A lightweight pack should be a result, not the focus.
"Ultralight" is not about minimizing weight. It's about finding that balance that allows you to hike/bike/run comfortably and efficiently. We design well-crafted equipment to help you build that kit of gear that works best for you.
. . . . Our Path . . . .
An Appalachian trek
A thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail sets YAMA's founder, Gen Shimizu, off on a journey that will eventually lead to the creation of YAMA. On his first night on trail he's woken by a bear under his hammock.
To the PCT!
Gen heads to the PCT! He and other hikers dream up their ideal gear company as they pass the miles. These conversations lead him to start YAMA after his 1200 mile section of the trail.
YAMA is born!
Starting with a home sewing machine and about $2,000, Gen starts making simple tarps and stuff sacks while experimenting, testing and refining more complex designs. It's very much a side hustle!
Great Divide Unicycle Ride
Gen takes off to ride the 2,754 mile Great Divide Mountain Bike Route on a Mountain Unicycle, raising $10,642 to help Polaris Project in their efforts to address human trafficking.
YAMA moves into a dedicated workspace in Charlottesville's Linen Building. Over the next two years he transitions out of his other [bill paying] jobs to focus on YAMA
A summer of Fastpacking
Gen heads off for a summer of fastpacking. First stop is the PCT, covering 800 miles in one month, followed by about two weeks on the Colorado trail. The perfect opportunity to test prototype fastpacks!
The team expands and moves
PCT Thru-hiker, Greg Arpante, who met Gen on the PCT in 2015, joins the team. The shop moves to the AT trail town of Waynesboro, VA, just 4 miles from the trail. As great as this was, YAMA returns to the Linen Building at the end of the year.
2014, 2015, & 2017
YAMA runs the mYAMAdventure program, putting first time long-distance hikers in touch with mentors and sponsors, while raising funds for the Pacific Crest Trail Association. Over the three years running the program, we helped 18 hikers hit the trail and raised over $21,000 for the PCTA!
YAMA continues to grow, well beyond the capacity of Gen and Greg. Unfortunately long lead times keep things in check. Greg leaves to embark on the next stage of his life, starting with his dual-TransAmerica bike tour to benefit Skys the Limit!
YAMA just can't resist the mountains of Montana and Idaho and relocates to Missoula, MT!