FIRST ADVISOR, LIFELONG and PROFESSIONAL OUTDOORSMAN
Maine (Northern and Coastal), also Alaska
Specialties: Handling horrible conditions alone and off-grid. Weather. Military, Special Forces, Security. Guiding. Search and Rescue. Trekking. Fishing, Hunting, Guns and Shooting. Appalachian Trail, Snowshoeing
Mike appears first on the Advisor Collection Page because he is actually our first Advisor. Mike is really the inspiration for our Advisor Program for the simple reason that when I was talking to Mike it occurred to me I'd really like to have him talking to our customers.
Here is Mike and me at Mike's place remembering our first talk:
At the time of the interview, Mike had recently returned to civilization after a 217-mile (347 km) mid-winter solo hike thru the North Maine woods ... without any ability to communicate with the outside world. Snow was as deep as 4 feet (well over 1 meter) and temps dropped as low as -42F/-41C.
Mike is from Northern Maine, and has enormous outdoor experience in Colorado, Alaska, and wherever the Military sent him ... in addition to many years in the woods and on the waters of Northern Maine. Mike spent a lot of time in the weather on Adak Island, which is at the extreme Western end of the Aleutian Island Chain. The weather on Adak is famously awful and unforgiving ... wet, rainy, foggy, windy and virtually never warm ... but Mike loved it. Three times in his life, Mike's homes and possessions have been destroyed by natural disaster, and he was forced to live out of his vehicle, with only the few clothes he had with him ... wool figured very prominently. You can read more about Mike's background and his ideas about how to dress for WEATHER ... and get a sense of what a great tester is about, by clicking the link shown below to read Mike's report on his test of our All-Around Jac. When Mike and I first discussed WeatherWool, he was appropriately skeptical, and he told me “If I like it, you'll know. And if I don't like it, you'll know.”
A few bullet points about Mike:
- Eagle Scout with 3 Palms (lots of merit badges!) in the 1960s when the Scouts focused on Woodcraft & Outdoor Skills
- Order of the Arrow / Brotherhood member (advanced outdoor membership focused on Indian and primitive living skills) during high school
- Eighty days solo canoeing the Allagash River and St John River Valley at age 17
- Solo hiked the entire Appalachian Trail right after high school graduation
- Stationed at United States Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center at Pickel Meadows [there are a couple of instructors at Pickel Meadows that wear WeatherWool, partly as a result of contact with Mike]
- Solo Climbed Mount Rainier twice
- Lived 7 years in Alaska, off-grid, subsistence
- Alaska Hunter Education Instructor #22
- Adak Island SAR team and security force member, stationed with 2nd Force Recon. Learned survival techniques from the Aleut elders. Even by Alaska standards, Adak is remarkably difficult ... Mike's kind of place!
- Basic Arctic Survival School (the Cool School) at Eielson Air Force base near Fairbanks, Alaska. (Mike told me he loved the Cool School and would have done this for fun.)
- Advanced 600 hour Arctic Survival / Guerrilla Warfare School
- Survived 3 national level disasters with nothing but the clothes he was wearing, a little camping gear that he had in his truck and minimal $. ... Hurricane David (Class 5), Northridge Earthquake, 100 year flood of The Arkansas River
Mike believes strongly:
- Your 1st layer of defense against weather is your clothing
- You cannot control Mother Nature ... you have to work with Nature by efficient layering of your clothes
- It’s not the weather that will kill you it’s not being PREPARED
- Minimum Gear and Maximum Skills. Concentrate on learning maximum outdoor skills and quit worrying about the latest and greatest gear as it won’t help that much anyway
For the warmer half of the year, Mike can be found in the Bangor area or near the Maine coast ... the cooler half of the year, Mike spends a lot of time in the back woods where he cannot be reached except by hiking (with snowshoes!)! ... or maybe helicopter. The North Maine Double Coat, for which Mike is the lead designer, is his idea. Mike has also given us feedback on our Anoraks, ShirtJacs and WeatherWool in general.
You can get a good sense of Mike's personality and his views on WeatherWool by checking out his ALWAYS GEAR page.
Tester Feedback from Mike - Mike puts WeatherWool through the ultimate field-trials.
Mike Dean as an Outdoor Professional
Couple of interesting things about Mike and other Advisors. Mike had met both Cliff Jacobson and Megan Hine long before I ever thought of WeatherWool. And he purchased a Bowie Knife from Jerry Fisk in the early 1990s. Mike and I speak frequently, and when I mentioned that Megan and Cliff were joining us, I was kind of shocked that Mike had met both of them many years before, and was extremely enthusiastic about their outdoor skills.
In this video, Mike talks about himself and his years in the weather:
Mike talks about his love of Bowie Knives, and how he still misses his (Advisor) Jerry Fisk Bowie, stolen from him in the 1990s.
Below, a few pics of Mike ...
Mike with a nice rainbow trout.
Mike does a lot of fishing, almost all of it from his kayak.
In summer, Mike runs his own exclusive landscaping business
in the beautiful coastal towns of Southern Maine.
Mike surprised me with this picture ... he is carrying that log as part of his landscaping work, but it makes me wonder if he was thinking about carrying a log on the beach of Southern California.
Great to have you with us, Mike!!
With the possible exception of Active Duty Military, I think Mike has pushed WeatherWool harder than anyone else.
2 September 2021