The 2019 Therm-a-Rest Summer Dream Team is a ragtag crew of adventurers and explorers that, in our opinion, have some pretty incredible stories, objectives and pursuits. They share our draw to the great outdoors and also share our desire for a better night under the stars. We’re excited to share their stories over the next few months and hope you enjoy the adventures we share.

Without further ado, we give you our 2019 Summer Dream Team.

Shelma Jun @shelmatic

Summer Dream Team Ambassador
Where’s your dream climbing destination?

I’d really love to check out the climbing in Austrailia. The quality of rock and climbing there in the Arapiles and Grampians seems to be world class. I learned to trad climb in the Gunks just a few hours north of NYC and I hear that the Arapiles have just as many moderate hero roofs!

What’s your greatest accomplishment in the outdoors?

I don’t think the outdoors isn’t somewhere to be conquered and triumphed over. Rather, I’d describe my experiences on the land to connect me with the outdoors. One of the things I love most about climbing is the feeling of being part of the landscape, rather than an observer of it when you’re hanging 500 feet up on a 2,000 foot cliff.

Montanus aka Francesco D’Alessio + Giorgio Frattale @montanus_thewildside

Tell us about your first bike-camping trip?
We had our first bike trip in Apennine Mountains in 2013. We rode full-suspension bikes bringing on the shoulders huge and heavy backpacks. We had a ton of fun there, but 10 days after we got home, we learned that bikepacking was a thing. From that day forward, our shoulders have been thanking us.

What’s a big objective you’re really proud of?

Last year, we crossed the Icelandic highlands without any outside support. It was a dream come true.

Grizel Williams @_grizel_

What inspired you to thru-hiking?

After a very intense experience a couple years back, I made a commitment to love myself and put myself first. Backpacking was always something I wanted to try, but I was so nervous. I eventually completed my first trip on the High Sierra Trail and I have been hooked ever since.

Where’s your dream hiking destination?

I’m dying to go to New Zealand. I hear the hiking is amazing and there is so much variety of terrain!

Torkjel Hurtig @torkjelhurtig

Summit of Everest, Therm-a-Rest Dream Team Ambassador

What’s your greatest accomplishment in the outdoors?

I must say the fact that I completed the 7 Summits as the youngest and fastest Norwegian in history- a feat I am very proud of. Now, I try to aim for the roads less traveled.

Why is resting better outside important for you?

It is crucial, especially on expeditions where you really push your body day and night for several weeks. To rest and recover when you have the chance is absolute key and it might be what differentiates a successful to an unsuccessful expedition.

Fiona Stappmanns @mountainsandtheocean

How did you find the outdoors? Why is resting better out

My parents took me to the mountains right from the start, you can say I inherited my passion rather than finding it. I learned how to ski when I was two and climbed my first mountain when I was eight.

Why is resting better outside important for you?

I’ve experienced a few uncomfortable nights in the mountains with a crappy bag and mat. Hiking after those nights is an experience I never want to happen again. Luckily I don’t have to with my Hyperion sleeping bag and NeoAir mat.

Morgan Martinez @morgan_martinez

What’s your most embarrassing backcountry moment?

I don’t think there’s been any single mortifying moment in the backcountry, but usually, if there’s a creek crossing involved, I’m bound to be sitting in the creek 90% of the time. I have awful balance and am completely aware of it, which usually means I get inside my head every time. It also means I’m carrying an extra pair of socks somewhere easily accessible.

What sport do you want to try next?

I’d love to try rock climbing! After all of the recent climbing documentaries, I’m completely inspired to learn how. Yosemite is just three hours away from my house, so I know I’d have access to some of the best climbing spots in the world.

Why is resting better important to you?

With backpacking specifically, you’re throwing yourself into a realm where you’re exposed to the elements. You experience what Mother Nature experiences and the only difference between an awful night’s sleep and a great one is the gear you bring. It’s especially important during a backpacking trip because there’s a good chance that you’ll have to get up the next morning and put your body to work again.

Chris Pickering @likinhikin

Summer Dream Team
For those of you that missed our feature on Chris earlier this year, he’s attempting the fastest calendar-year Triple Crown. In short, he’s walking the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail with a goal of finishing in 226 days.

Clearly, you like hiking, but what other sport do you want to try?

I would love to learn more about paragliding. I have read about some adventurists hiking up mountains and then flying off the summit. I feel the potential for going extremely far distances and as efficiently can’t be matched. Not to mention, who doesn’t want to fly? Someday, I would love to organize a hike and fly along the world’s greatest mountain ranges.

What is your favorite Therm-a-Rest product and why?

The Uberlite sleeping pad has been my favorite Therm-a-Rest gear on my 8,000-mile walk thus far. The comfort to weight ratio is unparalleled; 8.8oz for an amazing night’s sleep night after night performing in all elements is extremely impressive. The material isn’t crunchy and the durability is top notch. The pad still looks almost brand new after 1,700 miles.

Sam Ortiz @samortizphoto

Summer Dream Team
How did you find your passion?

My biggest passion is photography. My love for it seems to ooze from my pores. I used to sneak into his closet and ‘borrow’ my dad’s old camera when I was younger and use up all of his film. It wasn’t until I started getting into the outdoors that I found my biggest muse – nature herself. Now, mother nature is the only thing I photograph. I use my photography as a way to not only share info about the environment around us but also to inspire other people to get involved. Being a plus-size adventurer, I’ve seen first-hand how showing people what plus size bodies can accomplish can change worlds and lives.

What’s your favorite piece of Therm-a-Rest gear?

I use my Z Lite on every kind of trip imaginable because of its versatility. It can be a sleeping pad, a short seat, a table in the snow, and is an integral part of my SAR patient packaging system. We use the pad to insulate, move and transport subjects when they need to be littered out.

Kate Stelfox @hikertrashhoney

Summer Dream Team
Tell us about your first experience in the outdoors?

My first great outdoor adventure without the supervision of my ‘outdoorsy’ family was the West Coast Trail back in 2011; 47 miles of rugged terrain leading down the Pacific Coast of Vancouver Island through old growth forests and tranquil beaches. I took my dad’s old pack and any hand-me-down gear I could find laying around on that trip. Why did we bring a two pound Ziploc bag of powdered milk? In what world were we going to use a gallon of powdered milk between the two of us on a seven-day hike? When we finally reached the end of the trail I felt tired but energized with a great sense of accomplishment.

Where’s your dream adventure destination?

I really want to do some hiking on the Hayduke Trail! The Grand Canyon, Arches, Moab… it all looks like something out of a science fiction movie to me. Being from Calgary, Alberta I haven’t been exposed to that type of topography before, so I would say it’s the most enticing to me right now.

Rafa Godoi @rafaelgodoi

Summer Dream Team
Now a familiar face, we’re psyched to welcome Rafa back for another season with the Dream Team after a winter of resting better.

Who inspires you?

I could name a few great and well-known pro athletes but, my greatest inspiration is my grandparents, who are constantly learning and teaching the new generation all they know and, always active. They taught me so much, respecting and enjoying nature and all the outdoors have to offer.

Why is resting better outside important for you?

Resting outside is just like a reset button in life. keeps me away from stress and perfect balance to keep a healthy lifestyle.

Come back next week for our 2019 Summer Dream Team- Part 2.