Whether you’re hitting the beach, the trail, or the backyard, Maine’s makers and retailers are sure to have some ingenious and functional accessory to make your outdoor exploits a little more fun. We checked in with artisans and brands from all across the Pine Tree State and found a few new favorite summertime toys, tools, wearables, and more.
Southern Maine’s Grain Surfboards has earned a reputation for its (super durable) custom wooden boards and workshops for do-it-yourselfers. Its newest kits come with everything a would-be shaper needs to build a surfboard at home (other than some fairly basic tools). A four-day build yields a handsome ride made with marine plywood certified for sustainability by the Forest Stewardship Council — no woodworking experience required. $650–$975. Grain Surfboards, York. 207-457-5313.
Like the boots and boat totes, the Continental Rucksack has been a Bean’s staple for decades, a practical, durable field bag for toting a day’s worth of gear. Last fall, the company released this beefier update, with 37 liters to the original’s 33 and a tougher nylon bottom. Great for overnight excursions, without sacrificing the simple virtues — or timeless style — of the original. $139. L.L.Bean, Freeport. 800-441-5713.
Most of the handmade wares in Maegan Monsees’s one-woman shop are made from hand-coiled cotton rope, but the midcoast fabric artist also designs and sews her own linen and organic-cotton apparel, like this classic reversible bucket hat. Made from 100-percent linen, it’s breathable and moisture wicking, and the slightly rigid brim flips down or up, to keep out or let in the sun. $45. The Nestling Co., Waldoboro.
Massachusetts-based designer Chrissy Durden contracts with Dexter’s MaineSole Footwear to make (by hand) her simple, fashion-forward women’s sandals. They’re made for outdoor wear (using Maine-sourced leather, among other materials), with grippy tread, comfy underfoot cushioning, and, on the Frances sandal (pictured), an adjustable Velcro strap. Durden has thongs in the works for this summer too. $135–$155. Empty Provisions Footwear, Dexter and Somerville, Massachusetts.
A University of Southern Maine lab helped develop the unique composite plastic — made from discarded single-use water bottles — that goes into these stylish frames. The Maine- and California-based startup also has a collection made with biodegradable, plant-based frames, but its “StokedPlastic” line earned it a 2022 Outdoor Innovation Award from Maine Outdoor Brands. $145. Opolis Optics, Kennebunk.
These colorful pants for kids and toddlers are waterproof (read: mud-proof) and tough enough to withstand sticks and thorns. Portland’s Kate Phair Keefer makes them from polyurethane laminate, a fabric popular in the medical field that’s breathable, machine washable, and dryer safe. Available in a handful of fun patterns, sizes 2T to 7 (but Phair Keefer does custom sizes too). $40. Phair Made, Portland.
A cute and practical smock for toting garden tools and gathering produce, this Etsy find keeps gardeners dirt-free and makes harvesting a cinch — pull a drawstring, fold up the bottom, and button at the top to make a roomy pouch for carrying crops hands-free. Maker Peggy Dupont offers dozens of printed patterns, berries to beans to aubergines. $30. Anna Liam Co., Lewiston.
Veteran bag maker Patricia McDonald — who cut her teeth working for Maine’s pioneering Moss Tents brand — started making her firewood carriers 30 years ago and says her original models are still hauling logs. She uses a heavy-duty cotton duck canvas and triple stitches the webbing for the straps, making the totes, apparently, indestructible. $115. Patzbag, Warren.
Don’t ruin a good picnic with single-use plastic. These kits of reusable utensils include fork, spoon, knife, chopsticks, and straw and come in a cute patterned storage pouch handmade by Poland’s Christy Carmody. Choose from bamboo or stainless steel utensils, and pick your favorite bag design. $24–$26. Spruce + Pine Co., Poland.
Sure, water balloons are great. Those latex scraps all over your yard or campsite? Not so much. Christy Short crochets her faux-balloons with thick chenille yarn for maximum absorption, so they soak up water like a sponge, splatter like the real thing, and look pretty doing it. Just dunk them in a bucket, pelt your opponents, dry out, and reuse. $10 for a set of six. Maine Street Market, Masardis.
When you need to toss the ’bee around after dark, bohemian emporium Mexicali Blues has you covered. Even if you’re not a Deadhead, this Maine-y spin on the Grateful Dead’s logo is almost as ubiquitous around Vacationland as the 34-year-old Maine hippie shop that licenses it. $14. Mexicali Blues, Bangor, Freeport, Newcastle, Raymond, Portland. 866-329-0639.