Brought to you by our friends at Montane
Montane, a leading manufacturer of outdoor apparel based in the UK, is now stocked in Canada. Montane has been the lead sponsor of the Yukon Arctic Ultra Marathon for over a decade and has roots in the Canadian backcountry, so the expansion into Canada was a natural fit.
I recently chatted with Montane-sponsored athlete Jenny Tough. Jenny is a writer and adventurer from Canada. “I do mainly endurance challenges, largely solo and unsupported. I like human-powered adventures, no matter what the sport is, but running is my first love, and that’s how I came to Montane—through fastpacking.”
Wait—what is fastpacking?
“Fastpacking is a blend between trail running and backpacking—it’s unsupported, multi-day running,” Jenny says. “It’s all about the ethos of going ultralight. That’s what separates it from backpacking—you cut down to the bare minimum, everything is completely minimalist, and that’s what’s really beautiful about it. You only have what you need to survive outside and nothing more.”
Jenny acknowledges she’s encountered scenarios where she wishes she had someone to help her, but she’s extremely skilled and has been exploring unsupported since her early twenties. “It really struck me that I’d never been unsupported in anything—there’s always an adult you can call; there’s always someone that can help you—and how empowering that was for me at that stage of my life. If I could give any young woman advice, it would be to go travel, explore, go into the backcountry on her own, with the necessary safety skills.”
Montane approached Jenny after her second “world first”: becoming the first woman to win the Atlas Mountain Race (the Silk Road Mountain Race was her first). Montane was designing fastpacking gear and wanted her expertise and input. “They sponsor my expeditions and I wear the kit,” Jenny explains. “Behind the scenes, I frequently give my feedback to the designers.”
“[Montane] has a really sustainable ethos, the design team is diverse in terms of gender, body type and ability type. . .they understand there are different users,” Jenny says. “I like what they stand for: further, faster. And it’s good kit.”
Despite her impressive feats, Jenny is refreshingly down to earth and encouraging to all adventurers. “You don’t have to be on my level,” she says. “I’m not even on a high level, if I look at other people I admire. Stop comparing. Stop worrying about the rules or the numbers, just do it your own way. I’ve always said, ‘adventure is a creative pursuit.’”
Jenny Tough’s Gear Recommendations
I asked Jenny what gear she’d recommend for Canadian hikers, campers and adventurers. Here’s what she said:
“The main piece has to be my backpack,” Jenny says. “I’ve had it for a couple of years now and put thousands of kilometres on it.” With a snug-fitting harness and multitude of accessible pockets, this pack offers lightweight comfort. “It’s designed to keep you going fast and light,” Jenny says. “When fastpacking, I never want to take off my backpack during the day.”
Jenny’s go-to is this GORE-TEX jacket, designed for fast-paced activities like fastpacking. Features include zippered map-sized mesh-lined hand pockets, an adjustable hem with cinchable drawcord and rip-stop nylon reinforcements.
This article was sponsored by Montane