Thanks for taking a moment to check out the new KETL website. I’m Aaron James, one of the small founding crew behind the scenes at KETL. I am thrilled to be writing this note because it means that all the hard work starting this product line has finally made it out on the trail.
I grew up in an active family in Southern Wisconsin, camping on weekends, exploring in the woods around my house, taking family ski trips out west, and visiting family on the East Coast. Getting outside and having fun was a pretty regular activity, and I fell in love with mountain biking riding trails at Kettle Moraine State Park.
Post-University, I moved to Montana and eventually landed a job for a small outdoor company. I filled my summers with rock climbing, ultra-distance trail running, backpacking on weekends; and then ice climbing and backcountry tele skiing in the winter. Working in the outdoor industry introduced me to great people and friends with similar passions for the outdoors. As the recreational activities consumed my free time, it also sent me on the hunt for the right gear. High quality and performance are two important attributes I seek out in each piece of gear I use because I want to have the best possible experience no matter what the conditions. Lots of great experiences and amazing places found me testing my limits of ability and tolerance for risk.
Falling in love with my wife found me moving to Australia, living there for several months, and then a migration back to Montana. Once back, I regularly found myself back on the bike. I joined a team and started racing road, cross and mountain bike. This newly reignited my love for the bike sent me on a mission to match my profession with the sport.
Now, I work for a bike company and travel all over Canada visiting bike shops and distributors while supporting demos, races and festivals. In the last 12 months, I have been coast to coast twice, and ridden many miles of trails in between. While my home is in Minneapolis, I’m on the road about once a month for work, bike in tow. Getting more time on the trail is always the goal, so I ride at sunrise and after sunset if time allows.
When I am prepping for trips I try to keep it simple and pack as light as possible. Hauling bags through three or four airports in a single trip, including the bike, starts to weigh you down quickly. So, I look for efficiency, versatility, and quality in every aspect of the gear and clothing I pack. After endlessly packing and unpacking for the road, one thing become apparent; I had some favorites but am always looking for something better. When I look back at my time in the harness at the crag, on the skin track ascending up, or cruising along a ridgeline in my trial runners, I could not find clothing as good for on the bike.
The Outdoor Industry is much bigger than the bike industry, and I guess it makes sense that there are better clothing options for running, climbing, skiing, and backpacking.
We want to change that.
Working on the first collection of KETL MTN apparel has been an exercise in developing the essentials. Less is more, remove all the superfluous, and keep it simple. The first collection is a representation of what every mountain biker has in their closet, and its what’s in my bag every time I take off.
So, please poke around the website, send us some feedback, share you next ride, and open up a dialog. We are really excited about our first line and all the projects we are working on for the future. The snow is thawing in Northern Hemisphere, and trails are shaping up, I hope that you next ride is a good one, no matter how long or which trail you choose.