Nobody denies that technical outdoor gear is expensive. According to Moosejaw, an online gear retailer owned by Walmart, it’s one of the primary factors contributing to the severe lack of diversity in outdoor sports and activities. It’s also the chief reason why the pair just launched two new affordable outdoor brands called Allforth and Lithic.
The two brands take on some of the industry’s biggest categories: Allforth produces clothing while Lithic makes camping and backpacking gear. Everything is designed by Moosejaw and distributed through Walmart’s well-established infrastructure (both brands are available at Walmart, but only Lithic is available at Moosejaw).
“The majority of Lithic and Allforth customers have never walked into their local gear store or visited a specialty website,” says Moosejaw CEO Eoin Comerford in a press release. “Yet, they do visit Walmart.com or shop their local Walmart. That is where we will introduce them to our products and our outdoor activities.”
Lithic’s Two-Person Tent costs $129.
Walmart and Moosejaw clearly believe access is wrapped up in price as much as it is physical retail. Allforth’s clothing, which includes shirts that wick and stretch and the ever-outdoorsy zip-off pants, starts at $15 and tops out at $35. Lithic’s line, which includes sleeping bags, tents, backpacking backpacks and lightweight cookware, spans from $25 to $149.
Of course, long term quality is typically a reflection of price, and that course has yet to play out for either young brand. Neither Walmart nor Moosejaw — which sells far pricier gear from Patagonia, Arc’teryx and more — are positioning Allforth and Lithic as cutting edge.
Instead, they seem to be more of a stepping stone, an entry point into the clothing and equipment that makes something like a multi-day backpacking trip more comfortable and less intimidating. And if new adventurers do get hooked on getting outside, they’ll quickly find that upgrading their gear is part of the fun.
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