When in Rome, do as the Romans do. And when in March, make a bracket! GearJunkie editors have long debated which brands stand at the forefront. Who makes the most substantive innovations to propel the industry forward? Who is making the most impact in sustainable practices and creating gear that stands the test of time? And perhaps most importantly, who is reaching the diverse and growing adventurers — new and experienced — who make up the outdoor recreation economy?
So, rather than argue back and forth with one another, we decided to open it up to you, the folks whose opinions ultimately matter the most. And, leaning into the nationwide craze that is March Madness, we devised a bracket. Before you even ask … because brackets are fun, that’s why.
Here’s how it will work: We’ll post head-to-head matchups on Twitter. And you will vote on which brand(s) you love the most! We’ll open up voting and post matchups a few times each week. And each winner will advance until a final head-to-head matchup to crown your ultimate favorite outdoor brand.
It’s that simple. Check out the bracket below to see what to expect.
Best Outdoor Brand: The Fine Print
First off, this is not a comprehensive bracket of every outdoor brand. Lots of our — and your — favorites aren’t on here. We took a stab at making a showdown that included every brand we wanted, but it quickly surpassed 100. And while we want this to be fun, we all have day jobs.
So after much nail-biting and consternation, we whittled our inaugural list down to 32 brands. This is in part popularity and size, and also relevance and prominence in outdoor gear.
We also had to make tough choices based on our demographics. Sure, Metolius makes amazing crash pads and Fox makes terrific mountain bike gear, but that’s a sliver of GearJunkie’s overall outdoor audience. So we strove to include brands that offer a wide array of general outdoor gear.
Is it perfect? Probably not. But that’s OK; this is our first shot. And if you like it, we’ll make it better — and bigger!
So take this with a grain of salt and have some fun. And if your favorite brand isn’t here, let us know on social. We’re listening and want this to be the most fun bracket it can be. Let the games begin!