Our favorite gear based in the Blue Ridge
We all do our best to go local when we’re picking our beer and veggies (nothing beats a local IPA/beets pairing), but you can also go local with your outdoor gear. The Southern Appalachians has a strong manufacturing tradition, and today, that tradition continues as some of the most innovative gear on the market is designed here and made here. Here is some of our favorite local gear.
Watershed McKenzie From $130
Asheville-based Watershed has been making industry standard dry bags for decades, but with the McKenzie, the brand is breaking into the bike category. The McKenzie is a 10.5-liter handlebar bag built for bikepacking or just cruising around town that’s fully waterproof thanks to the Zipdry closure and roll-top design. There’s no better way to keep your gear dry and safe when you’re on the bike.
Simple Shot, based in Western North Carolina, takes a childhood staple and reinvents it for adults. The Scout has a nearly-indestructable polycarbonate handle with textured imprints for your forefinger and thumb and an ergonomic grip that creates a sturdy slingshot platform. Take this puppy camping with you and spend all of your downtime revisiting your childhood.
Asheville-based ENO changed the way we camp (and nap) when they introduced the Doublenest hammock 20 years ago. Since then, their hammock systems have become the industry leaders. The Sublink is their best yet, matching their lightest hammock (the 9.8oz. SuperSub) with the Helios suspension and Sil Nylon Rain Tarp and Guardian SL Bug Net. Put it together, and it’s the lightest complete hammock system on the market.
Former raft guide turned woodworker Alan Davis makes a variety of camp furniture that looks great in your Instagram feed. The original Blue Ridge Chair is still our favorite, though. It’s a two-piece design that slides together, sits low to the ground, and is made with American timber in Western North Carolina. It’s a no-waste factory too, so spare pieces of wood are turned into bottle openers.
Virginia-based Mountain Laurel Designs makes a variety of tents, tarps and packs for the ultralight set, but this solo bivy takes minimalist freedom to the ultimate level. The Superlight Solo uses cuben fiber for a featherweight, water-resistant sack you can use on its own or under a tarp.
Diamond Brand The Great Day ($250) and The Double Take ($79)
Asheville-based Diamond Brand is best known as a gear store, but they’ve been making gear for the military for years. Recently, they reintroduced a line of gear for the rest of us that ranges from dome tents to day packs. And they’re all made in the US. The Great Day is a retro-inspired day pack made from water resistant canvas—it’s your everyday carry thanks to the laptop sleeve and straps that convert from backpack to over the shoulder style. The Double Take is our favorite from the new line. Made from waxed canvas and 1000D nylon, this carry all is durable as hell and converts into a cooler with the inner Chilly Bag insert. Carry it over the shoulder or attach it to your bike.
Designed to help riders handle the heat, the Inferno has perforated fabric on the side panels and mesh-like Giro Air leg bands, and the fabric on the front of the short actually includes titanium dioxide (the active ingredient in sunscreen) to help reflect UV rays and keep you cool.
The rubber profile of this Swiss-manufactured shoe offers four distinct layers of grip, which enables it to perform in the toughest alpine conditions. Featherlight and comfy yet ultra-durable, it’s intelligently built for mountain running.
Why peppermint? Peppermint leaf yarn is naturally antimicrobial. Everybody needs fresh undies, and these deliver. They’re soft, breathable, and super-comfy. You’ll feel even better knowing that the undies are also eco-sourced and organic.
The prAna Pillar Printed Legging is made with recycled polyester performance stretch jersey and moisture-wicking technology. The design features a mid-rise fitted legging with a wide waistband, hidden key pocket, active stitch construction, and a triangle gusset for added comfort and reinforcement.
Osprey Ozone Duplex $220
This lightweight, carry-on-size travel pack is two-in one: one harness, two packs, and better overall load-carrying ability. The daypack frame supports and distributes the pack’s load through the comfortably padded hipbelt while the adjustable shoulder straps provide an excellent fit. Laptops, heavier essentials, valuables and everything you need on the plane stay close at hand in the daypack. The detachable cargo bag conveniently fits in the overhead, maximizing carry-on capacity.
Experience total freedom of movement without any wires. The YEVO Air provides reliable Bluetooth connection with lightweight, high-performance earbuds with outstanding sound quality.