Jim Stevens is the Sales Manager at Eureka Canada and has been designing tents and other pieces of camp gear for well over two decades. He’s also been a good friend of mine for many years, and we've shared a few canoe trips in the past. There’s no better person to have on a trip than the person who designed the exact gear you’re using, from the tent to the air mat.
The first time I walked into Jim’s office at Johnson Outdoors, it was like walking into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory or James Bond’s Q laboratory. Samples of tent fabric were taped to the wall, sketches of canoe packs and camp chairs cluttered his desk, and prototypes for packs and bug shelters were strewn about. He might have gone to university to become a gym coach, but he’s spent most of his career getting people outdoors.
Jim’s passion for creating good gear doesn’t stop at the office, however. He loves camping, and when he’s not out on the water casting a line for a trout or bass, he's at camp tinkering away at better ways to make everyone (including himself) more comfortable and efficient out there.
I had the golden opportunity to sit him down last week for one of my Happy Camper Whisky Fireside Chats I’ve been doing online due to COVID-19. I listed a bunch of question, like a violinist would ask a luthier. We went over tent pegs, fabrics, ground sheets (footprints), three-season over four-season. . .some questions were more complex than others, like best-sellers, worst-sellers, surprising innovations and who gets the final choice of the tent colour for the year.
It was an interview of wit, wisdom and wizardry. Check it out on my KCHappyCamper YouTube channel.