “Repair Your Own Pack” Clinic:

NOTE: Limited Spots! The first 20 to sign up will receive free food, drinks, an Osprey Packs Repair Kit, Custom Osprey Pint Glass and custom Osprey hat – make sure you sign up!AG Fit Station_Final_resend

Date: Friday, May 16th, 2015

Time: 4:00 PM-5:00 PM

Location: Osprey Booth

Our Team will go over everything in our BC Repair kit along and how to use it while out on the trail:

  • Removing Buckles
  • Installing Quick Attached buckles
  • How to repair a tent pole with our tent pole section (something that McNett sells)
  • How to repair and stitch a hole in both mesh and fabric
  • We will go over the whip stitch
  • How to repair a zipper in the field
  • How to repair a zipper slider in the field
  • When to use duct tape (and when NOT to)

Our Anti-Gravity Fit Station: Revolutionary. Innovative. And maybe a little bit magic: our award-winning Anti-Gravity™ Suspension system provides seamless comfort that contours the body allowing a trail experience like no other.  Combined with custom capability and a full feature set, the Atmos AG™  sets a new standard in ventilated backpacking. Interested in what it feels like? Stop by our booth to try AG for yourself at our Anti-Gravity Fit Station.


For more information over Trail Days, check out their site and Facebook:

Schedule

Vendors and Exhibitors

Facebook


2015 Thru-Hike Syndicate

The 2015 Thru-Hike Syndicate is out on both the Appalachian & Pacific Crest Trails!

We’ve once again partnered with our friends at Vasque Footwear, Darn Tough Vermont Socks, NEMO Equipment, & LEKI to support a group of 20 incredible thru-hikers on the AT and PCT.

Follow the Thru-Hike Syndicate on Instagram for updates from the hikers along their journeys to complete two of North America’s most epic hikes.

 

Facts About The Appalachian Trail

Information via Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Support the AT Conservancy

The A.T. was completed in 1937 and is a unit of the National Park System. The A.T. is managed under a unique partnership between the public and private sectors that includes, among others, the National Park Service (NPS), the USDA Forest Service (USFS), an array of state agencies, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and 31 local Trail-maintaining clubs.

  • About 2 to 3 million visitors walk a portion of the A.T. each year.
  • The A.T. has hundreds of access points and is within a few hours drive of millions of Americans, making it a popular destination for day-hikers
  • “Thru-hikers” walk the entire Trail in a continuous journey. “Section-hikers” piece the entire Trail together over years. “Flip-floppers” thru-hike the entire Trail in discontinuous sections to avoid crowds, extremes in weather, or start on easier terrain
  • 1 in 4 who attempt a thru-hike successfully completes the journe
  • Most thru-hikers walk north, starting in Georgia in spring and finishing in Maine in fall, taking an average of 6 months
  • Foods high in calories and low in water weight, such as Snickers bars and Ramen Noodles, are popular with backpackers, who can burn up to 6,000 calories a day
  • Hikers usually adopt “trail names” while hiking the Trail. They are often descriptive or humorous. Examples are “Eternal Optimist,” “Thunder Chicken,” and “Crumb-snatcher”.

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Trail Days 2014: Celebrate the Spirit of the Appalachian Trail in Damascus

May 15th, 2014

Trail Days 2014 | Osprey Packs

The year 1987 was the 50th anniversary of the Appalachian Trail, which passes right through Damascus. That year, members of the Town Council decided to celebrate the anniversary with an event for hikers. At that time, there was no town park in Damascus, so the small festival was held in the parking lot of the town hall and behind the bank. The festival was held again the following year, the year after that, and every year that’s followed, growing to the tens of thousands. In the early years of Trail Days, a street was sometimes roped off for a dance, but there were no vendors. There were only the hikers and the cyclists who followed, who inspired the town to rebuild its economy, which had been devastated by flooding and the loss of most of its industry. Read more…

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The Annual Trail Days in Damascus, VA

May 14th, 2013
Come celebrate the AT with Osprey

Come celebrate the AT with Osprey

Osprey will once again be attending Trail Days from May 17-19 in gorgeous Damascus, VA and we’re stoked to see you there!

Throughout the event, Osprey and hikers will be celebrating the art of hiking with live music, a hiker parade and free meals to feed the thru-hikers that may be stopping on their way thru to Mt. Katahdin. Whether you are a thru-hiker yourself or just in town for the weekend, be sure to stop by the Osprey tent for free pack and gear repair all day, every day! We will have our warranty/repairs team on hand to provide your repair needs to get you back on the trail. We will also be a full display featuring all of our newest packs and a smokin’ 20 percent off retail sale through Mt. Roger’s Outfitters to kick-off hiking season! Don’t forget to swing by the booth to learn how you can win a free pack, happening daily throughout the weekend.

Last but not least, dont miss a live perfomance from Old North State at the Osprey’s Tent City Location! Friday, May 17 and Saturday, May 18 from 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Check them out!

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A Slice of Americana–backpacking style. Welcome to Trail Days…

May 13th, 2010

The hikers have begun to descend on Damascus.  We find ourselves in a world of kilted bald men with unkempt beards.  The women tend to be more, shall we say, varietal.  Yes, it’s another Trail Days and to say Damascus will never be the same is a misnomer, because quite evidently, it never was.  Crispy Critter, Buttercup, Blue Eyes, Dead Man Walking – just a few of the folks that have stopped by and said hello today.

This is the largest trail event (probably in the world) for one of the longest trails in the world.  It represents a desire that we all hold somewhere – to unplug and escape for months, to be in a place (both mentally and physically) where time does not matter.  It also represents the proverbial slice of Americana, the kind of thing that can only happen in – America.

Over the next few days we’ll repair dozens and dozens of packs – Osprey and any other brand.  We’ll meet more folks by trail name only and yes, we’ll see more kilts and beards – none of them on women.  This is our time to literally get in the trenches, to truly learn what our customers need our packs to do.  Every success and failure of our product is amplified here. What better place than the AT to learn if that pack really does what it is supposed to do?

Written by Gareth Martins, Director of Marketing

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