Welcome to episode 367 of The Outdoor Biz Podcast, brought to you this week by Thrive Market. Today I’m joined by Darrel Larson, International Director of Sawyer Products. Darrell is also the founder of Give Clean Water, a non-profit dedicated to providing clean drinking water around the world. Welcome to the show Darrel!
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What was your first exposure to the outdoors?
[00:00:40] When I was growing up as a kid, my dad loved fishing. And it turns out my dad when he got outta high school, he actually graduated from Oceanside High as well.
So my dad gets outta high school and he takes a job as a Forest Service ranger up in Lassen Park. Oh, wow. And so my very first recollections when I was growing up as a kid were sitting around, my dad, would take pictures and turn ’em into slides and we had like a slide projector kinda a deal.
And it’s all these pictures of my dad up there fishing for like big brown trout and all the stuff that they were doing their off time. So, so from very early on I kind of got exposed to the outdoors and, beautiful places like Lassen National Park.
How were you inspired to focus on clean water?
[00:04:15] Before I was introduced to Sawyer filters, I got training in bio-sand filters, and that was just like, I don’t know, it just resonated with me cuz I began to see what a big, giant problem it was around the world.
And so that just kind of caught my attention. I was like, man, this is something we can solve in our lifetime. And so kind of got it, start there with that house building organization, and then from there, kind of moved on and, became acquainted with Sawyer filters and got involved with starting my own nonprofit that work in the country of Fiji.
How did you connect with Sawyer?
[00:05:10] So when I found Sawyer, we had just gotten a lot of our bio-sand filter molds, and I got training in it, got certified in it, and we were gonna bring these filters over to Fiji.
And a couple of weeks before, I was going on this trip, and one of my friends said, Hey, did you see these new filters? It just came out, this company called Sawyer, and this was in 2008. And, so I was like, oh, those look really interesting. So I called Sawyer and I asked them if they would send me a couple, cuz I want to test these out.
Talk a little bit about Give Clean Water. You started that organization, right?
[00:10:00] Yeah, so I founded it in 2008. We were really looking at finding a country where could we go where there was a big water need. Of course, they were everywhere. A billion people need clean water. But I wanted to go somewhere where I had some boots-on-the-ground contacts. And a friend of mine grew up in Fiji and he’s like, Hey man, you should come to Fiji and, and bring these filters over there.
So I was like, okay. So we went over and checked it out. I was like dreaming big. these filters could change the world. What if you could change the world? What if you could change a country? Yeah. Fiji’s not that big of a country. Less than 900,000 people live in the country, which is like two-thirds of the size of San Diego. So I’m thinking, man, if you could [00:11:20] hit every single village there, what would that look like to change the country and change their lives, et cetera? So that was our beginning.
[00:21:00] Our biggest category is gonna be our repellent. Our Permethrin is, [00:21:20] is the golden standard for spraying on your clothes and your gear. And then our Picaridin is big, that’s our topical repellent. It’s a derivative of, the pepper plant and, it offers the [00:22:00] same protection as Deet, but it’s just not harsh. Our newest filter is the [00:25:30] tap filter. These things just pop right on the end of a common tap. You can, you can even put ’em on a hose bib outside or whatever, but they’re just awesome for getting [00:26:20] rid of bacteria for emergencies and then around the world because most of the places where you have the luxury of tap water, you can’t drink it.[00:26:30].
What other outdoor activities do you participate in?
[00:28:10] I love hiking. I still love camping and like to play golf. I like to surf and, love biking. So pretty much any of [00:28:20] that stuff. And, then just as something that I just love to do in general, and I actually do it a lot on our trips, is I love photography.
Do you have any [00:30:50] suggestions or advice for folks wanting to get into the outdoor biz or grow their career if they’re already in the industry?
I just find that authenticity and generosity are things that [00:31:50] I love and it’s what I really love about Sawyer. And so, I mean, if somebody was looking to get in the business in that kind of way, I don’t [00:32:00] know, you want to go in and have a great product for one, but, but those other things I think are kinda the X factors.
Do you have any daily routines [00:33:40] you use to keep your sanity, meditate, exercise?
Yeah, I, have quiet time every morning. I’m definitely, definitely a person of faith and, so I, every morning that’s kind of [00:33:50] sacred time for me.
I like to wake up early, spend, 30 minutes or so just in kind of a quiet time reading and, doing those kinds of disciplines, and then, I [00:34:00] love to read all kinds of stuff. but I love fitness. I think for me, that that’s like [00:34:10] eating good, and, and having a, a well-balanced diet and, making that kind of a lifestyle.
Do you have any favorite books or books [00:36:20] you give as gifts?
When Helping Hurts Seve Corbett, Brian Fikkert, et al.
Figuring Foreigners Out, A Practical Guide Craig Storti
What’s your, favorite piece of outdoor gear under a hundred dollars?
Oh man. it’s gonna sound like a total sales pitch or whatever. . I would’ve said this even before I was working at Sawyer. So, my best thing under a hundred bucks, my first go-to, I mean, you could get [00:41:30] a squeeze filter, a bottle of Permethrin, a bottle of Picaridin, and Sunscreen for all under a hundred bucks.
Follow up with Darrel and Sawyer