The concept for AntiGravityGear was born in 2000 on a Boy Scout backpacking trip to the Uwharrie Mountains of North Carolina. The soon-to-be founder, George “Tin Man” Andrews, and his scout troop were remarking about how light they felt after removing our far-too-heavy packs. It was decided that the best gear for hiking would be anti-gravity gear. “Why, we could even make an anti-gravity suit to carry our gear and sell it for a fortune!!!” (at least THEY would have paid a fortune for it just then). Playing Madison Avenue advertising types around the campfire, they were soon talking about silly-sounding slogans like, “It carries you”. Tin Man, not a man to pass up a good idea, couldn’t shake the concept. Soon he managed to get a website up and running and got to work selling some of his hand-made gear, starting with his iconic Pepsi Can Alcohol Stove and his Pot Cozy.
In February of 2003 Tin Man got a call from Backpacker Magazine informing him they had awarded him the coveted Editor’s Choice Award for his Pot Cozy. With the release of the spring Editor’s Choice edition eminent, he was referred to a graphic & web designer named Carolyn Mejia (now co-owner of AntiGravityGear). Trying not to appear over anxious (panicked) he blurted out, “I need a website… FAST.” And just like that, AntiGravityGear was launched into the recognized leagues of the ultralight backpacking community’s cottage industry line-up.
George found the backpacking cottage industry community to be a place of genuine friendships and rich collaborations. Some of AGG’s early collaborations were with David “Awol” Miller, distributing his books, The AT Guide and AWOL on the Appalachian Trail, Trail Designs, creators of the “Caldera Cone”, as well as Six Moon Designs, becoming a reseller of their stunning line up of ultralight, tarp-style tents. Through these relationships, some innovation of his own, and a passion for quality customer care, Tin Man & his company AntiGravityGear would survive the “start-up” phase to become a thriving business, and over the next 13 years would begin to reach beyond a single e-commerce storefront and place their gear in outfitters all up and down the east coast.
In early 2016 they moved beyond their distribution responsibilities for The A.T. Guide and began to learn the intricacies of its maintenance from David Miller. It was a natural progression. The relationship they shared with David and The A.T. Guide has made them feel more like guardians of the iconic “Awol Guide” than owners. It’s not lost on them that thousands of hikers, not to mention the trail itself, are all very intimately impacted by the content of The A.T. Guide. They take its development seriously and are committed staying true to the integrity of what David started. It takes an extraordinary amount of work and meticulous attention to detail and it’s a process they embrace and look forward to mastering in years to come.
What’s next? Well, over the past year they have made some exciting improvements to their line of rain gear and just recently they released their new Stratum 55° top quilt at the crazy low price of $69.99 which sparked some unexpected initial reactions: ‘Is that a typo? It can’t be $70!’ or ‘Yyy--eah, but what’s the shipping?’” It’s true though. They managed to make an 800 fill down, 10% overstuffed 55° quilt at a great price. It’s a versatile piece, perfect for hot summer nights or for adding an extra layer of warmth for those really cold winter nights. Beyond that? They’re still working out the details for that anti-gravity suit, but the meantime, they’ll enjoy the journey while helping a few thousand hikers enjoy theirs a bit more.
Anti-Gravity Gear and Six Moon Designs will be at the Appalachian Trail Kick Off Event March 1-3 at Amicalola Falls State Park in GA. Come meet both teams there, check out the latest in new UL gear and stay for the presentation throughout the weekend, or go for a hike.