Hand-Carved American Outdoor Gear Award Goes to Providence
We got the news at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market. That’s a big deal for us. Small company, small state and all. Shoot, we’re not even your typical outdoor gear. But it’s nice to be recognized for helping people get outdoors for a good walk or a bike ride even if it’s downtown or up the street – all over the world. We make our garments in Fall River, Massachusetts with an attention to detail that we seem to have in common with our fellow winners.
The Sassy award was inspired by the folks at Kokatat. It’s recognition for companies with compelling domestic manufacturing stories. Kokatat has set a great example. From the very start the brand’s founder saw that local production was necessary to control quality and develop the best paddling apparel in the world. Now 40 years later, over 90% of their revenue comes from products handmade in their Humboldt County factory (150 employees strong). Everything is made to their own exacting standards with a lifetime guarantee. That’s important to rugged offshore seakayakers.
We won in the 1-10 employees category, so we got a perfectly small Sassy. LUNA Sandals was named the overall winner of the fifth-annual American Made Outdoor Gear Award. LUNA Sandals handcrafts the world’s best adventure sandals in Seattle, Washington, three blocks down from the Space Needle. That's where the big Sassy is for the next year.
Rock Exotica won in the 50-100 employee category. For 28 years they’ve been focused on producing the most innovative technical gear. They make the gear themselves in Utah. You appreciate their attention to detail when you’re hanging by a rope.
Frost River of Duluth, Minnesota picked up the Sassy in the 10-50 employee slot. These guys started 250 years ago, kinda. That’s how long their forefathers – loggers, trappers and adventurers – in the deep North Words have relied on their packs in unforgiving and unrelenting environs. These guys carry that legacy in producing some of the most elegant bags and durable goods you’ll see.
Exxel Outdoors of Boulder, Colorado, was recognized In the 100+ employee category. They’re the largest manufacturer of sleeping bags in the US. Plus they make a range of equipment and apparel that spans backyard campers and alpine expedition mountaineers.
Outdoors is a big place. We all see the value of nature, parks and open spaces. Fresh air, a little exercise and some healthy interaction with fellow humans really can't be beat. All around the world there are skilled craftsmen with good ideas that help inspire us to get out there. We feel like we're on the right track.