About Pack Rat
Our founders, Scott and Carolyn Crook, met at the University of Arkansas in 1971 at the Chemistry department while studying as graduate students. In the Fall of 1971 they married and so began their adventures in the outdoors. Because the closest outdoor gear stores were a few hours' drive, they saw a need for a local store that offered quality outdoor gear and clothing. So, in 1973 they started their business selling canoes out of their garage and soon moved to their first location in Evelyn Hills Shopping Center as "The Pack Rat". As the business grew, so did the outdoor community in Northwest Arkansas and the desire for the trail in the Ozarks for local hiking and backpacking. Flagging of the Ozarks Highlands Trail began in the late 1970's but the lack of Forest Service funding to build the trail inspired the founding of the Ozark Highland Trail Association and the volunteers of the organization began building the trail in 1981 and finished in 1987 when the trail ended just beyond Fairview TH. Scott and Carolyn were outdoor enthusiast that give their time to help build the trail. Since 1973, Scott and Carolyn were among the many people to keep the dream of the trail alive and inspired outdoor enthusiasts to give their time to help build the trail. Since 1973, Scott and Carolyn have supported conservation of our public lands, encouraged philanthropy and volunteer time to help others, and teach their staff to be helpful, be a resource, be honest and if it meant connecting the customer with another retailer to best fit their needs, then that is what we should do.
Today, Pack Rat Outdoor Center continues with the original inspiration to offer quality gear and clothing for any adventure, big or small. To be a resource for local outdoor recreation information and inspire our community to explore wild places local, national and worldwide. We work hard to offer a space where our community can gather to support local non-profits and encourage everyone to volunteer when you can do something that has meaning to you. Our events and clinics are designed to teach and inspire you to be curious and adventurous about the natural world around us. As consumers ourselves, we are doing everything we can to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost our daily and event waste to be leaders in waste responsibility in our community with our in-house diversion rate(percentage of waste diverted from the landfill) being 90%! Our building was designed with sustainability and recycling in mind from the logs that were used for the structure for the structure which were harvested from a forest fire in Montana to the decking made of sawdust and recycled plastic. In 2015 we installed solar panels that power the entire store on sunny days as well as feed power back into the grid.