If you’re looking to buy local and keep your dollars in Southern Appalachia, dozens of outdoor gear manufacturers are now based in the Blue Ridge region. Here are 14 of our favorites…
1. Eagles Nest Outfitters Jungle Nest Hammock
Assembled and distributed from home base in Asheville, NC, the JungleNest Hammock NoSeeUm mesh netting is an insect defense so fine (pun) that you can enjoy a worry-free hammock experience, nestled down in sturdy 210D Nylon Taffeta Ripstop material capable of holding up to 400 pounds.
One of the most convenient features is the organizer pocket/tote that hangs outside the hammock for storage purposes and then swallows the hammock when you’re ready to pack up—a built-in dual function that keeps you clutter free and close to your essentials while removing the chance that you’ll ever lose your hammock tote. Its full-length smooth-gliding zipper entry and glow in the dark zipper pull make access easy and convenient. $100; eaglesnestoutfittersinc.com
2. Misty Mountain Cadillac Quick Adjust Women’s Harness
Weighing in at only 19 ounces, the Cadillac Quick Adjust harness has six 7” gear loops and four easy-to-reach 1” quick-adjust buckles on the waistband and leg loops, conveniently adjustable with one firm pull—easy to put on and remove. The heavy-duty waist band with its reinforced, abrasion-resistant nylon exterior and 3/16”polyethylene foam-laden interior feels durable and secure – not to mention comfortable – with the rear Hypalon patch for added back support while resting in the harness, although the waistband may ride up onto the ribs of shorter torsos.
The sculpted leg loops are wide in the back and narrow in the front and insides, fitting to the contour of the legs and maximizing mobility without pinching or bulkiness. $125; mistymountain.com
3. Fits Socks Medium Hiker Crew
This sock retains its tightness and shape, with the cross-stitch on the deep heel pocket keeping the sock “locked” in place. With 70% Merino wool for cool season warmth and dryness and a medium weight design that puts the cushioning where it counts (foot, ankle, and lower calf), the Medium Hiker Crew provides maximum foot support on the trail with minimal bulk. $21; fitssock.com
4. Farm to Feet Mahtomedi Nordic Knee High
Here is a 58% Merino wool compression knit sock with hidden nylon plaiting for better durability as well as smoothness. Coupled with complex Nordic patterns and great arch support, these socks are both fashionable as well as comfortable. $24; farmtofeet.com
5. Watershed Drybags Ocoee Duffel Bag
Watertight below 300 feet, this submersible bag’s ZipDry® seal is 100% guaranteed to keep water out. Strong and durable, it also conforms to the shape of your contents, making it easy to stash in less than spacious conditions. The Ocoee is durable and flexible even in freezing temperatures, although the seal does require lubrication from time to time to keep it in top condition. $93; drybags.com
6. Recover Brands Hoodie
This cozily warm yet lightweight hoodie comes in both zip-up and pullover styles and is made from 100% post-consumer plastic and post-industrial cotton. The non-pilling exterior and super soft fleece-like interior are made from a 50/50 cotton-polyester blend and the front sports an eco-trendy Recover Brands logo, making this hoodie at once a comfortable and attractive fit.
7. Dirtball The 50 Jacket
Not only is The 50 Jacket a product of fifty recycled water bottles and recycled polyester, but it is also itself fully recyclable, with customers able to turn in their worn out jackets in exchange for a discount on their next Dirtball purchase – a closed-loop manufacturing process that saves three gallons of crude oil per jacket. Designed and produced within a 250-mile radius of headquarters, this eco-friendly black jacket is the first of its kind on the market. $175, dirtballfashion.com
8. Astral Brewess
Fashionably as well as practicably contoured with a rockered toe and step-down heel, this comfortable minimalist shoe comes in blue-black and maroon-gray and includes alternate shoelaces. The highly durable, water-resistant mesh-top Cordura™ fabric has two drain ports on each side to release water diagonally and two flushports in the heel to dispel water and silt, preventing sloshing noises or waterlogged toes. The G-14™ rubber compound on the outsole is completely slip-resistant, reinventing the concept of balance and traction on slippery surfaces. $100; astraldesigns.com
9. Bedrock Sandals Syncline 2.0
This minimalist sandal gives you all the good feelings of going barefoot without the pain: the textured ballistic footbed keeps your foot from slipping around in the sandal, while the dense weave of the 8mm Syncline Sole by Vibram (a 2 mm upgrade from the Earthquake 2.0) takes care of traction and sharp rocks.
The sandal almost feels like it’s not there it’s so lightweight (4.2 oz. each), but at the same time it looks and feels durable with the corded toe straps, military-grade webbing, and innovative strapping system. The sole is lock stitched to the footbed and comes with a lifetime guarantee. $74; bedrocksandals.com
10. Liquid Logic Remix XP 10
This well-received crossover kayak is rated for Class III – IV boating due to its speed and maneuverability. Its deployable skeg feature and special design contouring makes it great for tracking in flat water as well. It is a stable kayak, with 105 gallons of volume, a 10 foot span, and up to a 300 pound weight limit, yet it remains remarkably easy to roll.
11. Yama Mountain Gear Swiftline
The best feature of this two-person, two-pound hybrid tent with two side entries and a two-trekking pole setup is the facility with which the outer walls can be tucked up during good weather and quickly released in the event of a downpour. The Swiftline will be available late this fall or early next year. $430; yamamountaingear.com
12. Tsuga Oasis
The Oasis gravity-fed filtration system works with a Sawyer hollow fiber membrane with .1 micron-sized pores to ensure that no bacteria, protozoa, or cysts are able to pass through into the three-gallon capacity chamber. It’s compatible with nearly all other water filters, too. Simple to use and store, this half-pound Tek Air 200 TPU Nylon water filter bag produces 10-12 gallons of purified water in an hour and folds up neatly into a 2”x10” tube when you’re finished with it. $100; www.tsuga.us
13. Sylvan Sport GO-Easy
This multi-purpose utility/camping trailer is lightweight and fully customizable with add-ons such as a cargo deck, a front storage pod, and the handy-dandy Roost Explorer – a two-person camping pod. The GO-Easy can hold up to five bikes and four kayaks or a combination of both, and is capable of hauling outdoor gear and equipment (4-wheeler, mower, etc.) up to 325 pounds on its powder-coated steel frame. $1,995; sylvansport.com
14. Lightheart Gear SoLong 6 Tent
This roomy tent still keeps the weight minimal (1 lb. 14.6 oz.). The double stitched Sil-Nylon tent comes with a ridge pole which fastens to the top of the tent, creating—in conjunction with the six stakes and two adjustable tent/trekking poles (stakes and poles not included)—45” of head room over the 100”x55” of floor space. While not a freestanding tent, setup only takes about three minutes and the tent material gives zero hassle, making it easy to fold and stuff back into the tote. $298; lightheartgear.com