Made-In-USA Gear Awards

Sterling Rope Company was born in the USA, and today it paid off.

The Maine-based climbing rope manufacturer was named the overall winner of the third-annual American Made Outdoor Gear Award.

GearJunkie was on hand to watch the festivities as the prize was announced at a crowded Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The American Made Outdoor Gear Awards were open to all American manufacturers.

“Sterling’s story of creating not only a strong domestic manufacturing company, but helping grow domestic [manufacturing] within their community is to be commended and celebrated,” said Jeff Turner of Kokatat, the founder and host of the awards.

Sterling of Biddeford, Maine, has been producing rope, cord, and hardware for climbers, first responders, and arborists since 1992.

“Buy local,” said Carolyn Brodsky, president of Sterling Rope. “Buy made in America.”

As winners, Sterling will take one-year ownership of the “Sassy” traveling trophy — a two-foot tall, hand-carved, redwood Sasquatch from Humboldt County, Calif.

The 2015 awards harvested intriguing data regarding U.S. manufacturing and sourcing from 110 companies that were nominated:

  • 42% of applicants were founded in the last 10 years
  • 76% created new manufacturing jobs in the last year (totaling almost 1000 new jobs)
  • 61% source a component of their product within 50 miles of their facility
  • California, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington are home to about half the companies

Winners in several categories based on company size were also awarded, including wool apparel manufacturer Voormi of Pagosa Springs, Colo.; sock-maker Dahlgren Footwear of West Linn, Ore.; water bottle manufacturer Polar Bottle of Boulder, Colo.; and Cascade Designs of Seattle, Wash., which is the producer of outdoor products from the MSR, Therm-a-Rest, and SealLine brands.

Sean McCoy

Editorial Director Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.