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Backpacker Radio

Mar 13, 2023

In today's episode of Backpacker Radio presented by The Trek, we are joined by Alex Brown, known on trail as GPS. In addition to thru-hiking the CDT- with a Nolans 14 bonus- and more recently, the Pfiffner Traverse, we go deep on gear talk with GPS, as he is a certified gear nerd with a passion and deep knowledge of material sciences. We talk about some of the drawbacks of Dyneema Composite Fabric, what gear fabrics he's most excited about, when ultralight goes too far, and more. We wrap the chat with a discussion around the Ethics of Geotagging on Social Media.

We close out the show with a new patent-pending, the triple crown of small things that are never not funny, and a new stupid thing of the week.

Enlightened Equipment: Use code “TREKPOD10” for 10% off Enlightened Equipment’s Stock Revelation Quilt or Torrid Jacket at

Gossamer Gear: Use code “BACKPACKERRADIO” for 15% off at

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Treecard: Use code “BACKPACKER” for 1,000 free reward points at


Interview with Alex “GPS” Brown

Time stamps & Questions

00:04:48 - QOTD: What’s something you can’t find at a store that’s been driving you crazy lately?

00:11:18 - Reminders: Vote for BPR in the Sports Podcast Awards! 

00:12:53 - Introducing GPS

00:13:27 - Tell us about architecture!

00:16:15 - Why did you want to become an architect?

00:17:26 - What got you into backpacking?

00:19:00 - What did you learn in the Boy Scouts?

00:20:38 - Where did the Long Trail come on your radar?

00:22:52 - What made you decide to hike the CDT as your first thru-hike?

00:24:18 - How did you prepare for the CDT?

00:25:19 - How did you decide to use a tarp tent?

00:27:30 - Is DCF overrated? Read Alex’s Trek article on the subject

00:30:12 - How does your interest in this overlap with your architecture skills?

00:32:19 - Is it bad to fold up your tent?

00:33:10 - What tents would you recommend for a modest budget?

00:34:37 - Do you think there will be a future material that surpasses what’s currently available?

00:38:55 - Are there any companies that are using the ultra fabric?

00:40:54 - How do you recommend people store their tents?

00:43:28 - Did you get a chance to test the Big Agnes DCF tent?

00:46:05 - Tell us about your CDT pack

00:51:23 - Tell us about your sleeping bag and pad

00:55:25 - Tell us about the Nolans 14 portion of the CDT

00:56:01 - Give us the Nolans 14 basics

00:57:55 - What was the inspiration for making the CDT more difficult?

00:59:04 - Discussion of the Wind River High Route

01:00:12 - Were you surprised by how smooth things had gone?

01:00:48 - How did you manage your weight and diet on the CDT?

01:03:30 - What did your town days look like?

01:05:30 - How would Chaunce eat 5,000 calories in a day?

01:07:57 - What were the highlights from New Mexico?

01:09:08 - What was your longest mile day on the CDT?

01:11:19 - Tell us about the Pfiffner Traverse

01:15:07 - Was it nerve-wracking to do your first solo trip with paper maps?

01:16:05 - Who would you recommend to the Pfiffner Traverse?

01:17:03 - What are you planning for 2023?

01:17:40 - What do you do on the weekends near Aspen?

01:19:25 - What’s your stance on geotagging? Read Alex’s Trek article on the subject

01:25:10 - Discussion about age and use of social media

01:29:09 - What do you love about the X-Mid?

01:30:50 - Have you thought about designing your own gear?

01:31:27 - What does your ideal kit look like?

01:35:26 - Tell us about shoes

01:39:58 - What are some examples of stupid light? Read Alex’s Trek article on the subject

01:42:38 - Why do you say you don’t need to overplan for a thru-hike?

01:45:41 - How did you get your trail name?


Trek Propaganda

Patent Pending

Triple Crown of small things that are never not funny

5 Star Review

New Chuck Norris Award Patron Benefit


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A super big thank you to our Chuck Norris Award winner(s) from Patreon: Andrew, Austen McDaniel, Austin Ford, Brad & Blair (Thirteen Adventures), Brent Stenberg, Christopher Marshburn, Dayne, DoGoodPantry, Greg McDaniel, Kristina Diaz, Matt Soukup, Mike Poisel, Morgan Luke, Patrick Cianciolo, Sawyer Products, and Tracy “Trigger” Fawns.

A big thank you to our Cinnamon Connection Champions from Patreon: Dcnerdlet, Jacob Northrup, Jeff LaFranier, Keith Dobie Jr, Liz Seger, and Peter.