Headed Outdoors This Summer? Check Out These 10 Made in USA Companies

Graham Turner Intern, AAM

Memorial Day Weekend is almost upon us, and as the weather warms up, people across the country are gearing up for some outdoor fun. Whether it’s summiting the nearest peak or simply relaxing at the park, here are some outdoor products to kickstart your summer, all made by companies that support local manufacturing and job creation.

New York's Nalgene is a maker of iconic water bottles that have a strong connection to adventure and the outdoors. These bottles come in many shapes and colors, and are billed as indestructible. So, no worries if you drop one down off the face of a cliff — it should be good as new once you get back to ground level.

Allegiance Footwear crafts incredibly durable boots for field, farm, and fashion. Proudly made in Mountain City, Tenn., all the company's products are labeled as Made in USA.

If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop online store, check out Cascade Designs. This brand is based in Seattle, born out of the ashes of Boeing’s massive worker layoff in 1971. They’re now a parent to a handful of outdoor-focused companies, including the mega-outfitter MSR.

If relaxing in the great outdoors with a good book is more your speed, look no further than Hummingbird Hammocks. This Alamo, Tenn. maker creates ultra-lightweight hammocks that are perfect for stringing up anywhere, anytime. They’ll fit easily in crowded backpack, and can support a LOT of weight.

Exxel Outdoors is an outfitter for camping and backpacking. On top of their tents and packs, Exxel owns the largest sleeping bag factory in America. Located in Haleyville, Ala., the facility produces the bulk of the signature sleeping bags they offer. You might recall that Exxel was featured in 2017 on our Manufacturing Report podcast — check it out here

Ever been afraid to take your favorite sunglasses hiking out of fear of losing them? Chums from Utah has you covered, making eyewear accessories and retainers that have become synonymous with their brand name. Selling a wide range of styles, materials, and colors, Chums even makes floating retainers ideal for fishing and boating trips.

Duckworth is an ethically sourced wool clothing company out of Montana. This team manages the production of their materials through every step of the process, and know their wool better than I know myself. No sheep is left unshorn here, as Duckworth bolsters an extensive product line of underwear, outerwear, and accessories.

Vermont based Darn Tough sells ultra-durable socks for all kinds of activities. From hiking, to cycling, to working, Darn Tough has the perfect pair for any and all of your needs.

Duluth Pack from Duluth, Minn. has been handcrafting canvas and leather bags since 1882. Backed by a lifetime guarantee and the workmanship of a skilled American craftsman, Duluth has designed numerous styles for the outdoors and day-to-day life.

Lastly, for the hardcore adventurer, Oru Kayak is a high-end coastal kayak manufacturer originating in San Francisco. These boats are durable, made eco-friendly with recyclable materials, and can fold like origami to fit in your closet. After Kickstarter campaigns, a Shark Tank endorsement, and thousands of sales, Oru is redefining the kayaking industry. Oru also been featured on the Discovery Channel.

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Federal Minimum Wage Reaches Disappointing Milestone

By Kathleen Mackey
USW Intern

A disgraceful milestone occurred last Sunday, June 16.

That date officially marked the longest period that the United States has gone without increasing federal the minimum wage.

That means Congress has denied raises for a decade to 1.8 million American workers, that is, those workers who earn $7.25 an hour or less. These 1.8 million Americans have watched in frustration as Congress not only denied them wages increases, but used their tax dollars to raise Congressional pay. They continued to watch in disappointment as the Trump administration failed to keep its promise that the 2017 tax cut law would increase every worker’s pay by $4,000 per year.

More than 12 years ago, in May 2007, Congress passed legislation to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour. It took effect two years later. Congress has failed to act since then, so it has, in effect, now imposed a decade-long wage freeze on the nation’s lowest income workers.

To combat this unjust situation, minimum wage workers could rally and call their lawmakers to demand action, but they’re typically working more than one job just to get by, so few have the energy or patience.

The Economic Policy Institute points out in a recent report on the federal minimum wage that as the cost of living rose over the past 10 years, Congress’ inaction cut the take-home pay of working families.  

At the current dismal rate, full-time workers receiving minimum wage earn $15,080 a year. It was virtually impossible to scrape by on $15,080 a decade ago, let alone support a family. But with the cost of living having risen 18% over that time, the situation now is far worse for the working poor. The current federal minimum wage is not a living wage. And no full-time worker should live in poverty.

While ignoring the needs of low-income workers, members of Congress, who taxpayers pay at least $174,000 a year, are scheduled to receive an automatic $4,500 cost-of-living raise this year. Congress increased its own pay from $169,300 to $174,000 in 2009, in the middle of the Great Recession when low income people across the country were out of work and losing their homes. While Congress has frozen its own pay since then, that’s little consolation to minimum wage workers who take home less than a tenth of Congressional salaries.

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