Recently my fridge went on the fritz. I called in the repair guy who came out, ordered a bunch of parts, came back out to put the new parts on only to have the new parts not function. So we had to go back and reorder parts to get the fridge fixed. All in all it was $379.10 in parts and labor, and three partial days off of work. All because the parts made in (fill in large country here) failed on a 5 year old fridge. How does this apply to an outdoor blog? I promise you, it related, just keep reading…
My grandfathers served in WW2 and Korea. Another one of my grandfathers was a naval architect during WW2 who changed his last name because it was “too German” to get a job. I was in the Navy, two brothers who are Marines, and a brother in the Army. Every day I get up to go to work in a historic building that was the site of a terrorist attack. My desk is located on the ring, on the side, on the corridor of the side of the building that got hit. You could say that I am a little proud of this great nation of ours.
How does this tie back to my Grand Adventure? Can someone explain to me why “Made in the USA” is so difficult to come by in outdoor products? Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know the economics behind it. I know the politics behind it. I know there is a sudden resurgence of “Made in the USA” products. Heck, I even saw an advertisement that Wal-Mart is looking to go that direction.
Yet, I find it odd that for all of the big named outdoor companies that are based out of the US the number of companies that manufacture their gear in the US is rather small. Coleman has some. Therm-a-Rest also has a few, but where is everyone else who claims that they are ecologically and socially focused?
For example, Big Agnes. One of my favorite companies. Based out of Colorado. Their gear routinely makes the top of Backpacker magazine’s “favorite gear” lists. That said, are they made in the US? No. Dagnabit! I could go down the list, LL Bean, REI, EMS, Yeti, GoalZero, the list goes on and on. Great companies. Companies who are proud of their products, but who stopped making them in the US (if they ever made them in the US, ever.)
Why does this matter? Should this matter? I say DAMN SKIPPY it matters. How can a company be so “socially responsible” or “eco-friendly” and have their products made overseas? Let’s not go down the rabbit hole of ecological impact here and lets stay closer to home. I want a product that was conceptualized, designed, and made in the US. Sure, test it wherever on the planet you want, but at the end of the day I want to know that when I zip my tent up, crawl into my bag, and lay my head down at night on property that not only my family, but millions of families have stood up to protect that the products I am utilizing were put together by other hardworking American. Because at the end of the day I will tell you no hardworking American wants to sleep in a leaky tent, with a cold bag, on hard ground. That’s just unAmerican!