My family has been providing outdoor gear solutions to our customers since 1974. How am I rewarded from this job and our culture? The truth is that I am rewarded by smiling people. A laugh or smile indicates to me this individual is happy in the environment we have created and our culture has exposed them to a great moment. Whether it is a customer, staff member, or vendor, smiles are my biggest reward.
-Michael Mathews, Owner.
Adventure begins at The Backpacker. Over 40 years of outdoor adventure experience, The Backpacker wants to inspire you to #geauxoutthere and explore the world. From providing the best quality in adventure clothing and outdoor gear, to our concierge services and Backpacker Tours ski packages - we hope to be your resource for anything and everything outdoor. Our 2 Louisiana retail stores, Baton Rouge and Lafayette, provide our local community with educational events and services to enjoy our swamps, lakes, trails, rivers, and all the beauty of the Louisiana outdoors. We educate and train our staff to learn about our customers' experiences as well, so we can share those experiences with everyone who walks through our doors. Our team of experts have conquered their most ambitious adventures, and love to provide recommendations and advice to any outdoor enthusiast. Our website, backpackeroutdoors.com, brings the local community feel to you at the touch of your fingertips, so you can research and plan your adventures with us. Our doors are always open, contact us with any questions or suggestions at email@example.com.
While a student at LSU, Dale Mathews begins taking LSU Students on ski trips to Colorado
Dale opens the first Backpacker at the North Gates of LSU (currently Highland Coffees) to cater to skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts. In 1977, he opens a second location.
Dale buys a large piece of land on Jefferson Hwy near what will eventually become Corporate Blvd. The Backpacker moves into this location that includes Mt Sneaux, the largest indoor ski slopes in the country, and becomes one of the largest independent outdoor stores in the South with over 28,000 square feet of retail space. In 1986, Dale closes the store at the LSU location.
The Backpacker expands the retail space of its Bocage store and closes Mt Sneaux. The CC Lockwood Gallery opens up inside The Backpacker, making it the only place to purchase CC Lockwood Prints and cards. In 1992, The Backpacker becomes Baton Rouge’s exclusive retailer to sell Boy Scout and Girl Scouts of America apparel and accessories. (Discontinued in 2015)
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Backpacker staff writes letters to all our outdoor manufacturers requesting shoes, clothing and equipment for evacuees, relief workers, and volunteers. After one week, we collected nearly 20,000 products valued at $500,000 to be donated to the cause. The store was used as a distribution point to hand out the products to church shelters, American Red Cross workers, firemen, and other volunteers.
After 32 years of ownership, Dale turns over The Backpacker and its sister company, Backpacker Tours, to his youngest son, Michael.
Michael, along with his wife, Margo signs a lease for a 9,300 square foot store in Lafayette’s River Ranch Development. Later that year, The Backpacker team celebrates the Grand Opening of Backpacker Lafayette.
Backpacker Baton Rouge is voted by our team as one of the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report’s “Best Places to Work”. Best Companies Group analyzes and ranks participating firms on eight core focus areas: leadership and planning; corporate culture and communications; role satisfaction; work environment; employees’ relationships with supervisors; training, development and resources; pay and benefits; and overall employee engagement.