Our family has always been avid about the outdoors. We have home videos – actual VHS tapes – of my brothers and me playing in nature (or maybe it was of me pushing my brothers off of a fallen log, crowning myself Queen of the Tree). One of my most memorable adventures was a two week stint backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, through the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. This was my first true experience immersed in nature for an extended period of time. We trekked miles each day, each carrying a large pack with all of the possessions we would need for the trip. As a fifteen year old girl, my definition of necessity was vastly different before and after this two week excursion. I knew that on my next trip I would not bring some of the frivolous items I deemed necessary on the first.
Years later and states away, I have not forgotten this lesson. Now when I take weekend hiking trips to Point Lobos Natural Preserve, Yosemite, or Mount Tamalpais I consider every item carefully before packing. Before my brothers launched Swell, sunglasses were one of those frivolous items that I could not justify bringing on a backpacking trip. However, the glasses that those two knuckleheads have designed are both practical and lightweight enough to bring along. In a situation where every ounce matters it is important to balance necessities, or what you deem necessary, with practicality. Now when I hike across glaringly bright terrain, like the rock faces of Yosemite, I can justify carrying a pair of sunglasses along. Not to mention, my worries about losing another pair of expensive glasses to the nearest water source has been assuaged by the floating capabilities of bamboo.