Mountainsmith—craftsmen of iconic backcountry equipment and recreational outdoor gear—is sponsoring the Blackwater Drifters’ kayak expedition of the longest navigable waterway in North America. The team will traverse 14 states and almost 4,000 miles along the Jefferson-Missouri-Mississippi River System. Starting the journey in Brower Springs, Montana during the first week of June, and paddling approximately eight hours per day, the team is expected to reach the Gulf of Mexico in about five months.
The Blackwater Drifters team consists of filmmaker Nick Caiazza and community activist Joe Zimmermann. The two kayakers aim to raise awareness about the many threats to the country’s longest waterway as they make their journey by documenting this epic float on video. In addition to the long stretches of slow-flowing river water, Caiazza and Zimmermann will paddle across 16 reservoirs spanning over 1,200 miles in length and will need to portage (without any help from gas-powered vehicles) around 16 dams. They will pass through 10 Native American reservations.
“This has been a life-long dream of mine,” said Zimmermann. “Ever since I was eight-years old watching sticks flow down the Yellowstone River, I’ve understood the magnitude and importance of our country’s great waterways. This trip—and the incredible sponsor support from companies like Mountainsmith—is a way to share the power of these rivers and the importance of preserving them with a variety of audiences.”
Mountainsmith will provide the explorers with Andy Mann signature Parallax camera carrying backpacks, new 2015 Mountain Dome 2 tents and 20-degree Arapaho sleeping bags. Blackwater Drifters note Mountainsmith’s support as “crucial” to helping them brave the elements everyday and night, on and off the water. “After paddling all day the last thing I want to worry about is if my camping gear will allow me to recharge for tomorrow’s challenges. From getting out of the sun or rain on the Southern Mississippi to staying warm while in the Rocky Mountains, this expedition wouldn’t be possible without Mountainsmith,” comments Zimmerman.
While en route, Caiazza will capture video for an upcoming documentary and create product spotlight films showing how sponsor support is contributing to their journey and their cause.
“I’m most excited about Mountainsmith’s line of camera bags and accessories. Having all my gear in one organized and rugged protective backpack will be incredible when I’m rushing to capture an unforgettable moment. Now I can stop worrying about finding my equipment and can focus on finding the perfect shot,” states Caiazza.
“This type of expedition and commitment to adventure ideally align with Mountainsmith’s ethos and dedication to producing the best gear,” said Mountainsmith Digital Marketing Manager, Jeremy Dodge. “We’re proud to be a part of such a grand adventure and one that contributes to the preservation and awareness of the valuable wild places we need to fight to preserve. I can’t wait to watch as Nick and Joe’s journey unfolds.”
To learn more about Blackwater Drifters, visit BlackwaterDrifters.com.
Logo courtesy Mountainsmith