The Christmas countdown has begun and chances are if you are shopping for someone who lives in Wyoming, you are shopping for someone who loves the outdoors.
Wyoming is home to hunters, climbers and skiers, as well as intrepid and creative business people. When a passionate outdoor person is also business savvy, it leads to some great home-grown gear.
You can find tents, backpacks and guns designed and even built in-state. The list of Wyoming-created gear is long, but WyoFile has compiled a short list of favorites for the outdoor lover on your list.
For the wildlife watcher or hunter: Binoculars by Maven
About: Lander residents Mike Lilygren, Cade Maestas and Brendon Weaver are avid hunters, fishermen and skiers. They also understand optics — in particular that good binoculars are expensive to make, and that the price rises when a wholesaler is involved. The three launched Maven in August. The company allows people to custom design their own binoculars, choosing from different frames, sizes, magnifications and colors. The binoculars are designed in Lander and, while constructed overseas, shipped from Lander. The company bypasses a wholesaler allowing for high-end optics at about half the price, Weaver said. Custom binoculars take about three weeks to arrive from when you order, but Maven does have several models in stock that can ship immediately.
Cost: $500 and up
For the laid-back river rat: The River Runner by Give’r
Based in: Jackson
About: All it takes for a successful day outdoors is to give it your all, whether skiing a steep chute or a groomer. Founders Bubba Albrecht, Carly Platt and Jed Mickle created the clothing company in 2012 to be a laid-back lifestyle brand. Along with retro-inspired hats and shirts, they’ve also created an accessory line as playful as their designs. The River Runner is a hands-free coozie worn around the neck keeping your hands free to paddle your boat or man your fishing rod, while ensuring a cold beverage is always within reach.
For the minimalist trail runner: Scat Belt
Based in: Jackson
About: You know when you venture into bear country, whether for a multi-day trip or a quick trail run, you should always have your bear spray handy. Bear encounters can happen fast and there isn’t always time to dig to the bottom of your pack to grab your bear spray. The Scat Belt keeps your bear spray handy on your hip and can also hold a cell phone or other small personal items. It’s the perfect option for the minimalist going out for a run or the mountain biker hitting local trails. The belt is such a simple concept co-founder James Gilbert can explain the product in about 30 seconds and most people respond by wondering why it hadn’t been created before.
Cost: $29.95 to $39.95
For anyone who has to go outside: Woollies Mittens
Based in: Cora
About: Pamela Fetzner has been a seamstress most of her life, making her own clothes while growing up and teaching sewing classes in her 20s for a sewing machine company. Fetzner started making mittens from locally purchased wool sweaters about 5 years ago. She buys old sweaters and uses a process called felting that transforms the material to a dense and warm fabric. She then lines the mittens with fleece to make them extra cozy. Each pair is hand-made, one-of-a-kind and designed to endure a Wyoming winter. The variety of colors and patterns make them fashionable and fun as well as practical.
For the serious fisherman or woman: A custom fly rod from DC Rodbuilding
Based in: Cody
About: Forty years ago, Dave Crowther was a passionate fisherman who couldn’t afford the high-end rod he wanted. So he built his own. And then he built another, and another, until he honed his skills in creating custom rods to the point he was building better rods than those he’d coveted in the store. Crowther started DC Rodbuilding in 2005 and has sold rods all over the world. He specializes in single-hand fly and two-handed spey and switch rods, using high-end rod blanks to form the core of the rod. Each rod is completely custom built. He doesn’t even start working in his home shop in Cody until he’s determined the customer’s wants and needs. Then he sets to work to create a functional piece of art.
Cost: Varies, but prices start around $500
For the person who is Wyoming proud: Surf Wyoming t-shirt
Based in: Sheridan
photo by Craig Okraska
About: With bison, the Wyoming State flag, or a bucking bronc in University of Wyoming colors, Surf Wyoming t-shirts exude state pride. And the strange brand name for a company based in landlocked Sheridan is sure to be a conversation starter. Surf Wyoming started in the late 1990s, named in celebration of surfing the Snake River near Jackson. P.J. Treide, one of the owners, says “surf” stands for any outdoor pursuit a person is passionate about in Wyoming. The company doesn’t produce technical gear. Instead it takes iconic images tied to Wyoming, adds a kitschy twist in color or design along with the Surf Wyoming logo and puts it on hats and T-shirts. It’s not about promoting a particular sport, Treide said, but celebrating everything you can do in Wyoming.