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Episode 4 | Repairing Gear Culture with Zoe Zou

Zoe Zou runs an outdoor gear and apparel repair shop. She is also a rock climber, and quite possibly one of the kindest people you will ever meet. A deep and intentional thinker, I knew Zoe would be the perfect guest to tackle the topic of "gear culture" on the show.

Zoe in her repair shop.

The look of pure joy!

In this episode we're talking about:

  • Where the temptation to exclusively use high-end, expensive gear comes from

  • Different ways to acquire outdoor gear without breaking the bank

  • How to extend the life of your gear and clothing (hint: you're probably zipping your zippers the wrong way!)

  • How gear - even damaged gear - can be a powerful tool for connection

  • Zoe's passion for trad climbing, sewing, and her cutest project: @guineapigclimber

Zoe is based in New Mexico, but repairs gear from all over the country. She can make your gear look fresh from the factory or add a unique and artistic twist to give you a one-of-a-kind piece, that you might be glad you damaged in the first place!

To check out before-after photos of Zoe's work, or to inquire about getting your gear repaired, visit Zoe on Instagram at @zoepatches or visit her website: To follow Zoe's climbing adventures, follow @zoe_climbs

Zoe and one of her Guinea Pig Climbers

Zoe loves crack climbing!

Ad: Support the planet and the show by purchasing your reusable silicon Stasher bags by using this unique affiliate link.

To learn more about Kelsee's work as an outdoor-based mental health counselor associate in Indiana, visit or connect with her on Instagram at: @kelseekeitel @hemlockcounselingservices @switchbackcommunitypod

Catch you on the Switchbacks!


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