It sure may cost a pretty penny, but if you can afford it buying American is almost always a good choice. It’s a win for everyone involved— a domestic business gets your support, and you get some seriously well-made goods. Not only that, but you can sleep easy knowing that more likely than not, the hands that went into creating your goods were treated well and paid a fair wage. If you’re a hiking enthusiast, why not take a peek at some great products made right here at home that can take you farther on the trail?
It’s a no-brainer that we should start with the most basic of hiking necessities: boots. Without great footwear, you won’t be able to carry on very far. What started as an exciting adventure may quickly dive into an internal dialogue of “are we there yet?” proportions. L.L. Bean (Maine) makes some great boots that come in both men’s and women’s versions. The Vasque Breeze 2.0 uses Gore-Tex and Vibram outsoles to keep your feet dry. Combine them with the right pair of socks, and say goodbye to the most of unfortunate of discomforts. The Oboz Bridger Waterproof Hiking Boots feature a waterproof leather upper and an outsole that provides great grip on the trickiest of trails.
Wolverine is another American company that makes amazing boots. While their hiking footwear isn’t handcrafted here, the company has been in the business for over 130 years so you can be assured that they know what they’re doing. The Spencer Waterproof Mid-Cut Hiking Boot features a nubuck upper that sheds water to keep you dry on the slipperiest trails. Wolverine prides itself on its waterproofing technology, and according to reviews they offer comfort fit for everyday wear.
Now that you’re feet are ready to scramble over whatever the trail throws your way, you should turn your attention to backpacks. Storing your supplies in a secure but comfortable way is important for a good hiking experience. Hyperlite Mountain Gear manufactures their good up in Maine, and their Daybreak pack is one of their best. Recognized by National Geographic Adventure Magazine as 2016’s “Gear of the Year”, it’s prime for day trips when packing light is a must. It’s water- and rip-proof, comes in three different sizes, and features a front bungee cord to lash an additional tool (like an ice hatchet) to the pack.
If you’re preparing for a longer trip and will need something a little more rugged, Minnesota’s Duluth Pack may have what you need. The Bushcrafter Pack boasts heavy canvas construction, a slim profile for easy navigation, and an 18” axe sleeve. It’s nicely adjustable too, and comes with a removable waist belt. It’s on the more technical side, looks great, and made for the strenuous trails.
On the opposite end is the “Zero” Ultralight Backpack from ZPacks. Made from extremely durable Cuben Fiber, the Florida company’s Ultralights embrace the functionality of minimalism. No frills here; you can add on your own pockets to customize the pack to you experience.