Kevin Riley grew up in the small town of Klosters, in the Prättigau Valley in the eastern part of Switzerland. From an early age, he was hiking far up to the summer alp farms above his town and in to Berghaus Vereina.
After his family moved to a cattle ranch in Kamloops, BC in Canada, Kevin started hiking and riding horses far up into the remote range lands. Snowshoeing far into the forests of Ponderosa pine and aspens, Kevin started to learn the basics of wilderness survival. Later, in the 1980s and as a member of Search & Rescue, Kevin took intensive wilderness survival and first aid training, and was soon training others. He writes, and gives demonstrations, about wilderness survival and backcountry first aid.
Having developed an interest in cooking as a young boy, Kevin also started creating his own recipes at an early age. At the age of twenty, Kevin received an invitation to study as a chef in the kitchen of the Romantik Hotel Chesa Grischuna. Unfortunately, the new chef at the Chesa only spoke French, and Kevin could not train with him. Instead, he kept working on his gourmet cooking and developing his own recipes. On the Kuma Blog, he shares recipes for the trail and from the mountains of Switzerland.
In 1987, Kevin went back to university and studied mechanical engineering. As one of his design projects, Kevin decided to design something he had always wanted for his backcountry trekking – a low-profile mountaineering stove. Now, as the founder and designer at Kuma Outdoor, he is designing outdoor gear that improves on what is available to outdoor enthusiasts – employing the kaizen he learned after moving to Japan in 1996.
Now living in Osaka, Japan, Kevin tries to get out of the city and into the many mountains nearby at least once a week. Although Japan’s image is of large cities and rice fields, most of the country is rugged and mountainous – 73% of Japan’s land area is mountainous. Trails lead up onto knife-edge ridges, up to sacred mountains, past beautiful temples and shrines, and through tiny farming hamlets. Kevin shares pictures and detailed descriptions of his hikes around Japan.