There are a ton of outdoor gear companies out there, probably more than ever and new ones spring up each year. One thing I’ve been looking at when evaluating different brands, particularly clothing, is the quality of their gear and who REALLY makes the clothing. Is it put together in a bottom dollar sewing shop overseas? Where are their raw materials sourced from? Not all of this is readily available and if no mention is ever made of where the products are from or who assembles it, that is fine. It doesn’t mean it’s a bad product. However, if I’m going to justify shelling out a hefty sum of my hard earned money it would definitely help me justify the purchase if I know a little more about the companies who really put it all together. While I’ve not done exhaustive research I have found a few companies that are forth coming about what is behind their product.
At the top of the list is KUIU. This is a company that is doing it right form the start. You notice in the first paragraph I made no mention of requiring it to be all made in the USA. While it’s a plus lets admit it, we aren’t the best at everything. I also didn’t mention it because KUIU is very forthcoming about their product, where it is sourced from , who sews it and why they were chosen for the job. Their blog and website lays it all out. All their wool is sourced from The Merino Company in Australia, many of their garments contain fabric from Toray Industries in Japan and it’s all cut and sewn at Tamoda Apparel in Vancouver. While it would be great to be made in America Jason Hairston, Owner of KUIU, has gone to great lengths to select only the very best for his products and he explains it all in detail on their website and blog.
Next up is PolarMax. I’m currently reviewing their base layers and I can honestly say that this stuff is great. I was a skeptic about some of the layers but throughout turkey season with temperatures as low as 30’s and as high as upper 80’s the layers performed as well or better than I would expect them to. On top of that they are 100% Made in the USA. As their website says, “Our complete manufacturing facilities, warehouse and shipping activities take place within a 15 miles radius” down in North Carolina. To add another layer to that they are very GREEN! Their whole process is designed around less waste and a small carbon foot print. Most of what other companies consider trash PolarMax considers re-taskable. Old cardboard is reused in the packaging process and you will see the proof in your purchase. The thin cardboard that the clothing is folded around is likely a piece that was once intended to be the label piece on either old or outdated packaging. Lastly their gear is still very affordable because of this close knit green process.
The final company is UltimateCamo. My friend Andy who owns UltimateCamo has made it a company priority that all of their garments be made in the USA. Everything in their line up is made right here and it’s great stuff to boot!They’re main clothing producers are Clarkfield and Ideal. Keeping things within the borders get expensive due to labor costs but they’ve done a good job of keeping the prices reasonable. As with the other brands the gear is definitely worth more than their price. UltimateCamo is a great pattern I’ve been using it for a while now and if you hunt in the woods it gets the job done. It’s also very durable gear. I’ve gone throughs some nasty briar patches and my UltimateCamo BDU pants still look like new. All of that plus it’s backed by a great guys that I have the privilege of calling my friends.
Now that I’ve put this out there what do you know about the brands you wear? Does it even matter to you? If you know of other companies who pride themselves on responsible and quality sourcing and manufacturing leave a comment and let me know. I’d love to know what other brands are doing!