June 29, 2016
Outdoor Brands Making a Difference,
One American Factory at a Time
Hot dogs sizzle on the grill as cold beers clink together in celebration: two hundred and forty years strong and there’s no looking back now. As fireworks dance across the night sky, we gather our friends and family together, commemorating the spirit of independence our forefathers and mothers fought so passionately for. Whether you celebrate at a house party or a beach blowout, a national park or a backyard barbeque, one thing is certain, 4th of July is a special holiday. Beer and burgers are great, but here at the Gear Coop we’ve been thinking about other ways to make America great. Nope, this has nothing to do with toupees and politics but everything to do with choosing to spend your hard earned dollars on American made products. What better way to vote for our nation’s interests than supporting companies who believe in America and choose to keep manufacturing and jobs here at home. Check out these products for unsurpassed quality and workmanship while supporting the idea that you don’t have to outsource jobs to foreign countries to be competitive.
Based out of Bend Oregon, Metolius has been manufacturing fine climbing gear since 1993. They are certified Berry Compliant because they make 100% of their cams in the U.S.A. That means from the start of sourcing the metal to the final meticulous safety testing–every part of the process happens here in America. Whether you’re gearing up for your latest project and need the ever popular Metolius Ultralight TCUs or your looking to up your fitness game on one of their Campus Boards, Metolius has you covered.
As American as it gets, Blue Water was the first American company to make dynamic climbing ropes. Inspired by spelunking adventures, Dick Newell started producing high quality ropes in 1969. While a lot has changed since then, Blue Water’s commitment to excellence hasn’t waivered. Check out this video by Cedar Wright showcasing their Georgia manufacturing facility. We recommend the Lightning Pro 9.7 for all around performance and durability, but it’s hard to go wrong, considering top pros such as Tommy Caldwell, Conrad Anker, and Ashima Shiraishi all find a Blue Water rope between themselves and the ground.
If you’re looking for an example of standing behind a product, look no further than the Vermont based Darn Tough brand. This American purveyor of fantastically made socks is so confident in their workmanship, that they’ll replace your socks free of charge if they ever get a hole, perhaps the best lifetime guarantee ever! While summer weather means you’re probably not in the market for any of their fine winter offerings, check out the Women’s Vertex Ultralight CoolMax Socks for those sizzling afternoon runs or the Champion Crew Socks for those lazy summer days where you lounge around the house. Either way, slip into some of their incredibly comfortable socks and know that they fully back their products with the confidence that comes from making them stateside.
Based out of sunny southern California, Five Ten has been making top of the line climbing shoes since 1985. The brainchild of dirtbag Charles Cole, Five Ten revolutionized the climbing world with Stealth Rubber and the future-focused company is still innovating and progressing. If you’ve ever driven to Big Bear, chances are you drove right by the Five Ten factory in Redlands, where they still manufacture all of their climbing shoes to this day. Bolt clipping junkies should check out the Five Ten Quantums while crack enthusiasts can’t go wrong with tried and tested Five Ten Moccasym.
No matter your plans this summer, take a moment to remember how lucky we all our. The freedom and opportunities we all enjoy in this country didn’t just happen overnight. They were earned and fought for. This summer season, think about some of the things you buy, and consider supporting companies who keep their manufacturing here in America, making a difference one sock, rope, shoe, or cam at a time.
Cover Image: Michelle Jung / Instagram