Matt and Kersten have been working with us since we could count the number of our employees on a single hand. They’re fun, funny, and, well...rad. There’s no other word for it. We were drawn to them for their talent and their approach to the outdoors, and lucky for us, the feeling was mutual. They were New Outdoor before we ever called it The New Outdoor™ (a term we’ve been using internally for a few years now.) Seven years down the road, we figured it was time you get to know them as more than just the owners of a stunning 1984 FJ60 Toyota Land Cruiser.
Oh, why hello there, we are Kersten and Matt and we are both Masters of None. We were both lucky enough to grow up in places that easily allow for outdoor recreation: Kersten in Asheville, NC; and Matt in Frisco, CO. This means that we both had the great privilege of being introduced to many outdoor activities at a young age and were able to become mediocre at many of them. We trail run, but don’t really race (unless you count a costumed turkey trot 5k here and there). We bike, but slowly, and usually in jorts. We rock climb, but Kersten is terrified of heights. We backcountry ski, but mainly just to travel through terrain we love. We are decidedly amateur in many respects, a space where we think the most fun can be had. It is a space where you can be silly, where you can explore and learn and where you push your own personal limits. So, let’s rephrase that, we aren’t Masters of None, we are Masters of Fun.
We got involved with Topo early, when the company was only 3-4 people - the only products were the Rover Pack, the Trip Pack, and the Klettersack. Their mission immediately resonated with us, partially due to the aesthetic nostalgia for the hand-me-down gear that allowed both of us our start in the outdoors, and their values being more aligned with having fun outdoors in gear that works well in any application. This fit well with our approach to the outdoors. We are both decidedly amateur, and while the allure of “ultralite” and “performance” is undeniable, you quickly learn that sacrificing five minutes on a mountain bike ride is worth riding in jorts, or carrying five extra pounds of rice crispy treats and throwing knives on a backpacking trip to give it that little X factor is never a bad idea. In other words, the best gear is the gear you have and a little fun at the cost of some extra weight is always worth it.
We were lucky enough to work on and off with Topo from the early days (the original Trip Pack that Matt used for everything from climbing to backcountry skiing is currently in retirement as his aunt’s favorite day hiking bag). As the company grew and new products came along, they all had the same feel: “use this and have fun.” Whether it was Kersten stuffing a Rover Pack to the absolute brim for her first backcountry ski trip, or our matching Hawaiian party shirts that get more use than any of the technical apparel we have accumulated over the years, it was always about less gear that could do more.
Kersten is a freelance producer and photographer with a deep love for Guy Fieri and baking bread. Matt is a professor of Molecular Biology, but many claim that his greatest attribute is a genetic predisposition for thick, dark facial hair. We love the outdoors, but it is by no means something that our careers revolve around. Instead, the outdoors is (for us, and a vast majority of others) an after-work escape, a place to socialize, and a way to tune out for a bit.
Most outdoor marketing defines “success” in the outdoors as being the fastest, going the longest, having the lightest gear, bagging a peak, and doing something that no one has ever done before. Even the “outdoors” itself is often only seen as craggy peaks, winding rivers, and remote trails. As our community pushes to make the outdoors more open and inclusive, those benchmarks should all be swept away, leaving fun as the true benchmark for success in an outdoors that can be anything outside the front door. Whether that success for you is pushing your limits on technical ridge traverses, having a murder mystery party at a backcountry hut, or finding a local park that has a great spot for a hammock, we hope to see you out there putting fun first.
Matt’s Top 5 Topo Products:
- A very beat up saffron Klettersack that I have used for everything for the last 7 years.
- Dual Pants, because they stretch, and then if they get too beat, they make for great cutoffs.
- Women’s Coverall (I don’t have one yet, but I know it is gonna be the best once they are back in stock, form + function baby.)
- Global Jacket is my go-to layer. Small enough to carry on my bike but burly enough for winter.
- Mountain Pack – I use this as much as my Klettersack when I need extra room for extra snax.
Kersten’s Top 5 Topo Products:
- Gray Global Sweater that has shut down bars and campfires alike.
- Woolrich collab Rover Pack, one of my first Topo items and moved with me from Boston to Colorado in 2015.
- Natural Dirt Pants – the most comfortable pants you’ll ever own.
- Khaki Wool 5 Panel Hat – one of my other early items that I still wear at least a few times a week.
- Mini Map Hat for warmer temps.