Marie & Jeff and Cooper @Groundbird_Gear


Today’s episode is with Marie “Bobwhite” and Jeff “Powder River” and their tuxedo pup Cooper @groundbird_gear. Together with their son Wes, they love getting out on the trails as a family and putting their own custom made dog gear to the test.

Both Marie and Jeff have completed an Appalachian Trail thru-hike. In 2011, during Marie’s AT thru-hike, Jeff proposed to her on trail! Shortly after they married, Cooper came into their life from Lucky Dog Rescue @dcluckydog, based in Washington DC. Almost immediately, they were getting Cooper out on adventures including a yearly trip to Colorado and Wyoming, when Marie made Cooper’s first pack.

Marie, a graduate of Maryland Institute College of Art, and with her backpacking experience, created Groundbird Gear custom tailored harnesses and packs for backpacking with dogs. Though not involved directly in production, Jeff, who also has extensive experience with ultralight backpacking and a self proclaimed gear-nerd, contributes to some of the design ideas. After several years of  hand creating and refining at their maker space at Open Works @open_works_bmore, their product is used by hundreds of adventure dogs for everything from day hikes to Appalachian thru-hikes.

Their adventures with Cooper have included Independence Pass in Colorado, the second highest paved pass of the Continental Divide in the U.S., as well as trips to the Bighorn Mountains in northern Wyoming. Showing off his custom made Vermont Republic Flag backpack, Cooper has hiked on the Vermont Long Trail in the Vermont Green Mountains. More recently, Cooper is all about short hikes with his little brother Wes! Their dream adventure with Cooper would be to hike the Wind River High Route in the Wind River Range of Wyoming.

Essential gear that Marie and Jeff recommend for hiking with your pup are booties from along with vet wrap to protect his dewclaws. They use Musher’s Secret paw wax to keep Cooper’s pads conditioned. And for emergencies, they keep a Pack-A-Paw carrying harness from Mountain Dog Ware. For the upcoming winter months, Cooper will be wearing his Groundbird Gear down Turtle Top Quilt.

Their shout outs include photographer Sarah Jones Decker @rootbottomfarm, fellow gear maker Gen @yamamountaingear, Nav and Arrow @hikingwitharrow, Erin and Starr @bookie_and_no_shame, Ethan “Garbelly” and M.E. “Critter” and Milo @ourtrailingthought, Caitlin and Vaida @cmquinn, Grizel and Rue @_grizel_, Katherine and Robin @robinventures, and ALL of their awesome customers!!

Thanks for listening!

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