There’s no shortage of awesome, American-made outdoors gear out there if you know where to look. Here we highlight some top made-in-the-USA picks to keep your gift-giving dollars fueling the domestic economy.
Topo Designs Dopp Kit ($34)
Colorado-based Topo Designs’ dopp kit combines tough Cordura outer and water resistant cloth lining. The kit’s large enough for longer trips, but not too massive to toss in your pack for an over-nighter.
Benchmade 940 Osborne Design Knife ($250)
It’s not cheap, but the 940-1 is an incredible folding knife, perhaps the best knife Benchmade has ever produced. It has an excellent reverse tanto blade, is remarkably light and has a solid, easy-to-use Axis lock. Read our full review here.
United by Blue Bison Snap Jacket ($248)
United by Blue is an independent company based in Philadelphia that removes one pound of trash from a river or ocean for every product it sells. The brand’s offerings include a line of apparel and accessories. The Bison Snap Jacket is a lightweight, water repellant piece that’s ideal for mild winter temperatures (above freezing).
Estwing Sportsman’s Axe ($45)
Estwing has been making axes and hatchets in the USA since 1923. They are functional, handsome tools that will go toe-to-toe with much more expensive brands. The Leather Sportsman’s Axe is a gift-quality tool that serves its purpose well as a camp hatchet and won’t break the bank.
Tarptent Protrail ($225)
Since 2002, Tarptent’s following has been growing steadily. After testing out the independent brand’s ProTrail and interviewing founder Henry Shires last spring, we can see why. The Seattle-made shelters are beautifully engineered, super light and plenty durable at surprisingly low prices. The one-person ProTrail weighs 26 oz.Â and has served one of our editors well for the past year, weathering nasty storms without a problem. It’s also worked admirably as a two-person tent when needed.
Darn Tough Vermont Hiker Micro Crew Cushion ($22)
Darn Tough Vermont only makes socks and the company is damn good at it. The merino socks are produced in a mill in Northfield, Vermont and are some of the most durable we’ve ever worn. The independent brand even has a no-questions-asked, lifetime guarantee. If you manage to wear a pair out, send ’em in, and they’ll send you a new pair. The Hiker Micro Crew (both men’s and women’s) is a go-to for many thru-hikers that’s every bit as practical day-to-day.
Twin Six Standard LS Wool ($160)
Twin Six is an independent, Minneapolis-based cycling apparel brand that’s been producing design-forward goods since 2004. The Standard Collection is the brand’s premium line, and the Standard LS Wool jersey is the latest addition. The California-made, 100-percent merino wool piece holds it own on brisk fall days and is an ideal layering piece when the temperature drops below freezing.
Leatherman Tread ($165)
Leatherman is an independent, Portland-based company that’s been domestically producing knives and multitools since the mid ’80s. The Tread mixes the functionality of a multi-tool with the bling of a bracelet. It’s TSA-compliant, so you can take it through airport security. In use, the 29 “tools” range from convenient to somewhat silly. The tread isn’t a multi-tool replacement, but it looks sharp and has the functionality to get you out of pinches. Read our review here.
Jade Yoga Voyager Mat ($40)
Jade Yoga mats are all made in the U.S. with natural rubber.The Voyager mat is extra thin (1/16″) and extra light (1.5 lbs.) and folds into a backpack or suitcase. For every Saffron Voyager mat Jade Yoga sells., $5 is donated to ovarian cancer charities.
Light & Motion Urban ($50-$150)
Light & Motion makes outdoors lighting systems in its Marina, Calif., headquarters. The brand’s bike lights, in particular, are some of the best on the market. Several of our editors have been using the Urban nearly daily for years. The Urban line has a runtime of an hour and a half on high (up to 800 lumens) and six hours on low. Mounts to bars or helmet.
Feathered Friends Flicker 20 UL Quilt Bag ($400)
Feathered Friends started making down products in Seattle in 1972. The Flicker works as a quilt for two in warmer weather and cinches at the bottom with a full-zip for a bag that’ll have you sleeping comfortably well below freezing. The Flicker 20 UL uses 900+ fill down, weighs 26 oz.,Â and packs down tiny. Not to mention it’s made in the U.S. Be sure to check out the brand’s jackets, vests, and bedding while you’re at it.
Inside Line Equipment Default Mini Backpack ($220)
Inside Line Equipment is an independent, San Francisco-based bike bag company. The brand’s offerings range from day packs to photographer bags and phone holsters. Our editors tested the Default mini XPAC sailcloth bag. We found it toÂ be as tough as any bike pack we’veÂ ridden with It’s completely waterproof and a nice in-between size that compresses with small loads, but it’s large enough for grocery runs and long weekend trips.
Danner Mountain Light II ($380)
The Danner Mountain Light II is built by hand in Portland, Ore., with full-grain leather, Vibram Kletterlift outsoles, and waterproof GORE-TEX liners. The result is a boot that looks good in the city and is durable and comfortable enough for the trail.
Finn Essex Side Bag ($255)
This simple shoulder bag is perfect for transporting fly fishing gear, and built to last a lifetime. It has a rod holder loop, multiple places to clip your Floatant Holder or Tippet Sling, adjustable leather strap, internal pocket, and two external pockets. It’s made by hand (be sure to allow 1-2 weeks for manufacture!) in Connecticut from 18 oz. waxed twill, canvas, and beautiful brass hardware.
ON3P Wrenegade ($500 – $780)
The ON3P Wrenegade is one of many great domestically manufactured skis that will go toe to toe with the imports. Let your dollars support some workers in Salt Lake City while your feet enjoy a versatile ski designed with an elliptical rocker profile that can bust crud, float powder, rip groomers. TheÂ specially designed side cut quickly engages turns.
Zippo Lighter ($15+)
You don’t have to smoke to use a Zippo lighter. The heritage brand makes lighters guaranteed for a lifetime in the outdoors. The brand hasÂ been making lightersÂ since the 1930s in Bradford, Penn., where the factory has cranked out more than 500 million of the handy fire starters. These refillable lighters burn well even in the wind and stay lit, making them a great companion for lighting candles, the grill, or even fireworks closer to home.
Frost River High-Falls Short Day Pack ($95)
Duluth-based bag company Frost River makes all its product in-house with high-end waxed canvas, leather, and brass that makes for bags that look sharp and last for years. We visited Frost River’s headquarters, and were impressed by the manufacturing process and sincerity of the folks working there. The brand’s offerings range from massive canoe packs to panniers and duffels. The day pack is an affordable entry point, but be sure to check out the full, drool-worthy spread.
Mad Water Waterproof USA Duffel Bag ($160-$230)
Submersible and bomber, these domestic duffels (made in Georgia) have a waterproof zipper from YKK and are made of radio-frequency-welded polyurethane. They come in three sizes, from 30 liters and up, for hauling big loads in a watertight case.