John Abela

Hometown:  Eureka, California, USA


I am a hiker that enjoys building new trails, hiking as light as safety warrants, learning new things about hiking, and sharing things learned with others.

I spend most of my time developing new hiking trail routes for future generations of hikers, mostly within the Redwood regions of Northern California and the desert regions of Southern California.

Designing new hiking gear is also a passion of mine. I have had the honor, as of 2016, of having eight different products that I have designed brought to the market and used by hikers around the world.

I absolutely believe in giving back to the hiking community and the trail. Within the long distance hiking community, there is always the call to give back to the trail. If there was any one thing I could encourage other hikers to do, it would be to give back to the trail. Be it volunteering to work on a trail maintenance crew, financially giving above-and-beyond to trail associations, investing the years of work in designing a new trail route through a new location, or even just helping to clear trails that you are walking down.

Favorite Sawyer Product and Why:

I am torn between picking just one. If it were to be based on how long I have been using a Sawyer product, it would be Sawyer Permethrin. I have been treating my garments and gear with Sawyer Permethrin for years, and so far have never had a single tick on me. When it comes to water filtration, the Sawyer Squeeze, and later the Sawyer Mini, have revolutionized water filtration for myself and every hiker that I know. The Sawyer Squeeze with its higher flow rate, and the Sawyer Mini for a sweet price point and smaller size.

Favorite Outdoor Location:

There is a special place in my heart when walking through 2000+ year old Redwood trees. When the fog rolls in and the sun starts shining through and you look down and there is a tiny finger-sized baby Redwood tree just starting its adventure in life. It often makes me stop and look down at it, than look straight up and not be able to see the sky because of the majesty of giant Redwood trees that were babies themselves 2000 years ago. Knowing that, hopefully, in another 2000 years, someone else might stand in the same spot and what was a baby Redwood tree for me, is a mighty and magnificently towering Redwood tree for them.

One Piece of Advice or Something You've Learned Spending So Much Time Outdoors:

You cannot experience the outdoors sitting on a couch or behind a desk. The vast majority of our planet is still wilderness. It takes getting up and having the self-will to get out and enjoy it. So often I hear people tell me they would love to get into hiking and enjoying nature. All that is stopping them is turning that stated desire into actual love. Yes, there will be bad days, times when it has been raining for a week and all of your gear is soaked; times when there is yet another switch back while trying to get up and over a mountain; times when you have to dig a cat hole in frozen ground; but in the end these are still times when memories are made, and to me, it is all about that, making memories.

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