The Centennial State is home to a growing number of outdoor brands who perfect their stuff by putting it to the test in the mountains close to home. Here’s gear that best represents why this state is leading the outdoorindustry.
1. Flylow Billie Coat
Most Often Spotted at: Loveland Ski Area
Why We Dig It: This tough waterproof/breathable shell doesn’t fuss with a whole lot of extras: Weighing in at just 20 ounces, it’s the ideal layer for motivated skin-track shuffling, but it can still hold off brutal exposure on Loveland’s high lifts. Well-placed pockets hold skins and phone and the hood fits over a helmet.
What Gives It Colorado Cred: The Denver brand that cut its teeth racking up laps at Loveland and Berthoud Pass understands that Colorado skiers want to get down to business and need gear that can handle abuse. $400; flylowgear.com
2. Tenkara Hane
Most Often Spotted at: Rocky Mountain National Park
Why We Dig It: Incredibly packable, this 10-foot, 10-inch rod telescopes down to a stashable 15-inch package. But don’t think it’s a novelty: Once extended, the rod proves stiff, supple and adept at pulling fish out of anything from alpine lakes to tough-to-access pocket water.
What Gives It Colorado Cred: Tenkara, a Japanese style of fly fishing that requires no reel, is beautiful because it’s so simple and effective. It’s also ideal for Rocky Mountain multi-sporters who don’t have the space to carry a ton of fishing gear but still want to get some casts in on remote backpacking and climbing trips. $150; tenkarausa.com
3. Shinesty Fresh Prince Onsie
Most Often Spotted at: The Arapahoe Basin Beach
Why We Dig It: Just look at it. While some may see this type of style as a travesty on the hill, we embrace the bravado of wearing a ski suit that would tickle the fancy of the “Always Sunny” gang. And that old-school neon suit includes a pass pocket.
What Gives It Colorado Cred: Boulder-based Shinesty has found success with a don’t-care attitude that resonates with the independent minded and thrill seekers. $250; shinesty.com
4. My Trail CO 850 Fill HL Hooded Down Jacket
Most Often Spotted at: The Uncompahgre Wilderness
Why We Dig It: Providing warmth on demand, this easy-to-stuff puffy insulates with lofty, cozy 850-fill down and withstands the travails of the trail thanks to a 10-denier nylon shell. It weighs just 11 ounces and squishes down to softball size.
What Gives It Colorado Cred: Fast-and-light pioneer Demitri Coupanous, the original co-founder of legacy brand GoLite, created My Trail to continue bringing that minimalist performance to hiking and backpacking gear. The brand also strives to make that gear affordable. $249; mytrailco.com
5. Zeal Morrison
Most Often Spotted at: Fruita
Why We Dig It: This one pair of shades tackles a wide range of outdoor pursuits from climbing to mountain biking to cutting down the glare so you can read the menu on the patio at your favorite brew pub. The polarized, photochromic lenses react on the fly to changing light—a godsend when you are moving in and out of shadows— and the bio-plastic frames allow your Colorado eco-conscience to rest easy.
What Gives It Colorado Cred: When you see us wearing them, don’t we look like we live in Colorado?$219; zealoptics.com
6. Lems Trailhead
Most Often Spotted at: Chautauqua
Why We Dig It: All too often, hiking shoes are overkill. Not here. Comfy, spongy and surprisingly stable, Lems’ latest adventure shoes can take a beating even if they just weigh 11.7 ounces per shoe (in a men’s size 10). That makes them a solid choice for big mountain hikes, dog walking or just kicking around town.
What Gives It Colorado Cred: Coloradans love to travel and the Boulder-based brand thinks outside the box, providing footwear that can take on any challenge (and chill out) but won’t bulk up your luggage. $130; lemsshoes.com
7. Stash Logix Silverton
Most Often Spotted at: Pearl Street
Why We Dig It: If you need to keep your precious stash—no matter what that may be—safe and organized, this lockable soft container is just the ticket. Best of all, the silver lining suppresses any suspicious smells.
What Gives It Colorado Cred: Innovation and minimalism. Adventure junkies always want to be ready to hit the road on demand and this smart system means everything is organized so you can run out the door in a hurry. When you get there, you can be rest assured it all stays safe and private.
8. Big Agnes Ethel 0
Homebase: Steamboat Springs
Most Often Spotted at: 10th Mountain Division Huts
Why We Dig It: Warm enough with a 0-degree rating but light enough to pack down for an alpine trip, this down bag delivers everything a cold-toed woman desires. Waterproofing on the polyester shell fends off a bit of precipitation and condensation.
What Gives It Colorado Cred: Winter nights slow us down no less than winter days, and this plush bag makes cold weather sleeping in huts or at camp a dream on chilly evenings. $300-$330; bigagnes.com
9. Mountain Standard Raven Trucker Hat
Most Often Spotted at: Eldorado State Park
Why We Dig It: A trucker hat is the cherry on the top of your hip outdoorsy look. Ravens are the mystical birds of Odin (god of wisdom, war and poetry), the mountains and Edgar Allen Poe. Enough said.
What Gives It Colorado Cred: Founded by designers who have worked for outdoor brands across the globe, Mountain Standard stays true to its Colorado roots. $18; mountainstandard.com
10. Strafe Nomad Bib Pant
Most Often Spotted at: Racking up laps at Highlands Bowl
Why We Dig It: Built with a combination of eVent breathable/waterproof fabric (and tough Cordura where your edges nip at the bottoms), these sturdy bibs keep you comfy in the deep stuff all winter long. Athletic four-way stretch fabric means they move with you on the hill, and roomy pockets hold all the little essentials.
What Gives It Colorado Cred: Twin brothers John and Pete Gaston created the brand to make the apparel they wanted to ski in their backyard of Aspen Highlands Bowl. It don’t get more authentic than that. $479; strafeouterwear.com
11. Meier Skis Headwaters Rep Your Water
Most Often Spotted at: Breckenridge
Why We Dig It: Meier skis partnered with Colorado fishing brand Rep Your Water, which raises funds for conservation through its product. Choose a custom top sheet with your favorite trout species—rainbow, brown, brookie or cutthroat—on these 88mm-underfoot boards that love to carve long, fast frontside runs.
What Gives It Colorado Cred: Skiing and fly fishing simply go together if you live in a Colorado mountain town. These skis will get props from your fellow ripping anglers on the hill. Plus, they’re handmade in Denver. $795; meierskis.com