The Longest Staff Meeting: Big Agnes and Honey Stinger Hike the CDT

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Employees from brands Big Agnes, Honey Stinger and local Steamboat retailer BAP embarked this month on what might be the longest staff meeting of all time—hiking the length of the state of Colorado from south to north.

And while no paddling was involved, the iconic camping and outdoor performance brands, both born from PL’s hometown of Steamboat Springs, mounted the monumental effort to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the CDT and the 50Th anniversary of the National Scenic Trails Act. Almost every one of the brands’ 70+ employees will participate during the three-month-long tag-team thru-hike. In addition to the hike, the two companies have recently adopted 75 miles of the Continental Divide Trail, including the 1101 trail section near their home in Steamboat.

“The Continental Divide Trail runs right through our backyard here in Steamboat and our employees are regular users, whether that’s by foot, bike, motorcycle or horseback,” said Garett Mariano, marketing director at Big Agnes. “We just launched our 1101 Collection of sleeping bags and we wanted to find a way to give back. We think the CDT trail adoption, along with a company thru-hike is a perfect way to honor this historic trail.”

Employees from each company embarked on June 11, beginning at the Colorado-New Mexico border. Every employee has been given the opportunity to volunteer to complete one or more of 24 sections of the CDT, ranging from nine to 84 miles each. In total, the trip will ascend 145,043 feet and given the multi-model nature of the CDT, will include backpacking, bikepacking and horsepacking options. The trip is slated to end in late August at the Wyoming border.

“Trying to tackle an undertaking like this is ambitious for sure but it will be awesome for product testing, team building and raising awareness of a National Scenic Trail that sits just a few miles from our headquarters,” said Bill Gamber, co-founder and president of Big Agnes. “Attempting to cover the length of the CDT in Colorado is not only a way for us to raise awareness of a unique resource that our staff recreates on often but also a way to inspire our customers to put our gear to the test on their own crazy adventures.”

Journalists and trail evangelists met up with the Big Agnes/Honey Stinger staff to bag the highest peak in Colorado, Mt. Elbert, leading up to the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show in Denver.

Proceeds from the 1101 Collection of sleeping bags will raise upwards of $25,000 for the Continental Divide Trail Coalition (CDTC) and its mission to complete, promote, and protect the CDT. The CDTC will utilize the funds to investigate rerouting a 14-mile section of the CDT from roadway to singletrack along HWY 14 and 40 near Rabbit Ears Pass, Colorado.

Big Agnes will be live tracking and providing updates from the trip at bigagnes.com throughout the summer.

Named for a peak in the nearby Mt. Zirkel Wilderness, Big Agnes, Inc. produces award-winning sleeping bags, pads and tents for every outdoor endeavor. Honey Stinger makes convenient, nutritious and great-tasting honey-based foods including energy and snack bars, protein bars, organic energy gels, organic waffles, gluten free organic waffles, organic chews, and organic waffles and energy chews for kids.

–All photos courtesy of Big Agnes, by Devon Balet.