What is Your Name? I’m Judy “HeartFire” Gross, the owner of LightHeart Gear. I live in the Beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina (a few feet south of the city of Asheville). I have been making tents and other ultralight backpacking gear since 2009. I started out just planning on making a tent for myself, but a friend suggested I make kits and sell them ‘After all, hikers like to make their own gear’. Well, I decided to make the tent and sell it- and thus a business was born. I am now trying to focus my attention more on women. Specifically, the clothing women wear in the back country. Clothing for ALL sizes of women. Unfortunately, this is more difficult than I would like it to be, and I really can’t fit everyone - primarily taste in clothing varies so much, and then there is body size - long, short etc. My styles are such that I can fit most women and I may be able to offer some minor customization in the clothing.
What is the title of your session?
Do you have a favorite hike or adventure?
Make your own gear - sewing session. I have been sewing since I was knee high to my mother’s sewing machine. I went to design school after retiring from a career as a Family Nurse Practitioner. In the class we can sew stuff sacks, rain skirts etc. I will bring some scrap fabric, and if you want to make a rain skirt, or other larger item there will be a fee for the yardage. For participants, bring a sewing machine if you can. I’ll bring two machines, and we can continue working in the evening.
What is your favorite part about being outdoors?
Getting away from the crowds, smelling the fresh air, being in the wide open.
I think hiking the Colorado Trail was my favorite hike. I did this after the Trail Dames summit was in Durango. Driving back to Denver after the Summit, I spent the night at the southern trail head, and the next day drove to Denver and visited the northern trail head. There and then I decided I needed to see everything in between.
What is your never-leave-home-without piece of gear?
Everything that is in my pack!
What encouragement would you give to a woman that is new to the outdoors or nervous about getting out there?
As Nike says “Just do it”! Don’t’ listen to any naysayers!!
A Note from Trail Dames and The Summit
- Judy and Lightheart Gear have been a long-time supporter and sponsor of the Summit!! This is a woman and a business that truly does give back to the women's hiking community!! Please visit her website and social media sites and thank her for all she does for women in the outdoor community!! Thank you Judy for your years of Support!!!
Do you have a website, social media links or blogs that you would like to share?