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A Legacy Outdoors: Diamond Brand Gear in 2018

Diamond Brand Gear Pop Up

Recently I learned what a foot is. I couldn’t stop calling it a boot. It’s a tool. It’s a guide. It’s your best friend. 

Also called Presser Feet, these little pieces of metal are an essential part of the sewing machine, which at its core, is what Diamond Brand Gear is all about. Established in 1881, Diamond Brand Gear has a legacy of crafting high-end products for outdoor enthusiasts, by hand, in America.

I recently stopped by their new pop up shop in Downtown Asheville to say hey, check out their new lineup of gear, and take some photos. It’s barely open, dimly lit, and really cool.

An open, shotgun style space, the first thing you see when you walk in is an island of sewing machines. Their power cord lifelines reaching down to each machine from the ceiling, it’s a unique feature in the middle of a shop.

“The machines aren’t just for production, we want people to get their hands on them as well,” Says John Delaloye, CEO of Diamond Brand. Folks will be able to sew right alongside the seamsters at the Diamond Brand Pop Up.

When asking about sales, Procurement Director Trey Hellums simply put, “We need to make more.” While we chat, seamster Chris Della Posta is gathering and organizing a “mise en place” of materials. He’s about to start making more bags. Along with their facility in Fletcher, the bags are made, right there in the shop. When they are done, they go on the shelves to purchase. Literally made by hand in America right in front of you. I love how transparent the operation is.

A History Outdoors

Diamond Brand Gear has been around since 1881. That’s 137 years for the mathematicians out there. They have accomplished a lot In that time, including making the first backpacks for the Boy Scouts of America in 1931. When the 1960s rolled around, Diamond Brand Gear started manufacturing products for the outdoors. It’s around this time when they moved south to Western North Carolina from Pennsylvania. Situated right between Asheville and Hendersonville, they were in the perfect spot to be on the forefront of the outdoor gear industry.

The Great Day Pack

What’s New For Diamond Brand

Old. Old is new for Diamond Brand Gear. They have done some rebranding (which as a designer, I love), bringing back a retro look to their gear. From the colors to the materials, you see it in everything. They’ve done a fantastic job of making these products feel organically retro, but still high quality.

Now, I have an unhealthy obsession with bags and backpacks. I don’t know what it is, but I just love them, a lot. So it was love at first sight with the Great Day Pack.

I had the pleasure of meeting Erin, the designer of the bag, at Get In Gear Fest. You could tell she was proud of her creation. The simple solutions to strap sizing, comfort, access, and storage all complement just how damn good the bag looks. Detachable compartments and straps allow the bag to simply adjust to its next adventure. One of my favorite features is the laptop sleeve, sitting a couple inches off the bottom, keeping your computer from getting dinged up everytime you set your bag down.

All of these little features add up to a really well planned, beautiful backpack.

The Double Take Bag

Another favorite of mine is the Double Take, which is a rad little cooler pack that can accommodate six-packs of cans, bottles, and bombers. They come in several different colors, and like the rest of their lineup, you can mix/match colors to make the bag uniquely you.

This cleverly designed bag has a separate, roll-top insulated interior made of wax canvas that keeps your brews cold while you’re on the go. The loops in the front allow you to latch the bag at different heights to accommodate different sized bottles and the latch doubles as a bottle opener.

From purses and computer bags to messenger bags and tents, they have a number of other products available as well. Be sure to check out their ever-popular Belay Bag that is a revamp of an 80s model pack and the higher-end Biltmore Series.

Grand Opening Downtown

On Friday, May 4, Diamond Brand Gear will host the grand opening of their Pop Up Factory in conjunction with the First Friday Artwalk in Downtown Asheville. The event runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is located at 69 Broadway Street.

The following day, at 3 p.m., they will be offering interactive activities to the public as a part of the Creative Intervention in downtown.

The Pop Up Factory will be open every Tuesday – Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Diamond Brand Gear truly does it different than most. The quality of their work and passion for the outdoors shines through in everyone one of their products.

To learn more, check them out at

Justin Forrest is an outdoor writer, fly fishing addict, and co-founder of Narrative North—based in Asheville, N.C. He posts pictures of cats and fishing on Instagram sometimes.

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