Press Releases

Sterling Rope wins 2015 American Made Outdoor Gear Award

ARCATA, CALIFORNIA, (January 22, 2015) – Sterling Rope Company ( today was named the overall winner of the third-annual American Made Outdoor Gear Award. The award was announced today during a ceremony at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City, UT.


Conceptualized and hosted by Kokatat Inc., ( 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. 

“Sterling’s story of creating not only a strong domestic manufacturing company, but helping grow domestic within their community is to be commended and celebrated,” said Jeff Turner of Kokatat, the founder and host of the American Made Outdoor Gear Award.

Sterling of Biddeford, Maine, has been producing premium safety rope, cord, and hardware for climbers, first responders and arborists since 1992.

“It is an honor to be recognized among this great group of manufacturers and brands especially since three of the finalists were from our great state Maine,” said Carolyn Brodsky, president of Sterling Rope. “It is fabulous that Kokatat does this program and I want to thank them for helping to elevate the Made in America conversation in our market.”

As winners of the American Made Outdoor Gear Award, Sterling will take one-year ownership of the “Sassy” travelling trophy — a two-foot tall, hand carved, redwood Sasquatch from Humboldt County, CA.

Over 110 of the most innovative domestic manufacturers in the outdoor market entered the third-annual “Sassy” award program – a long overdue chance to raise a glass to the leaders in American made quality, craftsmanship and creativity in the outdoor world.

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.

The 2015 American Made Outdoor Gear Awards harvested a variety of intriguing data regarding US manufacturing and sourcing. A sample of statistics from entries include:

  • 42% of applicants were founded in the last 10 years;
  • 76% of applicants created new manufacturing jobs in the last year totaling almost 1000 new jobs;
  • More than 64% of the applicants reported that 90% or more of all the goods they sell are made in the US.

The data also revealed interesting geographical insights. Over half of the applicants representing 26 states hailed from six states: California, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington. Sixty-one percent of respondents source a component of their product within 50 miles of their facility.

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 2015 American Made Outdoor Gear awards include:

  • Under 10 Employees Voormi ( of Pagosa Mills, CO, wool apparel manufacturer.
  • 10 to 50 Employees: Dahlgren Footwear ( of West Linn, OR, a sock manufacturer.
  • 50-100 Employees: Polar Bottle ( of Boulder, CO, water bottle manufacturer.
  • 100+ Employees: Cascade Designs ( of Seattle, WA, producer of various outdoor products including the MSR, Therm-a-Rest, and SealLine brands.

For additional information about the 2015 American Made Outdoor Gear Award visit For more details about the results please email

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. Learn more at and follow us on Twitter at @AMOGAward.

About Kokatat Inc.:

Kokatat has been manufacturing paddling gear in Arcata, California for more than 40 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! Please visit and follow Kokatat on Facebook and Twitter “@kokatat”.