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Outdoor Gear & Outfitters
Maine’s mountains, rivers and Great North Woods are a place of fun and devotion for many. So it’s probably no surprise that a number of Maine companies make and sell products to help people enjoy the outdoors even more.
Maine companies make tasty outdoor foods, rugged boots, ultralight packs, custom snowboards, specialty clothing and other items. All were created with the Maine outdoors as an inspiration (and just a few steps away).
Here are a few of Maine’s outdoor gear makers. For a more complete list, check out Maine Outdoor Brands.
When Maine was the logging capitol of the world, Maine was also an ax-making capitol, too. Hundreds of makers were turning out axes for lumbermen across the North Woods. Today, Brant & Cochran of South Portland – a relatively new company – makes the only Maine wedge-pattern camp axe around. Forged in its shop of 1050 carbon steel, the Allagash Cruiser ax is as much art as tool.
Good To-Go makes yummy, hand-made, Maine-made dehydrated meals for outdoors folks. Its lineup features lightweight food as varied as Herbed Mushroom Risotto (vegan), Thai Curry and Chicken Gumbo. Cooked up in Kittery and available throughout Maine (and the country). Check the website for places in Maine to pick some up.
Hyperlite designs and makes ridiculously light, amazingly strong packs of Dyneema® fabric, usually in its tell-tale white color. The Maine company sews its products in a converted mill in downtown Biddeford. Interested? Call for an appointment to get fitted and check out products at Hyperlite’s showroom next to the factory.
The grandparent of Maine’s many outdoor brands, L.L.Bean began in 1911 when its namesake, Leon Leonwood Bean, invented the first version of the ‘Maine Hunting Shoe.’ The Bean Boot, as its ancestor is called today, is only one of thousands of items made by and for Bean and sold at its campus of stores in downtown Freeport.
Founded at the end of the 19th century in Old Town, America’s biggest canoe company still builds boats in north-central Maine. And while they’re paddled all over the world, Old Town canoes are particularly popular on the lakes and rivers of their home state. Looking for a bargain? Check out Old Town’s Factory Outlet Store, which sells slightly blemished and overstocked boats.
The second oldest manufacturer of marine products in the United States, Shaw and Tenney has been hand-crafting wooden oars and paddles since 1858. It’s easy to see why. Their wares are a joy to look at, balanced in the hand and lovely to use. Stop by the shop in Orono.
This pioneering snowboard maker is now co-owned by Olympic snowboarding gold medalist Seth Wescott. These boards are hand-crafted, with plenty of available options, at the West Mountain base of the Sugarloaf Mountain ski area in Maine’s western mountains.
Maine also has plenty of outdoor retailers offering everything from wool socks to carbon-fiber mountain bikes. Here are a few:
- Allspeed Cyclery & Snow, Portland and Carrarbassett Valley
- Cabela’s, Scarborough
- Cadillac Mountain Sports, Bar Harbor and Ellsworth
- Eastern Mountain Sports, Portland and South Portland
- Epic Sports, Bangor
- Gorham Bike and Ski, Portland, Brunswick, Saco, Kennebunk
- Kittery Trading Post, Kittery
- Maine Sport Outfitters, Rockport
- Northwoods Outfitters, Greenville