Sheridan-based Surf Wyoming is one of many businesses that provides Wyoming-made products. (photo by Craig Okraska — click to enlarge)

The Christmas countdown has begun and chances are if you are shopping for someone who lives in Wyoming, you are shopping for someone who loves the outdoors.

Wyoming is home to hunters, climbers and skiers, as well as intrepid and creative business people. When a passionate outdoor person is also business savvy, it leads to some great home-grown gear.

You can find tents, backpacks and guns designed and even built in-state. The list of Wyoming-created gear is long, but WyoFile has compiled a short list of favorites for the outdoor lover on your list.

For the wildlife watcher or hunter: Binoculars by Maven
Based-in: Lander

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About: Lander residents Mike Lilygren, Cade Maestas and Brendon Weaver are avid hunters, fishermen and skiers. They also  understand optics — in particular that good binoculars are expensive to make, and that the price rises when a wholesaler is involved. The three launched Maven in August. The company allows people to custom design their own binoculars, choosing from different frames, sizes, magnifications and colors. The binoculars are designed in Lander and, while constructed overseas, shipped from Lander. The company bypasses a wholesaler allowing for high-end optics at about half the price, Weaver said. Custom binoculars take about three weeks to arrive from when you order, but Maven does have several models in stock that can ship immediately.
Cost: $500 and up

For the laid-back river rat: The River Runner by Give’r
Based in: Jackson

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About: All it takes for a successful day outdoors is to give it your all, whether skiing a steep chute or a groomer. Founders Bubba Albrecht, Carly Platt and Jed Mickle created the clothing company in 2012 to be a laid-back lifestyle brand. Along with retro-inspired hats and shirts, they’ve also created an accessory line as playful as their designs. The River Runner is a hands-free coozie worn around the neck keeping your hands free to paddle your boat or man your fishing rod, while ensuring a cold beverage is always within reach.
Cost: $8

For the minimalist trail runner: Scat Belt
Based in: Jackson

scat-griz-bear-spray-pull (1)

About: You know when you venture into bear country, whether for a multi-day trip or a quick trail run, you should always have your bear spray handy. Bear encounters can happen fast and there isn’t always time to dig to the bottom of your pack to grab your bear spray. The Scat Belt keeps your bear spray handy on your hip and can also hold a cell phone or other small personal items. It’s the perfect option for the minimalist going out for a run or the mountain biker hitting local trails. The belt is such a simple concept co-founder James Gilbert can explain the product in about 30 seconds and most people respond by wondering why it hadn’t been created before.
Cost: $29.95 to $39.95

For anyone who has to go outside: Woollies Mittens
Based in: Cora


About: Pamela Fetzner has been a seamstress most of her life, making her own clothes while growing up and teaching sewing classes in her 20s for a sewing machine company. Fetzner started making mittens from locally purchased wool sweaters about 5 years ago. She buys old sweaters and uses a process called felting that transforms the material to a dense and warm fabric. She then lines the mittens with fleece to make them extra cozy. Each pair is hand-made, one-of-a-kind and designed to endure a Wyoming winter. The variety of colors and patterns make them fashionable and fun as well as practical.
Cost: $29.95

For the serious fisherman or woman: A custom fly rod from DC Rodbuilding
Based in: Cody

Spey Rod 3

About: Forty years ago, Dave Crowther was a passionate fisherman who couldn’t afford the high-end rod he wanted. So he built his own. And then he built another, and another, until he honed his skills in creating custom rods to the point he was building better rods than those he’d coveted in the store. Crowther started DC Rodbuilding in 2005 and has sold rods all over the world. He specializes in single-hand fly and two-handed spey and switch rods, using high-end rod blanks to form the core of the rod. Each rod is completely custom built. He doesn’t even start working in his home shop in Cody until he’s determined the customer’s wants and needs. Then he sets to work to create a functional piece of art.
Cost: Varies, but prices start around $500

For the person who is Wyoming proud: Surf Wyoming t-shirt
Based in: Sheridan

(photo by Craig Okraska)

photo by Craig Okraska

About: With bison, the Wyoming State flag, or a bucking bronc in University of Wyoming colors, Surf Wyoming t-shirts exude state pride. And the strange brand name for a company based in landlocked Sheridan is sure to be a conversation starter. Surf Wyoming started in the late 1990s, named in celebration of surfing the Snake River near Jackson. P.J. Treide, one of the owners, says  “surf” stands for any outdoor pursuit a person is passionate about in Wyoming. The company doesn’t produce technical gear. Instead it takes iconic images tied to Wyoming, adds a kitschy twist in color or design along with the Surf Wyoming logo and puts it on hats and T-shirts. It’s not about promoting a particular sport, Treide said, but celebrating everything you can do in Wyoming.
Cost: $28

Kelsey Dayton is a freelancer and the editor of Outdoors Unlimited, the magazine of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. She has worked as a reporter for the Gillette News-Record, Jackson Hole News&Guide...

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  1. No better way to Give’r that with a River Runner! We agree this practical accessory is a must-have for any day on the water, whether fishing, SUPing, taking on whitewater or just soaking in the views. The result of many models of evolution, this Neck Coozie is a dream come true. We are psyched to have Give’r make the list and hope that you all experience what life is like when you choose to Give’r your all!

    Regarding these other incredible products, we will put in our 2 cents for DC Rods as was lucky enough to try one out 2 summers ago, and it was a dream! On our Xmas list this year you’ll find: a fresh Surf Wyoming Tee, a vibrant pair of Woollies Mittens and some new Binos by Maven for next spring turkey season (where we’ll be strapped and prepared for anything in our new Scat Belt). Santa, we just made this a little too easy…

    Bubba Albrecht
    Jackson Hole, WY

  2. Thank you for the plug and for including us with all of these other great Wyoming businesses! We are having a ton of fun with Surf Wyoming and look forward to sharing and partnering with new ideas in 2015. For all of the WyoFile readers out there, we have created a special code just for you to use for your last minute stocking stuffers. Enter WYOFILE at checkout to get a discount on your entire order! Happy Holidays to all!
    PJ Treide
    Sheridan, WY