12 Pieces of Maine-Sourced Gear for Your Outdoor Summer
No matter how you play, we have your gear needs covered.
Outdoor adventure is part of the fabric of a Maine summer, but with so many different ways to enjoy nature in the Pine Tree State, “adventure” is a subjective word. The Maine brands and artisans below have you covered, whether your style is sending routes in the Clifton Crags or barbecuing in the backyard.
Denmark designer Charles Linden makes boards built for cruising from repurposed trick water skis, usually vintage ones that he finds online. His favorite ones to work with are from the ’50s through the ’70s, and he preserves the skis’ cool retro graphics on the finished products. $350. Linden Longboards, Denmark. 207-890-2712.
Hemp Fire Starters and Kits
Made from the leafy, woody byproduct of Maine’s CBD industry, these compact biofuel nuggets start a campfire with no fuss. Can’t have a campfire? The candle-like portable firepits burn hemp waste and other all-natural materials and make having s’mores possible anytime and anywhere. Fire starters, 8-pack, $20; portable fire kit, $39. Tree Free Heat, Waterville.
Zootility Grill Gear
For cookout cognoscenti, a mahogany-handled spatula (matching tongs available) and a bristle-free Grrilla scraper that looks cool, opens bottles, and keeps little metal fibers out of your food. Grilling for a crowd? Ingenious stainless-steel “meat charms” help the grillmaster keep track of which burgers need to be cooked to which degree. Spatula, $59; Grrilla scraper, $14; meat charms, $18. Zootility, Portland. 207-536-0639.
This hand-sewn daypack is soft, with a comfy fit, but it’s also functional and surprisingly rugged. With a zippered pocket on the front and a slip pocket inside, it’ll accommodate essentials for a day hike or just a walk downtown. Seamstress Michele Corbeil starts with a design from the Noodlehead pattern shop and can make the packs in more than a dozen different colors. $185. Three Bags Full, Brooklin.
Heritage Fire Poker
No more scouring the woods for the perfect campfire-tending stick. Artist and blacksmith Nicholas Wicks Moreau uses both traditional and modern blacksmithing techniques to craft these sturdy, 34-inch metal rods equipped with a poker and a hook for maximum fire-stoking capability. $40. Wicks Forge, Pownal. 203-873-8778.
Falmouth Camp Mocs
Versatile and unfussy but still the slightest-bit preppy, slip-on camp mocs are the classic Maine summer shoe, durable and more comfortable as they age. These have a plush memory-foam interior and a rugged outsole with great traction. From $90. Eastland, Freeport. 888-988-1998.
Brant & Cochran Axes
The 28-inch Allagash Cruiser is small enough to take camping, beefy enough for yard projects at home. Hand-forged in South Portland, the head is modeled after a traditional Maine wedge-pattern camp axe, a common style in the early 20th century. No less an authority than Field & Stream calls it one of the country’s best axes. $275. Brant & Cochran, South Portland. 207-730-2929.
Family Archery Set
Just like summer camp! Bean’s intro-level bow set comes in a range of sizes for families and beginners. It’s no heirloom, but the handsome wooden bow is surprisingly sturdy for the price point. Word to the wise, though: buy extra arrows. $179. L.L.Bean, Freeport. 800-441-5713.
Guide’s Picnic Baskets
Made by a husband-and-wife team from strips of Maine maple veneer, these classic baskets mimic the ones that guides around Grand Lake Stream traditionally tote for shore lunches. A maple divider helps keep provisions organized. $120. Pack Baskets of Maine, Lincoln. 207-989-0823.
Women’s Outdoor Recreational Pants
The winning idea at Colby College’s 2018 Business Pitch competition, pitched by then first-year students Isabel Adler and Lily Hogan: these high-waisted, deep-pocketed pants are made from recycled materials, designed to fit a wide range of body types, and reinforced in the knees and inner thighs, making them brawny enough for hiking and rock climbing. $120. Ruggette, Waterville.
Skincare industry vet Sébastien Kaech and his husband, Jim Martin, make all-natural soaps and balms, including this concoction of essential oils (including peppermint, rosemary, and cedarwood) that keeps Maine’s pesky, winged beasts at bay. Plus, vegetable oils help nourish and moisturize. From $8. Wayward Chickadee, Berwick.
For water-loving kiddos and adults who want sun protection with a little style, these snug-fitting hats are made from a swimsuit-like material and rated SPF-50. In a variety of patterns and styles, caps to bucket hats, they’re designed to stay on while swimming. $12–$25. Swimlids, Saco. 207-699-5727.
Support More Maine Makers!
Read up on other Maine-sourced summer outdoor gear, from canoe paddles to croquet mallet, here.