Who are you? Give us some highlights from your past.
Hi I’m Kyle Gersman–but you can also call me by my trail name, Radish! I’m the Logistics Manager at Cnoc Outdoors, shipping our wonderful gear out to each and every one of you.
Like a majority of current Portland-ers, I grew up in the Midwest. Akron, Ohio to be exact. I spent my childhood going to sleep-away summer camp for 2 months every year called Camp Wise, which probably laid the foundation for my love of the outdoors. I moved to Columbus, Ohio to study Chemical Engineering and Studio Art at The Ohio State University, where I met my partner of almost 6 years now. But it wasn’t until after graduation that I went on my first true wilderness adventure: The Annapurna Circuit. This month-long backpacking trek in Nepal’s Himalayas would spark something in me that I’d continue to chase (and still do).
After working as an engineer at an ice cream factory in Salt Lake City, and then a coffee factory in Indianapolis for some years, I put aside my profession and forced my partner to drive 36 hours across the country to drop me off at the Mexican border (and then drive home alone) so I could thru hike the Pacific Crest Trail, a new dream of mine. This would become a turning point in my life.
Six months later I reached Canada, two weeks after that my partner and I moved to Portland, and I began working as the Marketing Manager for a local craft brewery until I joined Cnoc Outdoors. My new home & community has allowed me to continue to do what I love the most–long distance hiking, climbing, and ski mountaineering. From climbing Mount Hood to thru hiking the Wind River High Route, we’ve been loving our new life in the Pacific North West.
Tell us about a very memorable trip outdoors from the last few years
I walked from Mexico to Canada once, does that count? In 2020, I thru hiked the Pacific Crest Trail–which was a fascinating year to experience the trail thanks to a certain virus y’all might have heard of. The trail taught me lessons I didn’t know I needed to learn, about what is most important in life, what I’m capable of, and how and when to be there for others. The Radish that stood on the Canadian border is a very different person than the Kyle that stood on the Mexican border 6 months prior.
What do you do at CNOC?
I manage all things Logistics at Cnoc Outdoors. The boxes full of gear you’ve been eagerly anticipating–I packed that just for you. Unless there was an issue, then Adrian packed it. But in all seriousness, I manage our Portland warehouse facility, shipping & receiving, and will be taking over much of our impact initiatives such as trail maintenance along the PCT and maintaining our B-Corp status.
What is a running project you are working on at the moment that no one knows about yet?
I film most of my adventures ( *cough* *cough* which you can check out here: https://www.youtube.com/c/radishuprooted), and I’m not satisfied with the majority of the backcountry video gear currently on the market. I’d love to continue working on making camera gear multipurpose, agile, and UL.
What is your favorite kit that we make?
I’m a big fan of the solo backpacker filter kit. Pair that with a 12in gear tie and you’ve got an efficient hydration system to crush some miles on your own. And avoid Giardia.
What’s an interesting (or not-so-interesting) non-CNOC factoid about yourself that is important to who you are as a person?
I have a phobia of ketchup. Seriously, keep that nasty sh*t away from me.