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ARCATA, CALIFORNIA – LUNA Sandals (www.lunasandals.com) was named the overall winner of the fifth-annual American Made Outdoor Gear Award. The award was announced during a ceremony at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City, UT.
Conceptualized and hosted by Kokatat Inc., (www.kokatat.com) the leading US manufacturer of technical apparel and gear for paddle sports, the American Made Outdoor Gear Awards were open to all American manufacturers with a compelling story.
“We had another year of fantastic entries, but LUNA was a clear standout,” said Jeff Turner of Kokatat, the founder and host of the American Made Outdoor Gear Award. “Like so many great brands, LUNA started in a garage, and they have embraced domestic manufacturing as a way to support their local community while growing their greater community.”
LUNA Sandals handcrafts its world’s best adventure sandals in Seattle, WA.
“We are so proud to make the best sandals we can right in Seattle,” said Barefoot Ted McDonald, LUNA founder. “As a such a small company, we hope that winning the Sassy will inspire others to follow their passions because if you follow your heart anything is possible.”
Kokatat’s Jeff Turner presents Sassy to Luna Sandal’s Ted McDonald and Scott Smuin
As winners of the American Made Outdoor Gear Award, LUNA Sandals will take one-year ownership of the “Sassy” travelling trophy — a two-foot tall, hand carved, redwood Sasquatch from Humboldt County, CA.
Kokatat’s hosting of the awards is rooted in its own history, as the brand’s founder and president, Steve O’Meara, recognized from the start that keeping production local was necessary in order to control quality and continually develop the finest and driest paddling apparel in the world.
In addition to the overall winner, winners in several categories based on company size were also awarded. The category winners received a miniature version of the Sassy award during the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market celebration.
Category winners of the 2016 American Made Outdoor Gear awards include:
Under 10 Employees
Cleverhood (www.cleverhood.com) of Providence, RI, a cycling cape manufacturer.
10 to 50 Employees
Frost River (www.frostriver.com) of Duluth, MN, a bag and durable goods manufacturer.
Rock Exotica (www.rockexotica.com) of Orem, UT, a rock climbing gear manufacturer.
Exxel Outdoors (www.exxel.com) of Boulder, CO, an outdoor gear manufacturer.
The 2017 American Made Outdoor Gear Award winners
In the five years of the program the American Made Outdoor Gear Awards has received over 300 entries from domestic manufacturers. Past overall winners have included Liberty Bottleworks, Benchmade Knives, Sterling Rope and Hyperlight Mountain Gear.
This year’s awards were presented in the Stormy Kromer booth during the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City, UT. The statues presented to the winners are hand carved by a local artisan near Kokatat’s headquarters in Arcata, CA.
About the American Made Outdoor Gear Award:
Founded by Kokatat and shared with the Outdoor Industry, the American Made Outdoor Gear Award is a celebration of American manufacturing. First awarded in 2013, the American Made Outdoor Gear Award recognizes companies with compelling domestic manufacturing stories. Finalists are announced annually on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and the winners are recognized at an awards ceremony during the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market. The company with the best “made in America” story receives one-year ownership of the ‘Sassy’ travelling trophy — a hand carved, 3-foot-tall, redwood Sasquatch from Humboldt County, CA — and all category winners receive miniature versions of the award. Along with highlighting company stories, the program tracks domestic manufacturing trends and insights in the outdoor industry.
About Kokatat Inc.:
Kokatat has been manufacturing paddling gear in Arcata, California for 45 years. At a time when many technical apparel brands were moving manufacturing offshore, Kokatat continued to invest in infrastructure in the United States. Kokatat founder Steve O’Meara was committed to the development of the finest and driest paddling apparel in the world and recognized the need to control and continually evolve the development of our dry wear. In the early days, Kokatat worked closely with W.L. Gore & Associates, makers of GORE-TEX®, to refine the sewing and sealing techniques required for full immersion suits and tops. Today, our hands-on approach to manufacturing continues to set the standard in paddling apparel. Into the water with Kokatat! Learn more at www.kokatat.com.