GROWING UP ON A WISCONSIN FARM, CHRISTIAN SCHAUF RECALLS RELYING ON A PRACTICAL SKILL SET AND CONFIDENCE TO WORK THROUGH CHALLENGING SITUATIONS. “YOU HAD TO BE PREPARED TO DO ANYTHING BY YOURSELF AT A VERY YOUNG AGE,” HE SAYS OF THIS FOUNDATION. “THINGS I TOOK FOR GRANTED KNOWING HOW TO DO: CHANGE A TIRE, JUMP-START A TRUCK, PROBLEM SOLVING WHEN THINGS WENT WRONG A LONG WAY FROM HOME,” WERE SKILLS THAT HE LATER REALIZED MANY PEOPLE DON’T HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY OR NEED TO LEARN.
Schauf extended his pragmatic knowledge base when he traveled the world, making 38 multi-week trips to Iraq while entertain – ing U.S. military troops with his band, Catchpenny, and setting up independently in remote locations. An insatiable adventurer, Schauf pushed his limits climbing, skiing, hunting, mountain biking, and get – ting into the nitty-gritty of life in the outdoors. But getting stuck in an eight-hour traffic jam during an unexpected Southern California snow storm inspired Schauf to develop a product that fulfilled a specific niche: disaster survival. “People were essentially hunkered down in their cars until help could arrive,” he remembers, explaining that dozens of vehicles slid off the road after two inches of snowfall. “I started thinking about what kind of portable system could help people survive in unexpected situations.”
While plenty of survival gear components were available on the market, Schauf couldn’t find a high-quality, well-organized version that included clear instructions. So, he built one. “I was imagining what a totally ‘green’ person would need in any emergency. It would need to be made of very high-quality, durable materials and be easy to use.” Thus, the SEVENTY2 Survival System was born. “Air, shelter, water, food,” he says of the necessities. “All with instructions printed clearly on each component so you don’t need to flip through a bunch of paper manuals to figure it out.” The kit includes everything needed to support a person for the crucial first 72 hours of an emergency. He set up an Indiegogo account and appeared on the television show “Shark Tank,” drawing early investment. The company, Uncharted Supply, now has seven full-time employees in Park City and a few dozen elite-level specialists who develop and test the line of backpacks, first aid kits, cutting-edge water purifiers, and emergency support equipment such as the “Zeus” battery charger, which can jump-start a diesel truck engine. Uncharted Supply products are now sold in nearly 150 countries, with clients ranging from Nike to the FBI.
Schauf still personally tests the prototype gear in the field, often with his dog, Barron, at his side. (Barron’s adorable mug is the company logo.) “It’s something I learned early in life, to be hyperefficient,” he says of wearing the many hats needed to run a start-up company. “You don’t outsource things you can do yourself.” As for picking Park City as his home base? That was a no-brainer. “I’ve skied everywhere, and wanted to be in a mountain town in the West. But the infrastructure of Park City is incomparable for a business.” Schauf says with a grin, “It’s a town that hits well above its weight.”