Jonathan Owens has managed Backcountry.com's retail space in Salt Lake City for the last six months. He grew up in Texas, but
spent the last six-and-a-half years in Michigan, where he worked full time and studied Systematic Theology and Philosophy. He
and his wife grew tired of spending all their vacation money on trips out West, so they decided to pack up everything and
move to Utah.
Jonathan embodies Backcountry.com's motto: "We use the gear we sell." There are few outdoor sports that Owens doesn't
participate in. From mountain biking to mountaineering to paddling, Jonathan does it all. We asked him to list five pieces of
gear he couldn't live without. After a long pause, he answered, "Hmm. Let me put it to you this way. If my house was burning
down, this is what I'd grab."
Black Diamond FlickLock Expedition Poles
Jonathan has been hiking with a pair of Black Diamond FlickLock Expedition Poles for over 10 years. Years of abusive activities like racing mountain bikes and guiding trips deep into the wilderness have had their ill effects on his hips, knees, and joints. These burly aluminum trekking poles give Owens additional stability and balance, and help him conserve energy over tricky terrain. Whether hiking, skiing, mountaineering, or snowshoeing, he always brings along these 3-section poles.
Hurricane Ridge XCR Trail Running Shoe
Jonathan likes the protection of Gore-Tex, but until he owned the Montrail Hurricane Ridges he couldn't find a pair with
adequate breathability. These Gore-Tex XCR trail running shoes were the answer to his problem. Not only do they breathe well,
but they keep him comfortable. "I have a wide forefoot, narrow heels, and high arches and these shoes still fit perfectly."
Owens wears the Hurricane Ridges while hiking, running, backpacking, and as approach shoes for climbs. "Each pair I've owned
has lasted over a year and a half. Plus Montrail has an outstanding warranty."
Black Diamond Etrier
While aid-climbing, Owens loves the Black Diamond Etrier Six-Steps for their durability and convenience. He has climbed all
over the country in all sorts of weather with the Six-Steps and they've performed with flying colors. Jonathan has stood in
this ladder in crampons during winter ascents and in climbing shoes in the desert sun. "The Six-Steps' lengths are super
consistent. So when one wears out, you just order more with no headaches in the climbing shop."
Grivel Nepal Light Ice Axe
The Grivel Nepal Light Ice Axe is an indispensable part of Owens' mountaineering gear. Jonathan takes the Grivel Nepal Light
with him on every winter climbing and snowshoeing trip. "You can't self-arrest with trekking poles. The Nepal Light swings
well for steeps, is excellent at chopping steps, and just feels great in your hand." Plus it looks badass over his
Julbo Epic Sun Glasses
Jonathan bought the Julbo Epics a couple years ago, and they're still his favorite glacier-travel sunglasses. These shades
give him wrap-around protection, and they are incredibly durable. Plus, Julbo made them ultra dark, but they retain great
contrast and color rendition. On a road trip last year, Owens set his Epics on the roof of his friend's Jeep, forgot about
them, and sped away into the desert. "We didn't know it, but the glasses flew off the roof. Someone six cars back saw the
whole thing happen, picked them up off the pavement, and flagged us down at the next gas station. The frame was a bit dinged
up, but the lenses were perfect."