12 Amazing Outdoor Companies in North Carolina
From the white blazes on the Appalachian Trail to the whitewater on the Nantahala River, North Carolina is nothing short of an adventure playground. If that’s not your style, maybe awesome adventure activities such as trad climbing in the Linville Gorge, ripping singletrack at Avery Creek, and getting lost (and found) in the Great Smoky Mountains sounds more like you.
Alongside a dense collection of adventures to explore, North Carolina has become one of the most influential states in the nation for gear production. Inspired by athletes and passionate people, all outdoor companies in North Carolina aim to maximize the landscapes that surround and make the world a more adventurous place.
American Backcountry, Asheville
One of the first companies to combine high-quality graphics and performance moisture-wicking tee’s, the technology behind American Backcountry can now be found across the world. Partnering with big clients such as the Boy Scouts of America and many national park concessionaires, American Backcountry has grown a lot since their origins at Trail Days in Damascus. Customized and created with the outdoors at heart, expect to see graphic tee’s for years to come from American Backcountry.
Born out of a Boy Scout backpacking trip in the Uwharrie Mountains, AntiGravityGear strives to provide equipment that can carry your further. Light and ultralight is the name of the game for AntiGravityGear, which can be readily seen with their iconic in-house designs including ultralight hammocks, rain kilts, and deluxe bear bag systems. In operation since 2000, AntiGravityGear is connected to the local community with donations to local trail building organizations.
Eagle’s Nest Outfitters, Asheville
Eagle’s Nest Outfitters (ENO) began in a traveling van before rooting down in Asheville to become one of the industry leaders in hammocks and relaxation products. A large part of ENO’s near two-decade success has a lot to do with their award-winning designs of parachute hammocks, chairs, and utility tarps, but maybe even more so with the community they’ve cultivated around their products. With a strong social media presence and culture surrounding their brand, ENO also chips back into the community by partnering with Trees for the Future and as a participating member of 1% For the Planet.
Farm to Feet, Mount Airy
On the northern border of North Carolina, Farm to Feet is an exemplary wool-sock company that commits itself to 100% American manufacturing. That means every material that goes into their award-winning socks including the nylon, spandex, and Merino Wool, as well as the packaging and product displays are made in the U.S.A. Whether they are for everyday use, hunting and fishing, or hiking and athletics, Farm to Feet’s American-made socks are made to go the distance.
LightHeart Gear, Arden
The owner and master-sewer behind LightHeart Gear, Judy Gross, was inspired to create her company after feeling the weight of her store-bought gear on the Appalachian Trail. An experienced hiker with over 4,000 hiking miles under her belt, Gross sewed a tent for herself in 2006 and has since made a big splash in the ultralight backpacker’s market. Specializing in innovative rain gear and women’s hiking clothing, LightHeart’s tents, including the LightHeart SoLong 6 and Lightheart Duo, are perhaps the most standout items.
Liquidlogic Kayaks Kayaks, Fletcher
From River Runners to Play Boats, ever since entering the scene in 2000, Liquidlogic has grown quickly to be a world leader in kayak production and design. Backed by a state-of-the-art molding process and rigorous testing and development, as well as a deep passion for the paddling lifestyle, Liquidlogic is a key contributor to the sport. With a home base in Fletcher, Liquidlogic finds pride in being able to walk out the factory doors to find some excellent whitewater nearby.
Misty Mountain Threadworks, Banner Elk
A long-time industry leader in innovative climbing equipment, Misty Mountain not only calls Western North Carolina home, but they consider the mountainous terrain to be their workshop and product development site. While climbing harnesses might be the mainstay of Misty Mountain’s product line, this adventure inspired company also specializes in other hand-sewn climbing items like slings, climbing packs and crash pads. If you have spent any time near climbing walls in the world, chances are you’ve already encountered this North Carolina company.
Recover Brands, Charlotte
Utilizing polyester from plastic soda bottles and cotton from cutting floor scraps, among other recycled materials, Recover Brands strives to provide outstanding comfortable apparel items in a responsible, sustainable manner. Specializing in tee’s, long sleeves and hoodies; Recover Brands have significant partners in the industry including National Geographic, the U.S. National Whitewater Center and Sierra Nevada. Outside of the social responsibility found on the product line, the different apparel at Recover is just plain comfy.
Specializing in lightweight and ultralight camping trailers, SylvanSport has carved itself a nice little niche in the outdoor industry. The Go and Go Easy adventure campers are a unique combination of comfort, carrying capacity and minimalist design. SylvanSport relies on their quality product to stand the test of time, and their own legacy and long list of awards stand as a testament towards the long-lasting products they love to produce.
Featuring a unique lineup of utility buckets, sun shelters, and all-purpose bags, Tsuga is a solution-orientated business based out of Boone. Made-to-order and produced in-house at their sterling production facility, Tsuga’s bottom line revolves around keeping the customer satisfied with each order. Much like the buckets and bags at Tsuga, the sun shelters have numerous applications and ways in which they can be used.
Specializing in watertight and submersible drybags, Watershed focuses on the true adventure consumers rather than big-box retailers. That means if you take your sport, military or weekend warrior activities seriously, and you don’t want to even have the faintest worry of getting your gear wet, Watershed is right for you. From waterproof backpacks and duffel bags to waterproof gun cases and kayak bags, if it’s the water that you love and getting your gear wet you hate, Watershed guarantees their North Carolina-produced gear will perform.
Beginning as an interior design manufacturing company, specializing in handmade curtains, pillows, and bedspreads, WildernessLogics pivoted and started to produce technical hammock systems and supplies. Keeping business local, WildernessLogics provides some of the most outstanding and handcrafted Hammocks and related accessories including Camp Chair Underquilts and Camouflage Tarps. Every item at WildernessLogics is custom-made, ensuring the right fit for you and your hammock needs.
Awesome Instagram Accounts to Follow in North Carolina
@Raleighwhatsup – All things local in Raleigh, North Carolina
@Oliverthegoldendoodle, Maybe the most photogenic dog in all of North Carolina, if not the country
@EatAsheville – Hungry? You will be after checking out this Asheville culinary enthusiast
@Smasheton – Inspiring health and fitness in North Carolina
@blairwheeler – surf and turf in North Carolina
@therestlesswild – adventure photographer in Durham
@kyle-jbritt – Raleigh-based explorer of life
@hispanic_mama – bilingual travel mama
@ryanmcavoy – paddling adventurer and all-around cool dude
@rosieladyblue –An adventurous girl and her dog
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