The Top Outdoor Gear Brands That You've Never Heard of

The outdoor world is filled with many top-notch brands that all produce amazing gear. You likely recognize the brand names of the top selling U.S. brands but there are some amazing European brands that you may not have heard of. At Sierra Trading Post, we get a lot of high quality European products that can be hard to find anywhere else in the United States, and we're proud of these relationships.

Don't overlook these premier outdoor brands just because they're hard to say. Here is a list of the top six outdoor brands you've never heard of, why you should check them out and how to pronounce their names.

1. Haglöfs, pronounced Hog-lof(t)s, is the largest supplier of outdoor gear in Scandinavia. The company was formed in Sweden in 1914 when Viktor Haglöf began selling hand-stitched backpacks. In addition to backpacks, tents and sleeping bags, Haglöfs is an industry leader in Northen Europe for technical performance apparel including softshell pants, Polartec® fleece shirts and Windstopper® jackets. Haglöfs is dedicated to providing outdoor gear that is intelligently designed, made of the finest fabrics and environmentally responsible.

2. Hanwag, pronounced "Hon-v(h)ag" (with a soft v), is a German boot manufacturer that has been producing high performance boots for over 90 years. The company was founded in 1921 by Hans Wagner who was trained as a shoemaker just like his father and grandfather before him. Hans started making shoes in Vierkirchen Germany (near Munich) and the majority of their footwear is still made there. Hans built his first ski boot for the 1936 German Olympic Team and produced some light weight climbing shoes in the 1980s but the company has chosen to focus its effort on producing the highest quality hiking and trekking boots on the market. Hanwag boots are extremely rugged and well-made to provide optimal functionality.

3. Alico, pronounced "A-lee-co", another high quality European boot company. Their product is made in the Italian Alps by artisans who have mastered their craft of producing rugged long-lasting footwear. The rugged terrain of the Italian Alps has inspired an equally rugged line of boots designed for cross-country skiing, telemark skiing and hiking. Alico boots are made from oil-tanned, water resistant leather with moisture-wicking linings and state-of-the-art comfort. These boots are amazing for enjoying the outdoors.

4. Edelrid, pronounced "Ed-el-rid", was established in 1863 by Julius Edelmann and Carl Ridder in Southern Germany. The company originally made braids and cords, but in 1953 Edelrid invented the Kernmantel rope, which revolutionized the sport of climbing. The company went on to introduce the first climbing harness, the first stitched drawcord, introduced a 9.8 mm Dynalon rope in 2000 (the thinnest on the market), and was the first rope manufacturer in the world to ensure that all its ropes fulfill the stringent bluesign® environmental standard. In nearly 150 years of business Edelrid has led the way for premium technical mountaineering equipment. Their advances have paved the way for safer and more enjoyable climbing around the world. You can count on Edelrid's smart design, commitment to safety and dedication to performance for your toughest climbs.

5. Kästle Skis, pronounced "Kiss-lay", is an Austrian ski and binding manufacturer who's been making top-notch skis since 1929. Over the years, many of the world's best skiers have skied with Kästle Skis, including many Olympic gold medalists and world champions. The company is made up of life-long skiers who take pride in manufacturing the highest performing skis and bindings designed to perform and are made of the finest materials. It is the experience and passion for skiing that sets Kästle apart from other ski companies. They use the most advance manufacturing techniques so you can depend on speed and performance.

6. KJUS, pronounced "zhu-s" (like juice with a soft j) is a ski wear manufacturer developed by Norwegian Ski Racer and Olympic Champion Lassee Kjus. Lassee saw a need to develop high performing functional ski wear for men and women. The company introduced the first two-way stretch ski pants in 2003. This revolutionary design allows skiers to have a full range of motion while on the slopes. KJUS offers excellent ski jackets, ski pants, gloves and even some kids ski clothing. By focusing on outerwear that provides the perfect fit and function, KJUS has quickly gained attention in the ski world, in fact, KJUS was the official clothing partner for Bode Miller and Team USA in 2008.

There you have it. Six high quality outdoor brands you may not have been aware of. Now test your friends, see how many of these brands they know about. Also check out our previous blog post on hard to pronounce outdoor gear brand names.

Andy Hawbaker
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Andy Hawbaker
Andy is a hiker, backpacker, snowboarder and outdoor fanatic. When he isn't exploring the Rocky Mountains, burning marshmallows or scratching his dog behind the ear, he shares his experiences here on the Sierra Trading Post Blog.
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