Meet 5 of Utah’s Buzzworthy Gear Brands
It’s only a month or so until the snow starts falling and our favorite resorts start spinning the lifts again. That also means it’s the time of year when brands start promoting their newest gear for the 2019–2020 season, which can be hard to resist: not needing an upgrade isn’t the same as not wanting one, after all.
But before you shell out big bucks for the latest outdoor gear, consider keeping it local. Buying local eliminates the need for your product to be shipped long distances, which has a significant impact on reducing carbon emissions and the use of fossil fuels. Keeping your money in the local economy is also more economically advantageous as your spend goes directly to the locals and businesses who keep Utah lively and prosperous. Buying local ensures you’re doing your part to maintain Utah’s status as a hub for outdoor recreation and innovative outdoor product development.
But don’t think that means you can only buy from “Mom & Pop” stores—though there are plenty of those we love. Below are five picks for companies to buy from if you’re trying to keep it local, no matter what kind of gear you need for the upcoming season.
For everyday hats, hoodies, and tees, check out Wild Tribute. The brand makes casual tees, hoodies, and hats inspired by national parks and public lands. The Salt Lake City-based brand’s slogan is “4 the Parks,” and they take it seriously. Four percent of their proceeds are dedicated to parks and non-profit organizations working within parks and public lands, including Friends of Utah State Parks and the Western National Parks Association. The five-person company designs and screenprints all its products in the Beehive State. Many of their items have creative camp, ski, and mountain-inspired designs, but their simple mountain-meets-buffalo logo is a great choice for anyone who hears the call of the wild on weekends. WildTribute.com, sold online and in local retailers and parks
For technical cold-weather gear, shop Black Diamond. You’ve surely heard about this massive outdoor brand, but what you may not know is that it’s proudly Salt Lake City-born and raised. They’ve got two new and highly technical new Merino wool pieces for 2020, both of which are designed for running or layering on the slopes. The Rhythm Tee is the lightest Merino wool t-shirt in the world, built with mixed Merino wool and nylon cord fibers. This makes it stretchier, stronger, and much quicker drying than traditional Merino. Need a new ski mid-layer? Good news: B.D. makes their Solution Hoodie with the same innovative fibers. Wear it as a layer or throw it on over jeans when you’re headed to après ski. BlackDiamond.com, sold in local retailers
If you’re a runner, treat blisters with Wūru. There are plenty of blister-prevention products on the market, from affordable bandages to sticky foam padding. But Wūru (pronounced like Woo-Roo) presents an alternate solution: Merino wool. It’s easy to use: take a small piece of wool, apply it around your foot against any sore spots, and you’re done. The wool provides breathable padding and cushioning while reducing friction to minimize blisters. And because it’s Merino wool, it regulates your temperature to ensure your foot won’t overheat. Plus, it bonds with the material of your sock to stay in place, so you can say goodbye to bandages that fall off and get balled up in your shoe. If you end up loving the material, you’ll be pleased to know Wūru is coming out with a cozy apparel line later this year. Wuruwool.com, sold online only
If you’re on your feet all day, shop at Kuru. BYU graduate Bret Rasmussen’s passion for footwear started with a sneaker obsession when he was just 12 years old. And after graduation, he turned that childhood interest into a full-time company when he won the 2006 Utah Entrepreneur Challenge. The brand is now a favorite of shoppers with sore feet, plantar fasciitis, or other sports or running injuries. A great choice for winter is the Kuru Quest, a low-ankle boot for both men and women. Its grippy outsoles are perfect for hiking and loose terrain, but the thoughtful styling (especially in the men’s leather option) makes them appropriate for wear to your office or favorite brewery. Kuru also donates a portion of each sale to a charity of the buyer’s choice. Between financial donations and donations of shoes and materials, about 30 percent of your purchase with Kuru cost goes back to non-profit organizations focused on environmental sustainability, community economic development, and several other worthwhile causes. Kuru.com, sold online and in stores
If you’ve got little ones, check out Sawyer. The owner of the Park City-based brand grew up in Utah and started Sawyer when he realized that his own kids were relying more on technology for entertainment than outdoor recreation. While he’s quick to note that he’s not against technology, he wants to see there be more of a balance between outside time and screen time. Though the two-year-old brand currently offers just clothing, it plans to expand in the next few years to offer educational events, family and child-focused experiences, and additional products that encourage kids to hit the trail. Sawyer donates 10 percent of its profits to organizations that support child development and environmental protection. Their tees and hoodies are made for children, but the designs and logos are so appealing that you’ll probably wish they made them in adult sizes. BeSawyer.com, sold online