The culture of the outdoor industry is uniquely positioned towards collaboration. In an industry where people’s favorite pastimes often include heading into the wilderness on adventures that rely on trustworthy partners and friends, that trust and relationship-building inevitably bleeds into business partnerships. This was the case with Mountain Standard and Backpacker’s Pantry—a twenty-year old business relationship has turned into a collaboration that has innovated the camping food space.

As industry veterans through their creative agency SIDFACTOR, Mountain Standard founders Jason Olden and Eric Lyon applied their knowledge and expertise in product design and market trend forecasting to create a brand that speaks to new generation of outdoors-people looking to make the most out of outdoor experiences in a casual, approachable atmosphere.

They saw a need to create outdoor supplies as complements to their apparel lines and approached Backpacker’s Pantry, a long-standing brand in the outdoor space specializing in backpacking and expedition foods, with their idea to bring dehydrated camping foods to the Mountain Standard consumer. The resulting partnership has been a line of products that make the camping experience more convenient, more nutritious, and definitely more delicious.

Inspiration is one part passion, one part data, and one part industry know-how.

Jason Olden and Eric Lyon, co-founders of Mountain Standard, have made a career out of finding white space and opportunities within a crowded industry marketplace. The development of the Mountain Standard brand came about largely because they saw an opportunity for a digitally-native brand aimed at the millenial generation, gearing them up for the unique way that they spend time outdoors and adventure. “We’re seeing these trends around ‘freedom of expression’,” says Lyon. “Climbing was rooted in mountaineering, and now we have a really strong bouldering and gym community. Mountain biking was all about cross-country, and now it’s trending toward Enduro. We’re seeing the same thing with camping.” Consumers are no longer responding to the imagery and culture of the extreme, solo expedition explains Lyon. A car camping trip with friends is much more attainable, and thus much more appealing to this younger generation of consumers. 

Rodney Smith, owner of Backpacker’s Pantry, has been seeing parallel trends in his market. “We were excited to team up with Mountain Standard because they’re reaching a more casual camper. We didn’t have a line for that market, so this partnership really gave us the opportunity to reach those folks who want to go car camping or RV-ing.”

This equal partnership with the shared goal of creating high quality product for this new movement of outdoor expression has been incredibly successful. Backpacker’s Pantry products are already in most major outdoor retailers across the country and in Canada, and when they tapped those networks with this new line of products, the retailers also saw the value and jumped on the opportunity to reach this casual camping market as well.

Start the day off right with high-quality food that fuels the body and the adventurous spirit.

The recipes and products that they landed on and the nature of the product—a lightweight, high-quality dehydrated product—were the result of true collaboration between the two brands. After brainstorming sessions in the Backpacker’s kitchen, Soraya Smith, the recipe development chef at Backpacker’s Pantry and Smith’s wife, put together the recipes that have become the products available today.

The products include a line of three salsas (Red Mountain, Green Chile, and Black Bean & Mango), egg scramblers with which you add eggs to a pre-mixed cup of ingredients (Super Greens, Farmer’s Market, and Red Rocks), and pancake mixes. They offer a gluten free Carrot Cake pancake mix as well as Blueberry Power On pancakes that include 22 grams of plant-based protein per serving.

The products are dehydrated, leaving only 3-8% of the water left in the original material. “The dehydration process doesn’t harm the flavor or nutrients of the food,” explains Smith. “It’s basically 100% of the original product, which keeps it super clean and healthy.” The packaging also makes it incredibly convenient to bring on your next adventure.

So, what’s next for the Mountain Standard and Backpacker’s Pantry collaboration?

“We’re really focused on doing high quality, clean ingredients that give you an extra energy boost,” says Smith. “We really want to own camping breakfasts first. It’s the most important meal of the day in terms of fueling you for your climb or bike ride or whatever you’re doing.” 

Additionally, they’ll continue to bake in to their products this idea surrounding community and communal meals, explains Lyon. So much of the approach was really about creating convenient, healthy products for this new movement of campers that travel together, adventure together, and cook together. It’s about early morning fuel and those Happy Hours after a long day on the trail or on the rock wall.

Above anything, both Backpacker’s Pantry and Mountain Standard are just excited to be part of someone’s outdoor experience. “People are finding their own way in the outdoor space now,” Lyon explains, “and if we can help people enhance their outdoor experience with our products or be part of their journey to get into the outdoors, we’ve really hit on something.”

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