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New York City is a nucleus for street fashion, skyscrapers, Michelin stars, and shopping districts. Finance, media, and real estate dominate as industries, but with a population of 8.4 million, there’s no shortage of people committed to other pursuits—the exploration and enjoyment of the outdoors included. It's not surprising that some seriously talented artists and designers across the city have started outdoor brands that combine their resourcefulness as urban commuters with their love for recreating outside.
From a socially-conscious power brand to an ultralight hiking gear lab, these companies share more in common than just living in NYC. Many started in (and are still running out of) the founders’ homes, if not small studios, and their gear is made for hyper-niche (i.e. passionate) audiences. Each brand has a sharp design with a timeless aesthetic, staying true to New York sensibilities. “If I can’t look at it all day, it’s not allowed to exist here,” says Trevor Davis, founder of William Ellery. “New Yorkers don’t have much space so anything that we make or want or have, we have to really love.”
Whether you live in NYC or not, these 10 outdoor brands are worth getting to know if you love collecting unique and useful gear. And if you’re local, keep your calendar open for their events across the city, from group hikes to collabs to pop-ups.
10 New York City-based Outdoor Brands
Year Founded: 2020
Specialty: Ultralight hiking gear
Hero Item: Eco Liten 35
Based in the Bronx, Allmansright is an ultralight “outdoor gear lab” using lightweight backpacks, sling bags, and accessories as a vessel to diversify the hiking community and inspire hikers to protect the environment. “Objects can help people care more about the environment,” said Livio Melo, an artist and designer who launched the brand in 2020. “Gear can really show you what’s at stake in the immediate, and allow you to see what’s at stake on a larger scale, too.” After his first few overnights in 2018, Melo, who grew up in the Dominican Republic before moving to NYC, fully immersed himself in the UL community. Carrying less weight to travel faster and farther intrigued him, as did getting closer to nature. Without bringing as many supplies, maybe just a tarp to sleep under, the experience of sleeping outside became more visceral to him. And he wants to share that with others of all identities, body types, and abilities. Look for Allmansright’s recent collaboration with William Ellery, a blackberry purple waterproof bear bag.
Year Founded: 2020
Specialty: Women’s hiking apparel
Hero Item: Midlayer_01
With backgrounds in fashion, Chelsea Rizzo and Allison Levy didn’t feel like themselves in the obnoxiously bright hiking clothes that make up the majority of women’s outdoor apparel. Rizzo said she felt like she was suiting up in an outdoor costume rather than wearing something aligned with her everyday fashion sense. So the pair teamed up to create Hikerkind, a women’s outdoor apparel brand that’s based around style systems, like a capsule wardrobe but for getting on the trail. The Base Bra and Base Shorts function together as a baselayer set but also integrate with everything else, from the gridded fleece Midlayer_01 to the trail-friendly Dress_01 to the straight-legged Trousers_01. Lines are crisp, fabrics are technical, and might we add that their color choices and names are divine: lichen, alpenglow, buckwheat, redwood, conifer, and truffle. Nothing is overly feminine or loud, allowing nature to steal the spotlight. Hikerkind’s Hike Club also gets together every month, in NYC and beyond, to hike, exchange books, and hang out. Coming soon: their very own resale outlet.
Year Founded: 2019
Specialty: Limited-edition expedition gear
Hero Item: Starchart Shirt
Housed in Trevor Davis’ 800-square-foot Bushwick studio, William Ellery is a bespoke expedition gear label known for eclectic items that you won’t find anywhere else—like the signature Rec Socks made from possum wool, the iridescent June Bug Jacket as a nod to the ingenuity of insects, and the pocketed mesh bags of the Beachcomber Gear collection. Limited to small batches, almost everything in the shop is handmade by Davis, who encourages customers to personalize their gear to fit their needs once it leaves his studio. “I’m 100% behind anything anyone wants to do to a William Ellery garment,” Davis said. “Once it’s yours, it’s yours. You should do whatever you want with it.” Rather than looking to traditional outdoor adventurers for inspiration, he turns his eye toward scientists and explorers such as cargo-pant-clad Jane Gooddall and oceanographer Jacques Cousteau to inform his next projects. And his research is well documented: Every collection comes with a Research Catalog, essentially a zine with all the scientific references and specs for the products.
Year Founded: 2021
Specialty: Camp furniture and goods
Hero Item: Leisure Chair
From the bright blue, orange, or yellow Leisure Chair to the vibrantly checkered Ewe Beach Towels, Ita Leisure’s design choices reinforce the notion that time spent outdoors is rich and diverse. This Black- and woman-owned outdoor furniture and goods brand launched in summer 2021 with designs that honor cultural and ancestral connection to communities of color. The towels are inspired by Ghanaian kente cloth, the woven chair and table represent traditional African crafts, and the Ile Blanket graphics pay respect to Nigerian fabrics. “When searching for outdoor serenity, I was so often struck by a sense of discomfort and hyper visibility as a Black woman,” wrote Nigerian-British founder Jade Akintola. “Having made the decision to prioritize time outdoors, I set out to create products that aligned with, alluded to, and called in my community.” The brand’s core belief is that “leisure is for everyone.” And comfort is a throughline, with products that make sitting, carrying, drying, and lounging in the outdoors more inclusive.
Year Founded: 2012
Specialty: Utilitarian bags and packs
Hero Item: Rucksack
When it’s broken, you fix it. That’s been Blair Kemp’s philosophy behind his brand FSP Outdoors (named after his travels to the iconic Fanispan, Vietnam’s highest peak). From his Brooklyn apartment, Kemp has been making utilitarian bags and packs since 2012. Strong, simple, and adaptable are words that appear on FSP’s website over and over, as well as each bag’s gridded nylon, leather accents, mesh pockets, and monochrome and blocked color designs. Every little component, from the buckles to the straps, are intended to be mended and repaired many times so they can conceivably last forever. Kemp isn’t really interested in making many bucks; he’s more captivated by the process of creating, be it memories or useful products. “It’s about more than making bags, it’s an avenue to do other creative things, too,” Kemp told Field Mag. “It’s a reason to go outside, a reason to go on trips, a reason to go places with friends, and create more.”
Year Founded: 2018
Specialty: Handmade men’s apparel
Hero Item: Shirt jacket
On the other hand, gorpcore has its role to play in the world of technical fashion. Launched in 2018 by New York designer Antonio Ciongoli, GORP-adjacent and skate-inspired Eighteen East makes men’s apparel out of interesting textiles with plenty of pockets, texture, patches, and allure. There’s the Jaipur Easy Shorts with delicate patchwork kantha stitches and the Benny Hiking Pant that are the most stylish cargos you can probably find, along with bucket hats, 1000-denier tote bags, and waterproof ripstop jackets that you can find as easily on trail as on the streets. In an attempt to curb overproduction and overconsumption, Ciongoli searches for products that “prioritize integrity and creativity over shortsighted profitability.” That’s why many of the pieces are slowly constructed with handmade techniques—and at limited quantities and high price points—and dropped as collaborations with harmonious streetwear brands like Bodega and Earth\Studies.
Year Founded: 2014
Hero Item: AER Down puffer
This collaborative outerwear design studio out of Brooklyn is probably to blame for keeping puffy jackets en vogue. Using gorgeous post-consumer textiles, often in subdued and understated colors that mimic nature’s palette, The Arrivals develops collections of all-weather jackets for men and women that look cool and keep its wearer toasty—like the shin-length TURBO Sleeper puffy and the three-layer HAVEN Parka. They also make select accessories, (their latest collection of angular 3D-printed optics is completely sold out). The brand definitely toes the line between high fashion and outdoor gear, but the vision statement clears things up: “We believe outerwear is a tool for discovery, and we are committed to developing mindful out-of-doors tools for the path ahead.” Self expression in the outdoors is both for playfulness and performance, especially when your jacket, as elevated as it may be, is continuously tested by the design team for improvement.
Year Founded: 2006
Specialty: Off-grid energy
Hero Item: CampStove 2+
Around 2006, Jonathan Cedar and Alec Drummond met at the Smart Design conference in NYC where they bonded over sustainable design. They started tinkering on weekends with concepts for a wood-burning camping stove. It took six more years for them to finesse their design and launch it into the world as BioLite. Now their company is known for more than just stoves; its headlamps, portable lanterns, solar panels, generators, and fire pits frequently land in our roundups. Headquartered in DUMBO with another office in Nairobi, Kenya, the company has always held social and environmental impact as an important dimension to the brand. While their products work for overlanders and hikers, they’re also distributed to people in India and Uganda who are in need of clean and reliable energy. Plus, BioLite is Climate Neutral Certified, meaning it measures, reduces, and offsets its carbon footprint every year.
Year Founded: 2023
Specialty: Hiking shop and event space
Hero Item: Outlandish x Ciele CLBCap
Outlandish is much more than a hiking store. One of only a few Black-owned outdoor stores, the red brick Crown Heights shop is also a space for people of color to connect and reconnect with the outdoors. Shelves are stocked with local and POC-owned brands (like Ita Leisure and Allmansright, also on this list). A bookshelf features nature writing by people of color. And they’re already collaborating with companies like Ciele to create custom gear and organizations like Outdoor Afro to cultivate community. Co-founders Ken Bernard and Benje Williams met at REI, but they didn’t see themselves represented in retail or recreating outside. “Our belief is that people of color have belonged to the outdoors from the beginning,” they wrote. Along with biweekly hikes (that leave via shuttle from the store to make things easy), they’re planning a roster of events to host, like film screenings and concerts.
Store: Hatchet Outdoor Supply Co.
Year Founded: 2013
Specialty: Fashionable outdoor apparel
Hero Item: Gramicci short
Adventure means something different to everyone. Making the trek out to Rockaway for the surf or heading to the Catskills is adventurous, but so is just navigating the city. Anything can happen. In 2013, Brooklyn’s Gene Han opened Hatchet Outdoor Supply Co. and brought his gearhead dreams to life to equip 21st century city-dwelling adventurers. In the bright and white-walled store on Atlantic Ave., you can find Klattermusen alpine packs and velour track jackets, The North Face down sleeping bags and Fair Isle sweaters. Hatchet also stocks a wide variety of sneakers, a nod to Han’s other hobby. (He co-founded the sneaker boutique, Alumni.) The outdoor store’s curation is based on Han’s good taste and eye for design. He brings in stuff he likes and finds useful, not necessarily stuff that’s riding the gorpcore trend. If you happen to be in Los Angeles, Hatchet has a second location between Little Tokyo and the Arts District.