Features & Essays

Made For Adventure

Ready to shop local? We’ll help you gear up for the outdoors with these killer made-in-Colorado finds.

GEAR

Utilitarian Classic

Above-and-beyond technical trims—like adjustable ice-axe loops—make Topo Design’s Mountain Pack the foundation of any high-country ensemble. Find the retro-inspired line at boutiques statewide. $169, topodesigns.com (pictured at top)

Clear-Eyed

Zeal Optics crafts badass goggles and glasses with a conscience, using plant-based materials instead of fossil fuels. $149, zealoptics.com

Neckie Nirvana

Linda and Troy Watts know snow sports—she’s a former ski racer, he’s a former U.S. Ski Team athlete and Team Summit alpine director. The Breckenridge family hand-sews fleece neckies, bandanas and hoods under outerwear accessories brand Steller Ltd. $22, stellerltd.com

Life-Proofed

Curt and Nancy Richardson founded OtterBox—named for the playful, waterproof-furred mammal—in their Fort Collins garage. We love the injection-molded cases for toddler-proofing our smart products. $49.99 and up, otterproducts.com

Send It

A group of ski-bum buddies started Faction in 2006 in Switzerland, pooling a shared desire for affordable skis that rip. Pop into the crew’s Breckenridge-based office to talk about the backcountry-approved Candide Thovex Signature Series. $799 and up, factionskis.com

Zeal Optics
Steller Ltd.
Faction

Lighten your Load

Big Agnes made a name with its innovative sleeping pads. Now, the Steamboat company makes all kinds of gear, including the Copper Spur three-season, freestanding tent. Weighing in at less than three pounds, it’s built for backcountry comfort. $449.95 and up, bigagnes.com

Awesome Ascents

Crafted by hand in Summit County, each Unity Snowboard is made to order. The new 180 Carbon Dominion Splitboard is light for the uphill, lively for the descent. $1,200, unitysnowboards.com

Cozy Nights

For 30 years, Grand Junction-based Wiggy’s has been perfecting its trademark insulation. Designed for use in Antarctica, Wiggy’s -60 sleeping bag will keep you toasty all year. $385, wiggys.com

FUEL

Pass the Bar

Nuance Chocolate in Fort Collins whips up dark and delicious small-batch bars from ethically sourced beans. We reach for their dark (70% cocoa) chili pepper bars. $8.50, nuancechocolate.com

Lift Your Spirits

When it comes to booze for your adventures, pack along gin from Winter Park’s Idlewild Spirits Distillery. Smooth and bright alpine gin gets an oaky undertone from aging in charred white-oak barrels. idlewildspirits.com

Moveable Feast

Wild Zora’s tasty meat-and-veggie bars are handy for on the go, but the Fort Collins-based biz just went one better: Paleo Meals To Go in a shelf-stable pouch that are perfect for backpackers. Try Mountain Beef Stew for dinner or Cliffside Coconut Berry for breakfast. 12.95, wildzora.com

Sunday Funday

Bring your Broncos tailgating A-game with Breckenridge 9,600 Bloody Mary Mix ($7.99). Shake the bold spicy mix in a pint with a shot or two of Breckenridge Distillery Chili Chile Vodka ($25.99), infused with Pueblo chilis and chipotle chilis for a heated, smoky liquid breakfast. breckenridgedistillery.com

Just Say No to Plastic

Ecovessel’s Boulder Insulated Water Bottle keeps liquids cold for up to 36 hours and hot up to 10. The multi-lid top and strainer for tea or infusions make this totable a daily must. $26.95, ecovessel.com

Trail-tested Treats

Durango-made Zuke’s Dog Treats replenish canine energy with supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin. We’ll admit the 10-calorie Crunchy Naturals ingredient list—berries, bananas, pumpkin and peanut butter—has tempted us to pop a few. $8.95 and up, zukes.com

Energy Buzz

Camp comforts can be as tiny as a spoonful of sweetness swirled in our tea. For that, we covet Outlaw Honey—pure, natural, raw—sourced from mountain wildflowers and collected from Colorado hives. outlawapiaries.com

Nuance Chocolate
Idlewild Spirits Distillery
Wild Zora

WEAR

Stormproof

When it’s a bell-to-bell day and the snow is just too good to stop, Denver-born FlyLow’s Quantum Pro Jacket keeps you dry and ripping pow ‘til your legs call uncle. Bonus: The burly three-layer shell packs up small for backcountry sweat sessions. $400, flylowgear.com 

Message Received

Akinz’s tri-blend tees are insanely soft. And hilarious. This best-seller is designed and hand-printed in the flagship Fort Collins store. $28, akinz.com

Fleece Fanatics

Melanzana’s breathable Micro Grid Dress is a movable go-to for cross-country skiing. Step into the shop on Leadville’s main drag—currently the only spot to purchase “Mellys”—where needleworkers maneuver rolls of buttery Polartec fabric. $79, melanzana.com

Fit Feet

Sense of Motion Footwear was inspired when founder Olivier Marchal kicked off his running shoes in favor of something more minimalist. These zero-drop, barefoot-feel sneaks are perfect for scampering around on a day hike or lounging back at camp. $139 and up, somfootwear.com

Handled

Eastlake-based CG Habitat prides itself on creating quality, durable products to withstand winter chill. Take the stylie CG Gloves—with a reinforced ratchet finger and fully wrapped fingertips, they’re bombproof. $99, cghabitats.com

Melanzana
SOM Footwear
Corbeaux

All for One

Powder day? Yass! Powder down your pants? No, thanks. Aspen-based Corbeaux created the Shandoka 1Z (get it?) for those days when you need head-to-toe warmth, no gaps. The onesie with hood is made from super-breathable recycled polyester. $179.99, corbeauxclothing.com

Wild Balance

Sexy Stones

Annie Kerr has mastered simple, light accessories, hand-shaping shiny stones and metals into Wild Balance earrings inside her Breckenridge Arts District studio. Call on Kerr’s Summit line for go-anywhere danglers. $36, thewildbalance.com

In Stitches

Justin Hebert began crocheting hats for friends as a teenager. Now the 20-something entrepreneur custom stitches Colorado-inspired headbands, slouchy stocking caps, beanies, scarves and more in Gunnison. $20 and up, hebeheadwear.com

Hebe Headwear
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