Amy Hatch is the founder of Garage Grown Gear, an online magazine and store focusing on outdoor startups. Most of the products below are covered or available for purchase on Garage Grown Gear.
Pack Raft — Supai Adventure Gear – At just 1.5 pounds, and packable to the size of a wide-mouth water bottle when rolled up, Supai’s raft is a seriously cool boat. Made in Arizona, the flat-water packraft is particularly well-suited to descending slot canyons and exploring alpine lakes.
US-Made Outerwear — NW Alpine – Clothing made in Oregon by climbers for climbers, this is THAT company, the incarnation of a truly innovative, garage-grown brand. NW Alpine clothing has been tested on all seven continents and used on difficult first ascents around the world.
Ultralight Packs — Hyperlite Mountain Gear – Ultralight and uber comfortable, Hyperlite packs are made from Cuben fiber, a waterproof material first used to make sails. All HMG packs are designed and built in Maine in what was one of the largest textile mills in the country.
Quilts For Camping — Enlightened Equipment – This brand’s “technical” quilts are not mass-produced or one-size-fits all — they’re custom and handmade, not to mention affordable. They are designed to be lightweight alternatives to sleeping bags. Tim Marshall and his team make them all in a workshop in the small river town of Winona, Minnesota.
Sway To Sleep — Hummingbird Hammocks – When the company founder, a skydiver, decided he needed a hammock he looked around his parachute rigging loft. He ended up using skydiving materials to make one. The result was a hammock that is stronger, lighter, and smaller-packing than most other offerings on the market. Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, Hummingbird Hammocks is now a thriving small business, with all products made in Colorado.
Fashion And Function — Nina.B.Roze – Made for yoga, running, and workouts in the gym, Nina.B.Roze offers a new kind of look for active women. Or dress up in the USA-made clothing with a pair of boots for a night on the town. The company founder launched the Los Angeles-based business in 2011 from her mom’s garage.
Snowshoes — Northern Lites – Wisconsin-based Northern Lites has created a tough but incredibly light snowshoe. If you’re hard on your gear, you may have met your match with Northern Lites. Depending on the model, the snowshoes weigh a mere 2 to 3 pounds.
Bike Shorts — Shredly – These bike shorts aren’t distinctive just because they are designed for women, but more notably because of their bold colors and patterns. The founder is also the main designer for the company, and she figures you can get a black short from any of the other companies out there. She offers something no one else makes.
Sail Cloth Accessories — Ragged Edge Gear – Industrial-strength sail cloth wallets made of Kevlar and carbon fiber in Virginia are one offering from this small brand. Now, you may be thinking that carbon fiber is for bikes and Kevlar is for bullet-proof vests. But these materials are also usable in flexible products like sail cloths, wallets, and durable gear bags, too.
Outerwear — American Mountain Co. – You might, at first, mistake a jacket by The American Mountain Company as vintage winter clothing. But take a closer look. The Michigan-based company makes men’s technical outerwear in an “Americana classic” design. The USA-made clothing is so stylish that people often don’t realize it’s designed to endure the elements while mountaineering or skiing in the wilds.