DISCOVER THE BEST HIKING GEAR STARTUPS
Every year there are hundreds of new startups in the outdoor gear industry that are advancing the way we get outside, it’s super easy to lose track of all these new outdoor brands. Especially if you aren’t attending the OR show each year or your job isn’t to discover the best hiking gear startups, like mine is 😉
Don’t you worry, at RYOutfitters.com we have your back. We share the latest and greatest startups in the outdoor gear industry so you don’t have to worry about missing any (at least none of the good ones.)
We actually interview the founders of these startups on The Built on Passion Podcast so that you can get to know the people behind these startups in the outdoor gear industry.
Below you will find our list of the 15 best hiking gear startups. I guarantee you will find a couple you’ve never heard of.
Outdoor Gear Industry: The 15 best Hiking Gear Startups
Forsake Footwear (http://forsake.com/) We’re starting off the list with probably the most essential piece gear for hiking, shoes/boots. We have been following Forsake since their beginning. They’ve raised over $100,000 on kickstarter, which launched in November of 2012. They have come along way, but what makes Forsake one of the best hiking gear startups is the fact that they have blended functional design with practical technology. Founders, Jake Anderson & Sam Barstow, wanted to address the issue that hiking shoes and boots are just too clunky and uncomfortable to wear all day. They didn’t want to pick between comfort, performance and style. That is how Forsake was born. Check out their original kickstarter video below.
Boulder Denim (http://boulderdenim.com/) Whether you’re hiking short distances or spending multiple days in the backcountry, you want your pants to be comfortable and built to handle anything you throw at them. Founded by Bradley Spence & Taz Barrett in Vancouver BC, “it started as an obsession to find a comfortable pair of jeans that you could put on in the morning and wear cycling, hiking or climbing, and still look stylish for a meeting or night out.” We included Boulder Denim in our list of the best hiking gear startups because their jeans use elastic material that ensures maximum mobility. Their jeans are not only hyper-elastic, but are stain resistant and hydrophobic. They’re perfect for climbing, hiking, or just lounging around. I’ve had a pair for the past few months and have worn them during long drives, out with friends, climbing Mount Washington in NH and so many other adventures. They are the most comfortable pair of jeans/pants I’ve ever worn.
Grayl Ultralight Water Bottle (http://www.thegrayl.com/) Grayl has created the world’s best purifer + filter bottle. It uses no chemicals and it takes a grand total of 15 seconds to purify and filter your water when you’re on the trail. Founded in 2013 by Nancie Weston & Travis Merrigan, and based in Seattle WA, Grayl made the list of the best hiking gear startups because of their innovation to the water filtration and purification market. At 10.9 oz, the Ultralight uses Grayl’s French press-style system of pushing water from almost any source through its replaceable purifier cartridge. Clean, better-tasting water is available in just 15 seconds in what Grayl says, “may very well be the only water bottle that anyone, anywhere, will ever need”.
Hummingbird Hammocks (http://www.hummingbirdhammocks.com/) You might be wondering why we included a hammock company on the best hiking gear startups list… Well, the reason is because it’s the world’s lightest and smallest pack hammock on the market. Coming in at 5.2 oz or 147g! It’s the perfect item to set up and chill in after a long rewarding hike. You can carry it in your back pocket or put it in your pack. Since it’s so light and packs so small, you won’t have to worry about it taking up much space. Founded by Chris Loidolt in 2015, they are based out of Colorado Spring, CO and make all their hammocks in the USA.
Point6 Hiking Socks (http://point6.com/) Regardless of the kind of hiking you are doing, you need socks that will protect your feet. That is exactly why we included Point6 on our list of the best hiking gear startups. Some may not consider them a startup, as they were founded in 2008 by the creators of SmartWool, Patty and Peter Duke. But with only 12 employees and such a high quality product, we couldn’t exclude them. Point6, which is named for 98.6 degrees F, utilizes only compact-spun Merino wool yarn — a much tighter yarn than ring-spun yarn — making for a much more comfortable and warmer sock. The wool is woven into a “matrix, or tic-tac-toe box,” says Peter, to create a form-fitting product.
Bearded Brothers (http://www.beardedbros.com/) Next on our list of the best hiking gear startups involves food. Now I know food isn’t gear, but the food you bring on your adventures is super important. That is why we included Bearded Brothers. Founded in 2011, they make their bars with an average of seven ingredients per bar. Their organic, non-gmo energy bars will Fuel Your Adventure. Not only do they taste great, but they are gluten & soy free, low glycemic, and are a great source of fiber and protein. Founders Chris and Caleb created Bearded Brothers because they were looking for a 100% organic energy bar with pure raw ingredients that would keep up with their lifestyle. Check out their bars and let us know what you think.
GoTenna (http://www.gotenna.com/) Have you ever heard of the hiker Aron Ralston? You might remember him from the popular movie 127 hours. Long story short, he was out in the backcountry by himself, got his arm stuck under a boulder and he had to cut it off to survive… OUCH!! I’m not saying that you should go out into the backcountry alone, but in case that scenario ever happens to you, you should pack the GoTenna. It is an antenna you pack in your bag which allows you to send texts and use GPS on your phone, no service required. Think of it as an advanced walkie talkie system. All you need is for someone to also have a GoTenna and you’re all set.
DolfinPack (https://dolfinpack.com/) If you are an avid hike/outdoor enthusiast then you probably own a version of a Camelbak, right? We’ll even if you don’t, you should check out the DolfinPack which is perfect for all of you outdoor adventures. DolfinPack made the list of best hiking gear because they made a more versatile hydration pack. You can take it in the water, and it won’t bounce up and down on your back, and is so form-fitting that you forget it was there. You can literally do anything with this hydration pack. Founded in 2014 by two friends who wanted to be able to bring water on all of their adventures without it being a hassle. Get your hands on one for your next adventure!
Give’r Lifestyle (http://www.give-r.com/) There are few companies out there, that have an overwhelming amount of soul and character/culture. Give’r is without a doubt one of them! Give’r was founded on the principle of giving it your all, giving a 120% effort towards anything you are doing. We included Give’r on our list of the best hiking gear startups because of the quality of product they create, which is a direct result of the passion and effort they put into Give’r. Their product line consists of hats, beanies, shirts all the way to mid-layers and the best damn glove ever: the 4-season gloves. Based in Jackson WY, they are a company filled with passion, working to spread the philosophy of Give’r.
Tree Tribe Sunglasses (https://treetribe.com/) Ok, ok. I know sunglasses don’t really fall under the “best hiking gear” category, but the reason we included them is because of their mission and focus on manufacturing quality products. Their mission is to build a cool natural fashion brand that does awesome things for the planet. Their core values are NATURE, ADVENTURE, TRAVEL, and COMMUNITY. All of their sunglasses are made from wood and for every pair of sunglasses they sell, they plant 10 trees. Pretty dope right? Everyone could use a nice pair of sunglasses for their next hike; why not buy your next pair from a company that plants 10 trees for your purchase?
Free Range Equipment (http://www.freerangeequipment.com/) If you are going on a hike, you most likely need a pack, right? I’ve always been a huge proponent of supporting locally made gear and that is exactly why we included Free Range Equipment on our list of the best hiking gear startups. Designed and manufactured in Bend, OR., it was founded to inspire freedom and creativity in the mountains and life. They design and manufacture a line of sport-specific backpacks for the performance-focused athlete. Core design values: light, durable, simple, functional, and sexy as hell.