There’s a special pride we take in learning about craftspeople who have found a way to continue producing and making gear in America. As more and more companies move out to keep prices down, there are a few that have continued to produce as much as they can here in the US.
The outdoor space is no different. Whether it’s a line of sneakers, a sharp blade, capable hiking shoe or a specific type of tent that is put together from start to finish, there are brands spread across the country making high-quality gear stateside — from as far west as Seattle to as far east as Biddeford, Maine.
We pulled together a list of outdoor brands that are tried and tested, with much of their gear made right here in America. With any of these brands, you can feel proud about supporting them in your outdoor pursuits.
Editor's note: Thanks to the astute commenters who alerted us to inaccuracies in this story (including alpenluddites, who also makes cool custom backpacks and bikepacking bags worth a look). We have made corrections and updated the piece with a number of American brands worthy of the spotlight.
Johnson Woolen Mills
Based in northern Vermont, this homegrown brand has been making fabric from the wool of local sheep and putting out quality shirts, jackets, pants and more since 1842. If you are on the hunt for cozy flannel produced using traditional processes — hand cutting, sewing, piecing, serging, and finishing — you will find plenty to love here. Just don’t let the old-school style fool you, as Johnson Woolen Mills is earth-conscious too. The company turns leftover materials into mittens, fanny packs, flasks, wool rugs and other accessories — or recycles them into woolen fabric, yarn or insulating products.
Duckworth’s wool comes from Merino sheep that live in the high elevations of the Montana Rockies. The process begins at Helle ranch in Dillon, Montana where the sheep are shorn, the fibers are graded and then sent to the Carolinas for textile production. The fleece is selected for its specific style used in everything from tees to sweatshirts.
Based in Seattle, Filson makes some of the most handsome jackets, bags and clothing for the outdoor market. Its luggage has caught our attention, but we’re also big fans of its rain jackets and rugged outerwear. Since 1897, C.C. Filson sold entire outfits to west-bound pioneers during the gold rush. The rugged aesthetic continues to guide the brand as it crafts durable and comfortable gear well into its 123rd year.
Green Guru Gear
One of the newer brands on this list, Green Guru Gear was born in 2005 with a mission to make great outdoor and cycling products in an eco-friendly way. The Boulder, Colorado-based company upcycles old equipment such as bike inner tubes, wetsuits, and climbing rope — keeping them out of landfills by incorporating them into packs for backs, bikes, hips and more. Local bike and outdoor shops give discounts to customers who donate used gear, and brands like REI and Patagonia pass along materials as well. All the stuff is locally processed, sorted and given new life at the Green Guru warehouse.
This outfit has been making leather work gloves under a few different names since the 1920s. When overseas manufacturing boomed in the 1990s, this little brand held on by selling its gloves private label to a garden lifestyle company called Smith and Hawken, which Target acquired in 2010. The Vermont Glove name came about in 2019, along with a rebrand and a new design for skiers. It continues to source its materials — including genuine goat leather and merino wool for liners — in the US, assembling gloves in its Randolph, Vermont facility, which runs on 100 percent renewable energy.
Hyperlite Mountain Gear
Between Kennebunkport and Portland, Maine, you’ll find the town of Biddeford. There, in an old mill building, Hyperlite Mountain Gear designs and manufactures all of its outdoor gear — including shelters, tents, stuff sacks and outerwear. You’ll find lots of Dyneema — a fabric and fiber that’s 15 times stronger than steel, yet still light and waterproof and durable, especially through Maine’s winters.
White’s Boots has been around long enough for lore, which has it that Otto White’s great grandfather learned how to make durable footwear while shodding loggers and soldiers in West Virginia in the late 1800s. Otto acquired the trade and in 1915 moved operations to Spokane, Washington, where White’s still builds its boots by hand today. Buying a pair of White’s is a lifelong investment, too – the company has a rebuild program that’ll put spring back into the step of any worn-out pair.
This brand’s roots go back to 1889, when the four Case Brothers started selling handmade knives along a wagon trail in upstate New York. They eventually set up a permanent shop in Bradford, Pennsylvania, where the company continues to manufacture its products. US soldiers have carried the company’s blades in every US war, and one even went with astronauts to the moon aboard Apollo 11.
It might’ve been a road trip through Europe that inspired Tim Leatherman to invent the all-in-one pocket-sized tool that’s so iconic today, but his company has been making its handy products stateside in Portland, Oregon for many decades since. The company does source a very small number of components from manufacturers overseas, but many of these are finished in the US, where assembly takes place.
Igloo traces its history back to 1947, although it was a bit different early on — a metalworking shop that produced metal water coolers for blue-collar workers. (The first all-plastic ice chest wouldn’t appear until 1962.) These days, Igloo has 1,200 employees, a 1.8 million square foot, three-building facility in Katy, Texas, and more than 500 products sold around the globe. Last year, in response to growing demand, the company announced plans to hire up to 500 temporary workers for the Katy-based plant.
Since 1932, Danner has crafted boots to help you conquer your next adventure — whether that’s trekking through the snow to work, hiking along tree-lined Adirondack trails, or navigating the switchback trails of the Grand Canyon. The Portland Select line of boots includes city-to-mountain hikers and dress boots, all made in the USA.
Based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, FITS produces socks crafted by third and fourth generation textile manufacturers. The brand’s staff-favorite socks are great for hiking, running, skiing and tactical pursuits.
Western Mountaineering, a San Jose, California-based brand that specializes in top-notch sleeping bags, has been around for more than 30 years. No matter what temperature you’re sleeping in, the bags will keep you warm from -40 degrees Fahrenheit to 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you want ultra-lightweight gear that still performs at the highest level while out on the trail, head to Zpacks. Its shelters, backpacks and sleeping bags have been made in America since 2005. Joe Valesko, the founder, thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and more. If you’re heading out on a long trip, Zpacks gear is a good place to start.
BPA-free plastic water bottles are some of the least expensive, yet high-performing bottles on the market. Born in Rochester, New York in the 1940s, Nalgene's leak-proof and lightweight bottles are still hard to beat, even after all these years.