In Conversation: Tomas Hofmann
With the latest Nike ACG range release nearing, it only made sense for us to connect with our number one Nike ACG fanatic, Tomas Hofmann. While most people wear Nike ACG to stunt on their mates in the streets, Tomas is putting the gear to the test on some of the hardest hiking trails around. His love for the brand was sparked after seeing a teacher rock some ACG Escapes to school in the mid-nineties. Ever since then he’s got right into hiking and all things Nike ACG, so much so that he’s started @nikeacgcommunityau with a main focus of organising community hikes and getting people kitted out in ACG gear. Have read of the rets of our chat below and then browse the Nike ACG collection and get your kit ready for when we organise our hike!
Q. Firstly, introduce yourself; who you are, and what you do?
Yo yo! I'm Tomas Hofmann, originally from Ireland, been living down under in Melbourne for close to 12 years. To pay the bills, I'm the Group Facilities Manager for a company called Funlab. I'm a bit of an ACG enthusiast, love putting it to the test on the trails. When I'm not hiking I'm filling my ears with techno, boom bap, reggae and trip hop, and watching a bit of football (soccer) in between.
Q. What came first, the love for hiking or the love for Nike ACG?
Interesting question. I remember almost getting whiplash back in the early 90's when my science teacher rocked into class with these Nike's on. I was like "Wow what are those sir?", he said "ACG Escape". I never found a store in Dublin that sold them, but one day, circa 1996, I did find my first ACG shoe, a silhouette I still can't find the name of to this day, navy leather with a navy mini swoosh on the lateral side, orange ACG Triangle logo on the outsole, very Lahar-esque. So technically ACG came first but I've always had a fondness for hiking, ever since I did the Inca Trail back in '04, but only really got into it proper in 2017, and then the return of ACG back to it's 90's roots in 2018 just escalated the whole thing into the passion it is today. Now it's a 50-50 love affair.
Q. We’ve been following @nikeacgcommunityau for a while now, how’d it all start?
I'd been thinking about it for a while, and there wasn't a Community page on insta for AU yet, so one day early last year I decided to start one up and share my passion. I wanted the main focus to be organising Community Hikes in Australia, taking inspo from Tanner Gimbels @theculturepdx Community Hikes and Kenny Mack aka @acgmack, the man that started #acgcommunity, and get as many ACG enthusiasts decked out head to toe in ACG to join me on quarterly hikes on some of Vic's most beautiful trails. I haven't forgotten about the rest of Australia, I'll be organising some in your states very soon, along with an International Community hike that's in the early days of preparation. Outside of the hikes, I like to share product info on all new ACG apparel and footwear, the more technical the better, as well as gear from the early 90's right through to the Lungs era, gear that I've tested to the max on some tough ass trails. I'm always looking to do something a little different, create my own content, stuff like the All Conditions Questions series, which has stalled on Episode 3 haha, but fear not, I've got some more amazing guests lined up so that'll kick off again very soon. And I've got some other fun ideas I'll be implementing on the page in the coming months. That's basically where the page is at right now, still quite small but growing.
Q. What’s the coolest bit of tech you’ve come across in the Nike ACG range which we may have never seen?
Hmmm let me think, there's some very cool tech from the Lungs era, but there's one crazy piece my good mate Jay aka @mrvlaz told me a story about on the very first Community Hike last year, thank you Jay. Yes ok, I've never seen it in person, only in pics, and it's definitely a piece that I'll never lay my hands on, but it's gotta be the ACG Iguana Vest, basically a body vest made for iguanas haha. The story goes like this, to research and protect the endangered Jamaican iguana, biologists began releasing them into the wild in the mid 90's, each fitted with a vest holding a small radio transmitter to monitor their movements. For the first few years, the limestone rock in the area destroyed the special vests holding the transmitters. In 2001, those biologists came a knocking on Nike's door to provide custom-made vests with abrasive-resistant fabric. The final version has a stretchable, breathable mesh upper and a polyurethane coated leather belly portion. All the released iguanas survived, leading researchers to conclude that the vests may have served another purpose, as body armor. All Conditions means All Conditions. Oh and they came in 2 colourways hahaha, with the Lungs logo printed on top, proper iguana flex. Maybe one day I'll hike the Hellshire Hills in Jamaica in search of one. Read the full article here, it's pretty interesting.
Q. Do you have go-to trails you like to revisit or do you mostly try and explore new areas?
Always love to explore new areas, always on the lookout for something more technical, more hardcore, more crazy than the previous one. But don't get me wrong, I still go back to some of my faves.
Q. If you could pick one area to explore anywhere in the world, where would it be and is it somewhere you have been before?
That's tough, so many places I still need to explore. But it's probably gotta be Aconcagua in Mendoza Argentina. I've already been to base camp but I plan to return in 2023 for the 18 day expedition to the summit, 6961m, the highest peak outside Asia, it's been on my bucket list since a Scottish hiker told me the story of his eyelids freezing near the summit. Who knows after that, maybe one of the Eight-Thousander's, dream big right? And there's one other big dream I have, to collect the rest of the nine 90's ACG patch series apparel and do a world tour hike in their namesakes, Makalu, Devils Tower, Mount St.Helens, Cerro Torre etc. I'd have to be a proper mountaineer, which I'm not haha, yet. But maybe I could just hike to all the basecamps for the shot. Anyone who knows me knows I love a good inspo or recreation photo.
Q. What is it about hiking that you love so much?
The challenge. The fresh alpine air. The wildlife. The views. The campsite. The tech. The ACG. The post hike beer. I also strangely love when it starts to go very wrong, we say 'pear shaped' back home! I've been in some really tough situations on the trails that call on every ounce of mental strength within you, when you come out on the other side there's something liberating about it. When it's over, I say I'll never put myself in that situation again, but a few months later I'm craving those moments haha.
Q. Ever had any close calls with nature? Give us a juicy story!
I've had a couple of close encounters with snakes. I was inches from stepping on a Brown Snake midway through The Dreaded Viking Circuit. They've stopped me dead in my tracks whilst running down mountains. And I've had my last meal taken off me by a crow on a multiday hike, not so juicy, but I was hungry haha. I've had some hairy moments getting lost on wilderness trails in deep dense bush too. But it'll take something deadly for me to call in the rescue, something like a snake bite.
Q. Favourite Nike ACG gear to hike in?
Another tough question, but on foot in the dry it's gotta be either the '13 ACG Zoom Meriweather Posite or the '16 Air Zoom Sertig, in the rain none other than the Terra Antarktik. Apparel wise, I like to go far and fast so the more lightweight technical stuff for multidays the better. ACG 'Rope De Dope' packable always comes along, as does the ACG Goretex Paclite, then anything with Dri-Fit ADV, and ya gotta have the ACG Goretex Infinium Bucket Hat up top. All depends on the weather too, Vic can throw all seasons in one day at you. I also love vintage gear but it's a risk on the big ones. I'm excited for the ACG Gaiadome GTX boot that's on the way, I have a feeling it'll be the ultimate hiker.
Q. Thoughts on taking us and some lucky customers on a guided hike one day?
Just click your fingers buddy, I'm there, but be prepared to work haha.