With two national parks and over 3 million acres of wilderness within our borders, t’s no secret Montana is an amazing place to live for people who like to play outdoors. But, it turns out those high peaks, wild rivers, and open roads are inspiring a growing field of entrepreneurs and well-known gear companies to manufacture their wares right here in the state they’re proud to call home. The result is a thriving outdoor gear manufacturing industry whose members have the advantage of using some of the nation’s ‘last, best places’ as their testing grounds for product development - and have access to consumers that spend $5.8 billion annually on outdoor recreation*.
Acclaimed gear companies like Sitka, Simms Fishing Products, and Mystery Ranch Backpacks are some of the biggest players in the state’s gear manufacturing space and are selling to a global customer base. Newer ventures like Notice Snowboards, Spark R&D, Gear Pods, Sweetgrass Rods and Bozman Reel are redefining craftsmanship in their field, and steadily expanding their market reach.
The Montana Manufacturing Center is a great resource for outdoor gear companies looking to streamline everything from production methods to business operations, and efforts are currently underway to organize an outdoor gear manufacturing association to further foster this emerging industry and connect entrepreneurs across the state.
*From the Outdoor Industry Association’s 2013 Annual Report.