HPG Woods Runners

One of the very best things about Hill People Gear is meeting fellow travelers who we never would have run across otherwise. People who share many of our values and views about the world in general and also about outdoor gear. We've been blessed to meet some of our truest friends this way.

Many of these people are also professional users - they have a good depth of experience in the field and choose to use our gear for their day job. Sometimes one of these professional users will go out of their way to promote our gear, help us as a company, and spread the word. By their own choice and actions they become brand ambassadors, or HPG Coureurs des Bois.

We don't have a formal program. Just like their historical namesakes (the "woods runners" of Canadian frontier fame), these are unique individuals who go their own way on their own terms and can be trusted to represent our gear fairly - both the good and the bad. They mostly do get discounts on gear, but there is no set amount and they started out as customers paying full price. This is our way of recognizing their contribution more publicly.

Kenneth Galbraith

Kenneth Galbraith

Ken Galbraith comes from Scots-Appalachian mountain stock. He learned about the hills from his father and grandfather as a boy.  As is often the case with young men of that background, he decided to join the service.

Ken ended up in the 10th Special Forces Group where he learned military mountaineering and skiing including completion of the Swiss Military Mountaineering School and time spent as one of the original instructors in the USASOC Mountain Master Trainer Course in Colorado. This heavy involvement with skiing and mountaineering equipment over nearly 3 decades gives Ken a historical perspective on the evolution of outdoor equipment that is both valuable and rare. In addition to mountaineering, Ken trained as an SF medic, assaulter, and military free fall parachutist.

After his time in 10th Group, Ken had a couple of other SOF assignments and also a stint as a DOD contractor. Over the course of his 25 year career in the US Army, he served in Desert Shield/Storm, the Balkans, East and West Africa, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He retired as a Sergeant Major in 2010. 

Currently, Ken is a member of a Personnel Recovery Unit for the DOJ, where he teaches Law Enforcement personnel preparedness, survival, land navigation, and situational awareness skills to help them survive isolating events in austere environments worldwide.  He and the other members of the Personnel Recovery Unit respond to assist and advise DOJ leadership in the event of an emergency.  He also teaches military mountaineering skills to select LEO personnel to enhance their effectiveness in mountain environments on overseas missions.

Ken continues to be active in mountain sports, particularly with alpine climbing and backcountry skiing.  After a full career using a wide variety of both military and civilian outdoor gear and clothing, Ken has learned what products will handle the rigors of rugged backcountry use and what ones fall short.  He believes that having the proper equipment in the outdoors can often make the difference between a successful backcountry outing and a life threatening survival epic.

You can follow Ken’s backcountry wisdom on our forum, where he posts under the name Alpendrms.

Andrew Isherwood

Andrew Isherwood

Andrew Isherwood is a native of England who served seven years in the British Army as part of the Royal Engineers. He left the Army in 2012 after a tour of Afghanistan specialising in EOD.

After Andrew's service he earned his Mountain leader certification and the following Search and Rescue specialisations -- Basic Trauma and Casualty Care (B.T.A.C.C), Search Technician, Bank Side Search, Flood Responder, Advanced Flood Response, and Mountain Rescue foundation course.

Andrew is currently an active member of Cheshire SAR team and a 1:1 youth mentor teaching climbing and outdoor skills. In addition to his professional outdoor responsibilities, he is a keen mountaineer and avid rock climber. Andrew considers the correct equipment vital in his line of work where he is often alone for extended periods of time in harsh weather conditions. His equipment reviews and photography can be found at www.valleydeepmountainhigh.tumblr.com.

STUART

Stuart

Stuart grew up as an expat in Saudi Arabia, his earliest memories are of travelling through the Rub' Al Khali desert in a 74 Chevy Blazer and being lowered into wells to see if they were dry. In his early teens he became determined to defy the school career adviser’s assertion that being an Adventurer was not a viable career path, to this end he left home at 16 and set off to live a life on his terms; which has seen him hike the Skeleton Coast solo, wander the jungles of Borneo amongst the last nomadic Penan, track big game through the Kalahari with the Ju/'hoansi Bushmen and be ritually tattooed by Iban headhunters.

Along the way he has accumulated an eclectic array of qualifications and experience, at one time or another he has managed an African game reserve, been the curator of the San Cultural History Museum in Botswana, organised remote healthcare logistics for NGO’s in South East Asia, trained anti-tiger poaching patrols in Malaysia and acted as an Researcher/fixer for the BBC. He has had the good fortune to encounter mentors who have been very generous with their time and wisdom, including an illuminating 5 year apprenticeship with Mors Kochanksi in Canada, which saw him formally recognised as a Wilderness Living Skills & Survival Instructor. Stuart holds guide certifications in Equatorial, Subtropical and Boreal Biomes and is a qualified W-EMT, Motor Vehicle Mechanic, Diving Instructor, Expedition Leader and Swift Water Rescue Technician.

When not exploring remote corners of the globe he works as an Expedition Skills Instructor for several training providers, delivering subjects as diverse as Remote & Austere Motor Vehicle Mechanics, Drown Proofing and Wilderness Survival.