Great Outdoor Companies in Washington
The state of Washington has a lot going for it. The high alpine adventures of both the Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges, the coastal rainforest, the sailboat-spotted Puget Sound, and a way of life and doing business that is reflected from these adventurous destinations. Washington has a number of outdoor companies founded and located within its borders, and here for you today are 12 of some of the most influential outdoor companies to come out of Washington state:
Brooks Running Company
Brooks might be best known for their wide variety of running shoes, from trail runners to lightweight distance achievers, but did you know they also have a full line of apparel including tops, shorts, socks and pants? And more importantly, did you know they are based out of Seattle, Washington? That’s right, and that’s where inspiration for shoe names like the Cascadia comes from. And to see just how embedded Brooks is into the Seattle community, check out this video from Brooks Running Company on the making of their Global Headquarters.
Now one of the largest outdoor parent companies in the world, including with it brands like MSR, Therm-a-Rest, and Platypus, this company comes from humble beginnings. After a large layoff from another Washington corporation, Boeing, in 1971; a team of clever, outdoor-loving engineers suddenly found themselves without jobs. But as it usually does, the great outdoors provided the answers and Therm-a-Rest was born. Having since evolved into a global company, Cascade Designs is still located in the heart of downtown Seattle.
Not only is Eddie Bauer’s corporate headquarters located in the beautiful Bellevue, Washington; but the man himself, Eddie Bauer was born in Orcas Island in the San Juan Island area. And since 1920, when he first opened his shop in downtown Seattle, the company has remained true to its home and true to its commitment to deliver the best in outdoor apparel. To check out Eddie’s A-one adventure gear, take a look through their First Ascent collection.
One of the snow sports industry leaders for the last 51 years, K2 Sports has grown to include over 15 different global brands and 40 consumer companies. Not bad for a bunch of powder hounds. Some of their brands include 5150 Snowboards, Line Skis, and of course their own K2 Skis. These guys tear it up in the Pacific Northwest and all over the world, and with their fleet of professional sponsors before them, they seem to be having a pretty good time doing it. And to check out some of that fun, and get you ready for a new season, check out one of many of K2’s Ski Videos.
Located in Yakima, Washington, Liberty Bottleworks strives to live up to the historical standards of its hometown. The hard work that once established Yakima in 1883 still can be found in every bottle that comes out of the Liberty Bottle wood works. From the clever Cotton Mouth designs to the straight up Artisan series, with Liberty Bottleworks, they aim to deliver more than just a fresh drink of water.
Although it can be found in over 5,000 U.S. outlets and 30 more countries, Nuun, pronounced “Noon”, is headquartered in Seattle, Washington. And it’s fitting. In a town surrounded by sharp mountain peaks, twisting and turning roads, and the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, this portable hydration mix is perfect for the Cascade athlete. At Nuun they are all about hydration, and to find some hydration tips of your own, check out Nuun’s blog here.
The reason so many outdoor companies spawn from Washington is because Washington has so many outdoor opportunities. From mountains to ocean, and everything in between including rainforest and desert, Washington breathes adventure with every step. And there might not be any better representation of this adventure notion than Washington’s own Outdoor Research. One of the leading gear and adventure manufacturers, Outdoor Research has an inspiring story and message they like to share, and to hear it for yourself, check out this Outdoor Research Video
If you have ever considered yourself an “outdoorsy person” there is a chance you have perused the aisles of an REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.). That’s because with over 120 locations spanning the United States, these often massive stores carry everything you could possibly need in the outdoors. And yes, as a common theme, they also have their beginning linked back to the Pacific Northwest and the state of Washington. Built by climbers and everyday adventurers, REI now offers more than just equipment but also classes and outings into the great outdoors. For a look at some of these outings, check out the REI Outdoor School.
Rite in the Rain
A product fit for the rainy weather of the Pacific Northwest, Rite in the Rain was first originally created for the logging industry and their need for a paper that could hold its own in the rain. With an array of products coming from their Washington headquarters, Rite in the Rain is dedicated to provide every paper need you might have in rainy weather. And to check out just how well this product works, check out this video of the Rite in the Rain underwater test.
With a name like Seattle Sports, it’s not a hard guess as to where this company originated. And since 1983 this Emerald City designer and manufacturer has been providing adventure athletes with an array of gear fit for adventure in the state of Washington. And if it’s fit for the state of Washington, with climates that range from high dessert to rainforest, it’s fit for nearly anywhere in the world. With products including paddling gear, waterproof bags, and car tops, you can find a full list of their inventory here.
Sherpa Adventure Gear
Located in Kent, Washington, Sherpa Adventure Gear was established in 2003 with an idea to celebrate the often unsung Sherpas that risk life and limb to carry ropes and lead the way up mountain crags like Everest. And under that notion, the company strives to give back to the impoverished communities that Sherpas often find themselves in by donating a percent of the profit made from the sales of their high-end mountaineering gear to the Paldorje Education Fund, which provides scholarships for the Sherpa’s children. To find out more about the fund and Sherpa Adventure Gears involvement, check out this link.
Starting with a single store in Seattle in 1978, Zumiez has since grown to over 400 retail stores in the United States and has become one of the leaders in the snow and skate lifestyle industry. With a primary focus in shoes and clothing, Zumiez also offers its loyal customers DVD’s, accessories, hard goods, and over 100 brands to find everything you could possibly need to ride in style. And with exclusive access programs like the Zumiez Stash, customers can not only shop Zumiez, but also live the Zumiez lifestyle.
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