In the Greater Yellowstone, we like to get after it. But the mountains, rivers and forests in our fine corner of the world aren’t just a playground for these nine intrepid gear manufacturers—they’re also a wellspring of inspiration, an R&D testing ground, and a source of community.
Although companies like Mountain Khakis, Mystery Ranch and Red Ants Pants have a national following, they’re also very much rooted in their respective communities, suggesting that perhaps it is possible to build a brand with both roots and wings after all. – The Editors
STIO / JACKSON, WYOMING
Former Cloudveil cofounder and president, Stephen Sullivan, founded Stio in 2012, “to inspire connection with the outdoors through beautiful, functional products infused with mountain soul,” according to the company’s website.
Headquartered in Jackson, Wyoming, Stio employees live and breathe the mountain lifestyle. With values based in sustainability, appreciation for nature and life balance, the company is dedicated to bringing the inspiration they receive from the adjacent Teton Range to consumers’ lives in and out of the mountains. Products are offered via the website, catalog, and the Mountain Studio retail locations in downtown Jackson and Teton Village, at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
in a warm hug. The parka features Stio’s Pertex Shield+
waterproof/breathable fabric on the outside, and is
lined with 800-fill water-repellent down. The longer
length keeps the booty-chill at bay, making this an
ideal piece for everyday mountain living.
RED ANTS PANTS / WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, MONTANA
In 2006, Sarah Calhoun founded a company dedicated to making work clothes for women. She committed to manufacturing her apparel—durable workpants designed for a woman’s curves—in the U.S. and then did one better by locating her headquarters in rural White Sulphur Springs, Montana.
Five years after launching her company, Calhoun started a multi-day music gathering. Now the Red Ants Pants Festival draws 16,000-plus to hear the likes of Merle Haggard and Lucinda Williams. Last summer, in a prime example of “doing well by doing good,” the festival generated $19,000 for the Red Ants Pants Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering self-reliance in women and promote rural communities.
Made with 21-ounce wool from Woolrich, America’s longest
continuously run woolen mill, the limited edition Hooded
Wool Vest’s interior is sewn with a breathable and fast-drying
nylon liner. The vest’s collar and outer pockets are lined with
cozy fleece, and two zippered inner pockets keep small
valuables like keys and cash secure.
Red Ants Pants Wool Vest
CREEK TO PEAK WEAR / BOZEMAN, MONTANA
Frank Gazella Jr. founded Creek to Peak Wear in 2016 after arriving in Bozeman during a month-long road trip. A natural entrepreneur, he formerly ran a successful pierogi (dumpling) company in Kansas for nine years after leaving the Marines.
The simple and smart Creek to Peak logo is offered on apparel from T-shirts and hoodies to beanies and trucker hats. The company also partners with other brands on its website to encourage an eclectic mix of small businesses to market their products directly to consumers. Oh, and they also host Montana’s first mountain Soap Box Derby in Livingston every April.
blend, the Core Fleece Full-Zip Hoodie is meant
to be everyday wear for the little ones when the
temps drop. Offered in two colors, the neon blue
sports “make adventure” on the back and the dark
heather declares “find adventure.” Encourage a
life of adventure in your kiddos with one of these
MYSTERY RANCH / BOZEMAN, MONTANA
The history of Mystery Ranch runs deep, both in Bozeman and in backpacks. Dana Gleason started his first pack company in the ‘70s called Kletterwerks—since resurrected as a Mystery Ranch line—and went on to found the iconic Dana Design with Renee Sippel-Baker in 1985. They sold the industry standard brand in 1995, but couldn’t stay out of the business long.
In 2000, they began Mystery Ranch with a focus on durability, comfort and weight bearing—ask any hunter who’s hauled a quartered elk out of the backcountry with one of their packs. With an emphasis on innovation, the company is beloved by wildland firefighters, hunters, soldiers, backpackers and skiers.
The redesigned Saddle Peak is making a big splash in the
snowsports industry this season. The 21-liter pack is built
for comfortable ski and snowboard carry whether you’re
hiking the ridge at Bridger Bowl, or ticking off couloirs in
the Teton backcountry. In addition to the well-designed
avalanche gear pocket, it features easy body panel access
when your boards are attached and a burly yoke to carry
all that’s necessary for your mountain missions.
Saddle Peak Backpack
MOUNTAIN KHAKIS / JACKSON, WYOMING’
It started in 2001, as a concept drawn onto a bar napkin when co-founder Noah Robertson and Ross Saldarini were sitting at the Shady Lady Saloon in Jackson. Mountain Khakis has since evolved into an internationally acclaimed lifestyle clothing brand with the mission to “outfit and inspire the outdoor enthusiast.”
Keeping recreation and functionality in mind, Mountain Khakis makes threads for everyone from the diehard skier to the hardworking rancher, and also has corporate uniform programs. It even has a “starving student special,” a discount program for university campus clubs.
what makes it a head-turner is merely a simplistic
combination of wool lining and a canvas shell. It’s the
real deal, and stands up to a rigorous daily routine of
working, whether on the ranch or at the woodshed,
as well as playing with the dogs or however you get
after it outside.
ROSCOE OUTDOOR / RED LODGE, MONTANA
Named after the tiny town of Roscoe that serves as an access point for attempts on Granite Peak, Montana’s highest, Roscoe Outdoor was founded in 2010 by Montana-native Hans Howell in nearby Red Lodge. A voracious rock and ice climber, he realized there wasn’t a highly durable synthetic pant on the market—so he decided to fill that niche.
They started with a pair of pants called the Washakie, named after the 19th century Shoshone chief, which is still their flagship piece. Roscoe apparel is developed and tested in the rugged Beartooth Mountains above Red Lodge and is meant to stand the abuse of mountain enthusiasts.
Water resistant, fast drying and tough as nails? That’s
why the Washakie Pant was built in the first place. With
a durable, stretchy waffle-weave Nylon/Lycra blend and
burly zippers on the pockets, these pants are meant for
climbing, hiking or any outdoor pursuit where you can’t
risk your gear failing
LIVINGSTON ROD CO. / LIVINGSTON, MONTANA
Founded in 2015 by Livingston, Montana, local and avid fly-fisherman Dusty Smith, Livingston Rod Co. specializes in crafting graphite and fiberglass fly rods for fishing the waters of the Greater Yellowstone. Sold direct online, or in fly shops located across Montana, Wyoming, Utah and New York, each rod is completely unique. Depending on your fishing style and preferences, Smith will craft any length, weight and number of rod sections, whether you’re casting from a raft or wading in tailwaters.
construction and mid-flex feel with accurate casting—perfect
for those natural fly presentations that need precise landings
and float. With each rod containing a one of a kind burl wood
inlay, this is a rod you’ll want to keep in the family for multiple
generations, to spread the love of fly fishing.
SPARK R&D / BOZEMAN, MONTANA
When Spark R&D brought the first ever splitboard- specific snowboard binding to market in 2006— revolutionizing the industry—riders were hungry for a lightweight and efficient backcountry setup.
Prior to this innovation by Spark R&D’s founder and chief designer Will Ritter, snowboarders had limited options for uphill travel. You could snowshoe with your snowboard strapped to your pack, or use the existing splitboard touring setup—this required you to mount your bindings onto an elevated and heavy metal plate, resulting in an unresponsive board feel on the way down.
The new Surge bindings are perfect for steep lines
require quick response. Stocked with Spark R&D’s Pillow
Line Straps—molded in-house and 50 percent lighter than
fabric straps—these binders weigh in at just 3 pounds. The
built-in T-1 climbing wire effortlessly switches between flat,
12- and 18-degree climbing modes while traveling uphill.
Spark R&D Surge Bindings