There’s a quality, a longevity, and a certain steadfast feeling associated with products made in the U.S.
Despite the division that continues to threaten our nation at the moment, if you ask most people who you meet on the street if they support U.S. manufacturing, the answer is an emphatic “yes.”
We’re a great nation — we’ve persevered, accomplished, pushed boundaries, explored, invented, and innovated at a constant pace since we became the U.S. in 1776.
The spirit that imbues and inspires that exploration and that innovation is still felt today in our manufacturing. It’s not giant factories, pumping out thousands of products a day to be sold all over the world and thrown away within a year or two. It’s not fast, and it’s not cheap. It’s family-owned companies that started small and, for the most part, may still be small.
Support Each Other: Buy Local
American manufacturing is steady. It’s your neighbor, getting up with the dawn, opening up their little shop on a Main Street somewhere and settling down for a day’s (and night’s) work. It’s sourcing the best materials — from within the U.S. whenever possible. And it’s knowing that this is going to take a little longer to build, but it’s going to be worth the wait.
We want to support that. We want to support our country. In a time when things feel more divided than they have in generations, this is something we can rally around. So we decided to put together an entire virtual base camp, with all items designed and manufactured in the U.S.
From high-tech tents to humble water bottles, this is what we chose.
Made in the US: Essential Products for Camping
Investing in high-quality camp gear usually comes with an initially high price tag. But you’ll save over time by avoiding the dreaded repair-and-replace cycle that comes with most outdoor gear.
Any one of the Hyperlite UltaMid 4 Ultralight Pyramid Tent’s features is enough to brag about on its own, but when put together, they form a unique and high-quality tent that (we think) justifies its price tag.
Tough Dyneema Composite Fabric keeps rips and tears at bay and will outlast traditional tents on the market. At an astounding 1.44 pounds, you’ll hardly feel the tent in your backpack, and it can easily be stowed in the vehicle. The classic pyramid style of the tent ensures sanctuary in inclement weather and easy setup wherever you’re headed.
About the brand: Dan and Mike St. Pierre co-founded Hyperlite in 2010. It operates out of a renovated 1880s textile mill in Biddeford, Maine.
OtterBox Venture 45 Cooler: $245-300
Looking to keep things icy at the campsite? Look no further than OtterBox’s cooler. Known for its protective gear for phones and small items, OtterBox ventured into cooler production in 2017. The brand’s Venture cooler keeps ice up to 14 days and features a unique mounting system that allows you to attach easy-to-forget accessories, like bottle openers, onto the side of the cooler.
With any insulated cooler, you’ll want to pre-cool it before your trip. Keep it out of direct sunlight and fill it with ice 24 hours before you pack it up for your trip. This will maximize efficiency and retain ice quality.
About the brand: OtterBox was founded in 1998 by Curt Richardson, first based out of his garage. Its headquarters are located in Fort Collins, Colo.
Field Company Cast Iron: $125
An investment in quality, this cast iron will function beyond camp and into the everyday kitchen. Easy to clean, hardy, and built to last, toss the cast iron in your camp kitchen pack without worrying about damage to the pan. Make camp nachos, scrambled eggs, or whatever else strikes your fancy around the fire.
If you’re at all familiar with cast iron cookware, you know they only get better with age. If taken care of properly, this is a campsite investment that will be passed down through generations of adventurers.
About the brand: Field Company was founded recently in 2020 by two brothers, Stephen and Chris Muscarella. They named the company after their grandmother, inspired by vintage 1930s cast iron pans inherited from that side of the family.
Is plastic back? I think so. Recycled, U.S.-made reusable plastic water bottles are an affordable and highly useful alternative to insulated water bottles. They’re lightweight, take less energy to produce, and will last you for years to come.
Nalgene is a classic in the outdoor world, and Sustain, the brand’s newest line, combines modern mentality with heritage design. Sustain bottles are made from 50% certified recycled content, taking plastic out of the landfills and back into our hands.
About the brand: Founded in 1949 in Rochester, N.Y., by Chemist Emanuel Goldberg, it was first called the Nalge Company, which Goldberg named using his wife’s initials (Natalie Levey Goldberg). In the 1970s, the company became known as Nalgene Outdoor.
Initially developed for Yosemite mountain guides, Adventure Medical Kits’ Ultralight Pro kit is packed to the brim with emergency medical supplies designed to meet the needs of a variety of outdoor injuries.
The kit features professional-grade supplies, including a CPR mask, splints, bandages, dressings, and more, all sealed in an ultralight and watertight bag meant to be used at camp or out on the trail. It also includes the “Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness & Travel Medicine,” a detailed and thoughtful manual on wilderness and travel medicine.
About the brand: Adventure Medical Kits is part of Adventure Ready Brands, which Dr. Eric Weiss started in 1973 and was incorporated in 1977. The brand’s headquarters are located in the heart of the White Mountains in Littleton, N.H.
A cult favorite, Dr. Bronner’s Soap is biodegradable and takes tiny amounts to do a ton of cleaning. Translation? It’s perfect for camping. With its fresh scent and multitude of uses, it’s a key item to take on any camping trip.
The soap is made with no synthetic dyes, fragrances, or preservatives. It’s biodegradable, meaning you can rest easy knowing the pursuit of clean camp dishes won’t negatively affect the surrounding environment. (That being said, you still shouldn’t use it near water sources. Instead, dispose of dirty camp water in a cathole.)
About the brand: The brand was founded in 1948 by Dr. Emanuel Bronner, a third-generation master soapmaker, in Escondido, Calif., now headquartered in Vista, Calif.
The humble camp stove, maker of meals, provider of nourishment, banishment of hanger — this is one tool that you don’t want to fail when you’re adventuring in the wild.
Made in the U.S. with domestic and imported materials, MSR claims its Reactor stove is the “fastest and most fuel-efficient stove ever made.” According to lab tests, the stove boils half a liter of water in 1.5 minutes.
Not only is the stove efficient, but it’s also compact. The stove and fuel fit inside the pot, making packing and unpacking the stove (particularly in bad weather) a breeze.
About the brand: MSR was founded by Larry Penberthy in 1969 in Seattle.
Therm-a-Rest MondoKing 3D Sleeping Pad: $210-230
Sleep fit for a king (or queen). If you’re car camping and have the extra space, invest in a couple of these ultra-plush sleeping pads. They’re built with what Therm-a-rest refers to as StrataCore construction — the brand’s proprietary construction that utilizes a continuous layer of thermal foam tucked between layers of air and foam.
This layering provides ultimate comfort while you’re sleeping in the wild, retaining the ability to compress down into a manageable size when you’re packing up.
About the brand: Founded in 1972 by Jim Lea, Neil Anderson, and John Burroughs, Therm-a-rest is headquartered in Seattle.
There’s nothing like cozying up in front of the fire with a warm blanket (and maybe an adult beverage as well). Not all blankets are created equal, and Filson’s Mackinaw Wool blanket surpasses any basic blanket you’ll find on a standard camping goods list.
Made from 100% virgin Mackinaw wool sourced in the U.S., Filson’s premiere camp blanket utilizes wool’s natural insulation and antimicrobial properties to deliver warmth and comfort, whether you’re inside or under the stars.
About the brand: One of the oldest brands in the outdoor space, C.C. Filson founded the brand in 1897 in Seattle. The first store — C.C. Filson’s Pioneer Alaska Clothing and Blanket Manufacturers — opened that year, and the brand’s first catalog came out in 1914.
There’s nothing like a classic, is there? Zpacks makes no-frills, all-performance sleeping options to keep things warm and cozy while exploring. The brand’s 10F Classic Sleeping bag features water-resistant, 900-fill down and is treated with a C6 water-repellent to keep you dry and comfortable during wet weather.
A roomy footbox means you can sleep in whatever position you like and stay comfortable. The bag doesn’t feature a hood, so you’ll want to wear a beanie or the brand’s Goose Down Hood to retain heat throughout the night. And the brand makes tents and layers too.
About the brand: Founded in 2004 by Joe Valesko, Zpacks is located in West Melbourne, Fla.
Camp Time Roll-a-Chair: $59-64
You’d be surprised how difficult it is to find a camp chair manufactured in the U.S. That being said, if you don’t feel like having your cooler do double duty as both a food storage system and chair, check out this option from Camp Time.
The Roll-a-Chair comes in three heights and converts from a chair to a small rolled bundle, complete with a shoulder strap. Camp Time suggests the 19-inch Standard Chair for use with full-size tables.
About the brand: Founded in 1983 by Dave and Leo, each of Camp Time’s products is inspired by a direct experience in the outdoors. It’s based in Spokane Valley, Wash., and is still a family-run business to this day.
Known for its elevated design and superior product quality, many would assume that with the brand’s Japanese heritage, all Snow Peak products are manufactured outside of the U.S.
It turns out that the brand (in addition to its U.S. headquarters) has a selection of U.S.-made accessories, including Snow Peak’s Pack Bucket. Great for washing dishes at camp without the mess or transporting dry goods and small items you don’t want rolling around, the Pack Bucket performs a variety of duties without taking up much room. The bucket can be folded flat when not in use, but with its practicality and durability, you may never need to.
About the brand: While Yukio Yamai founded Snow Peak in 1958 in Japan, it moved operations to the U.S. in 1999. The brand (now led by Yamai’s son Tohru Yamai) first operated out of Gresham, Ore., and now has stores in Portland, Ore., and NYC.