Just like the Walt Disney Company, we can say our story all started with a mouse. Actually, that’s not true, but it did start with a dad who hunted for the best and lightest outdoor gear so he could pass on his love of the outdoors to his kids.
Way before Scott Jensen, Near Zero’s founder, developed The DEAN, he watched his dad, Dean Jensen, weigh all their gear before heading out on a backpacking trip and searching for the best outdoor gear. His father would go as far as to cut toothbrushes in half to save a few ounces and take impromptu trips into the Arizona desert to test out new gear that claimed to be the best.
Scott, when he became a dad, found himself at gear swaps, at outdoor retailers early in the morning so he could get gear that was affordable and durable. But these events weren’t always reliable, and getting all the gear you needed in one place seemed impossible.
Finally, Scott and his father began talking about starting their own outdoor gear company. With Scott’s background in business and Dean’s knowledge of what makes the best in ultralight gear, they knew they could make an outdoor gear company that married all their ideas and expertise together.
Things started to kick off with Near Zero. Scott was reconnecting with contacts to make the gear while his father shared his ideas. Everything was going according to plan. In 2018 Scott just returned from a trip to China when he received a call from his brother, who called to let him know his father had passed away from a heart attack on the pickleball court.
His dad’s love for the outdoors only ignited a fire in him to make their dream company a reality. Dean, who was an avid backpacker and took many scout troops and his own seven kids and thirty grandkids on outdoor adventures, and hiked the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim once a month for 13 consecutive months, wanted to share his love and instill that passion for the outdoors in others. So, Scott got to work to establish Near Zero.
In 2019, Scott was back in China working on developing Near Zero. He was walking with his wife, discussing where Near Zero needed to go. The two started to talk about backpacks, and Scott’s wife shared the idea of creating one that could open up like a suitcase that was organized with labeled compartments, which would be a backpack his dad would be proud of.
Scott began designing The DEAN, and in 2022, The DEAN went on the market.
Near Zero is an adventure one-stop shop for all the gear they need for a backpacking trip. Scott’s and Dean’s dream to make an outdoor gear company that creates high-quality, lightweight, easy-to-use, and affordable gear, became a reality.