Big Agnes Announces Bob Swanson Memorial Exploration Grant

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Grant honors legendary tent designer and industry pioneer.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (August 2, 2017)


Big Agnes®, the leading manufacturer of tents, sleeping bags and pads, is pleased to introduce the Bob Swanson Memorial Exploration Grant. Announced at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market last week, the grant will offer funding of up to $5,000 annually for trips and expeditions that represent Swanson’s spirit of adventure.

“We worked with Bob for more than a decade, and he was responsible for some of our most successful tent designs,” said Bill Gamber, co-founder of Big Agnes. “More importantly he was a friend, storyteller, role model, and pioneer of the outdoor industry. Bob traveled the world with us, even in his 80’s he was usually the last to bed after a night cap and first to rise in the morning for a hike or to explore a city. We hope this grant is a small, but fitting way to honor his legacy.”

In 1965, Swanson and George Marks founded Sierra Designs and later Walrus tents and gear, where they introduced hub systems into the lightweight tent market. Swanson remained with Walrus after it was acquired by REI, and spent several years designing Armadillo tents. He joined Big Agnes in 2005 as the “Tent Guy” but meant so much more to the company as a sage and inspiration for employees. They fondly called him The Most Interesting Man in the Outdoor Industry.

The Bob Swanson Memorial Exploration Grant will award funds of varying amounts depending on the prospective project needs and its budget. Grants will be between $500 and $1,000 (totally $5000 annually) and will be awarded yearly in January. The three-month application period will be open from September 1 to November 31 each year. Applications will be available at

About Big Agnes: Named for a peak in the nearby Mt. Zirkel Wilderness, Big Agnes®, Inc. is located in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and produces award-winning sleeping bags, pads and tents. Big Agnes is the exclusive distributor of Helinox trekking poles and camp furniture in North and South America. For more information, visit or call 1-877-554-8975.


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