Skip to content

About Idea Mountain

As a long time traveler, camper, maker, early-adapter, and obsessive about efficiency - which might be called laziness - I've decided to chase the dream of bringing gear designs to life.  

I love to travel, and love to travel light.  I've done a fair amount of international travel, always testing and playing with what to pack. Here's some oldies from before the smartphone:

collage of Tys travel photos

Some of my core values that I bring to Idea Mountain: 

Reducing Waste

It's probably crazy to be writing about anti-consumerism on a retail website, but every aspect of my life is about avoiding creating waste.  I want less plastic, less waste, less crap in the world.  That's why I'm striving to make the absolute best product with the best materials that will last a lifetime.   Not only should this stop people from having to buy luggage over and over, the Journey™ should make people realize they don't need much stuff, period. 

Form AND Function

I believe there are ways that things can work really, really well while looking really good.  Everything should have more than one purpose, and everything should look good together. 


In my mind, travel is about meeting new people and having new experiences that bring us all closer together.  Traveling efficiently, without the drag of too much stuff, allows people to focus on what's important.  I hope that Idea Mountain can do things to get people to open up to new experiences, have happier days, and enjoy life.  

I also hope that the Journey™ users can come together so we all help each other travel through life better: with less stuff, more openness, and always prepared. 

Even further, because of my struggles to get build this design, I want to support others who have ideas about great travel gear.   If anyone wants to explore working together or needs help getting something going, let me know.  



I use a hip pack for my daily carry in the woods, because I don’t need to think about ‘the cut of my coat’ while I’m working alone.  I moved away from just carrying my phone in my pocket as smartphones became big enough that cracking their screens became more probable.  Further, as bluetooth became great, carrying a headset in addition to a phone doesn’t work easily in a pants pocket, and I wasn’t always wearing a jacket with other pockets. 

I use a day pack to go into town, to be prepared for a day away from home.  I quickly found that transferring things from my hip pack to my day pack *before each trip to town* was tedious and easy to forget to do.  I would get to town to realize that something was back home in my hip pack.  It hit me that if the hip pack was PART of the day pack, I would never forget something in one bag or the other. 

Day Pack with stuff I carry

A layout of the Day Pack and the Hip Pack with what I carry when I leave home


Once I thought of the idea of having a hip pack BE the pocket of the day pack, I realized that it could go on the wearer’s side, leaving the back of the bag blank… and that led me to think about how I could attach a luggage part onto the back of the day pack.   I’ve always thought it was annoying that if you carried a day pack within your luggage, you were carrying 2 sets of straps.   Now we’ve created a single set of straps that carries your day pack, your luggage, and your essentials.  

ugly early drawing
the back of the napkin drawing


I actually tried to contact a number of bag companies, both new startups and well-established ones to *give* them this idea of a modular backpack, and none of them would talk to me.  Well, one cool start up did (shout out to Arcido!) but they didn’t think it would work with their style. 

line drawing from patent application
one of the line drawings from the patent application

Once I realized that I could and should do this myself, I started playing with a lot of different design ideas and talking to key friends about solutions.  One really close friend has had a huge impact on the creation of the business and the Journey system itself.  My best friend and successful entrepreneur Todd Smart not only has coached me regularly, but was on the trip to Vietnam when we toured factories.  Lucky for me, he's also a bag collector and fan. 

Todd and Me crashing a party in Saigon

 Todd made important suggestions to the design that has come to be the Journey travel system.  

Through that design process, we realized we wanted the essentials - the stuff in the hip pack pocket - to be accessible easily when the bag is on the floor - between your feet or at your side.  That moved the hip pack to the top of the bag.  Once that was settled, it was all about finding the best looking and best working way to connect all the pieces.  And then figure out how to add in all the unique details and accessories that make light travel easy. 

Carry-On Sized

Travel light with the Journey's convenient carry-on size!

Water -Resistant

The Journey System Bag is coated with a WATER-RESISTANT material that will shed water under normal conditions.

Guaranteed For Life

Our bags our guaranteed for life. No questions asked.