The award was announced during a ceremony at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City, UT.
Founded by Kokatat and shared with the Outdoor Industry, the American Made Outdoor Gear Award is a celebration of American manufacturing - a festival of ideas, so to speak. The idea was built in much the same way as many great American outdoor products - created in a small group, made to last, and built in a way that we all can be proud of.
Targeted at brands within the outdoor industry, the annual American Made Outdoor Gear Award is open to any company with a commitment to American manufacturing and sourcing who also has a compelling story to tell.
“Each year we are impressed by the amazing made in America stories from all our entries,” said Jeff Turner of Kokatat, the founder and host of the American Made Outdoor Gear Award. “Hyperlite Mountain Gear was a clear stand out this year with how they have focused on domestic manufacturing to drive their innovation and growth as well as their commitment to their local community.”
Hyperlite Mountain Gear makes ultralight packs, shelters and accessories using state of the art Dyneema® Cuben Fiber in a repurposed mill in Biddeford, Maine. “We maintain a high commitment to our customers, our employees, our community, and the innovations and quality that propel our growth,” said Hyperlite Mountain Gear Co-founder and CFO, Dan St. Pierre. “We are thrilled and honored to be recognized for our American-made manufacturing as it is a driving force behind that commitment.”
As winners of the American Made Outdoor Gear Award, Hyperlite Mountain Gear will take one-year ownership of the “Sassy” travelling trophy— a three-foot tall, hand carved, redwood Sasquatch from Humboldt County, CA.
Kokatat’s hosting of the awards is rooted in its own history, as the brand’s founder and president, Steve O’Meara, recognized from the start that keeping production local was necessary in order to control quality and continually develop the finest and driest paddling apparel in the world.
In addition to the overall winner, winners in several categories based on company size were also awarded. The category winners received a miniature version of the Sassy award during the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market celebration.
Category winners of the 2016 American Made Outdoor Gear awards include:
Under 10 Employees: Duckworth of Bozeman, MT, manufacturer of wool apparel.
50-100 Employees: Timbuk2 of San Francisco, CA, bag manufacturer
100+ Employees: Farm to Feet of Mt. Airy, NC, sock manufacturer
In the four years of the program the American Made Outdoor Gear Awards has received 290 entries from domestic manufacturers. Past overall winners have included Liberty Bottleworks, Benchmade Knives, and Sterling Rope.
This year’s awards were presented in the Sterling Rope booth during the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City, UT. The statues presented to the winners are hand carved by a local artisan near Kokatat’s headquarters in Arcata, CA. Earlier this year the artisan had a stroke, but she was proud to still be able to produce the small statues in time for the awards presentation.
“We are thrilled and honored to be recognized for our American-made manufacturing as it is a driving force behind that commitment.”