“I’m rarely following a beaten path, so I’m constantly over branches and rocks, and these pants are so durable that I’m not even looking to protect them in any way: they’re unbeatable. The quality of materials is so high I know I’m going to have them for the rest of my life.”
Andre Lapierre says fans of his Instagram account @whatthefjall, full of wilderness survival tips and images from his solitary bushcraft trips and his adventures with his family, are often surprised to learn that he leads a double life.
“I have four kids. My wife is a doctor, and I own two custom HR firms and a software company in Toronto. Life is hectic! So, the bushcraft side of things is really about providing that counterbalance: there’s a sense of solitude I only get when I’m out in the wild,” Lapierre says. “I grew up in the forest, on the farm, in the bush, and I took it for granted. My friends thought it was so cool, and I didn’t! Now I know better.”
His family owns 100 acres of property in a maple forest in northern Ontario, encompassing the hunting camp where his father taught him to shoot a crossbow, a sugar shack for boiling sap into maple syrup, and a lake teeming with bass. But even those comforts don’t interest him much: Lapierre prefers pure wilderness.
“The less comfortable I am in nature, the better I feel,” Lapierre says. “I will make a roof and a bed out of the surroundings of the bush. I don’t bring a tent. I don’t bring matches or a lighter: I only use fire steel. Having the ability to be in the forest and not be worried, not be scared, not panic… to me it’s invaluable to have that skill set. It’s something that, as a father, I’m really trying to impart to my sons and daughters: to understand, in any situation, that if you have some basic skills you can survive.”
While he’s more than willing to give up on some other creature comforts for those adventures, one piece of gear he won’t leave behind is his go-to Keb Trousers.
“I’m rarely following a beaten path, so I’m constantly over branches and rocks, and these pants are so durable that I’m not even looking to protect them in any way: they’re unbeatable,” he says. “The quality of materials is so high I know I’m going to have them for the rest of my life. I wear them for cold or warm weather, and I’ve really come to rely on all the details, like the hooks at the bottom of the cuff to hook on to your boots, the really thoughtfully-designed knife pocket and other pockets, things I really find myself missing if I’m in any other pants for some reason. Once you have these pants you’ll realize, ‘Oh, I don’t need to buy any more pants anymore, maybe ever.’ The only thing I ask of my gear is that it help me enjoy the outdoors in the way that’s best for me. Can I completely and utterly rely on my gear to do exactly what I need it to do? Because I don’t bother to buy or bring anything that isn’t completely essential.”
Instagram: @whatthefjall Toronto, ON
Written by Colin Bane