11 Pieces of Maine-Sourced Gear for a Summer at the Camp

A summer guide to Maine-made tools, toys, and other gear to haul upta camp.

11 Pieces of Maine-Sourced Gear for a Summer at the Camp
By Adrienne Perron
Photos by Clayton Simoncic
From our August 2023 issue

Heading to the camp? Whether your summer hideout is deep in the woods, perched on the lake, or steps from the seashore, these Maine-made finds — from tools to toys to décor — can help you make the most of the long, lazy days.

“Oh Yeah Comfy” Beach Chair from Maine Casual

“Oh Yeah Comfy” Beach Chair

It’s darn near impossible to plop down in this handmade folding chair without exclaiming its name. Sturdily constructed from Brazilian cherry, it has a high back that’s great for taller users, and its comfiness comes from its flexibility — founder Brian Fish uses lobster-trap bungees to attach breathable marine-mesh fabric to the wood. The seat has four recline settings and a cup holder: adjust the recline or your beverage strength to match your relaxation needs. $385. Maine Casual, South Portland. 207-619-3102.

Vintage Travel Posters

Designer Liza Kelley Sperry’s art-deco–inspired posters highlight iconic Maine spots like Acadia National Park, Bailey Island, and Moosehead Lake. The geometric shapes, strong lines, and bright colors add some pop to any wall at the camp. Sperry and her husband, fellow graphic designer Patrick, donate 1 percent of their shop’s sales to the Natural Resources Council of Maine. $55. Sperry General Store, South Portland. 207-712-3893.

Vintage Travel Posters from Sperry General Store
Body Surfing Hand Planes from Old Soul Wood Work

Body Surfing Hand Planes

Body surfing is the purest way to ride a wave, says Christopher Aakjer, who makes these hand planes to give body surfers more control in the water. The planes act like skis on a snowmobile, helping a surfer stay buoyant. Each one is handcrafted with pieces of lightweight paulownia wood left over from the surfboards Aakjer also makes. Just slide both hands into the strap, throw your arms out in front of you, and ride. $150. Old Soul Wood Work, Topsham.

Boat Cleat Rack from Head Tide Wood Craft and Huckaback Towels from Amphitrite Studio

Boat Cleat Rack

Using pine boards and tie-up cleats off boats and docks, the husband-and-wife team of Richard and Lucy MacKinnon make these versatile racks with a nautical twist. They can hold up to 80 pounds of towels, jackets, you name it, and they’ll hold up to the elements outside. Richard paints on a protective coating so cleats won’t tarnish or flake, and Lucy takes custom-color requests — she can make a rack look smooth and polished or distressed and rustic, depending on your camp’s vibe. $79–$89. Head Tide Wood Craft, New Harbor.

Huckaback Towel

Huckaback linen is a loosely woven fabric that’s absorbent and quick drying, which is why Katrina Kelley chose it as the material for these versatile towels. Beautiful, soft, and available in a wide range of colors, they work great as bath towels — Kelley makes matching face cloths and hand towels too — and the lightweight, durable fabric also makes them perfect as beach towels. Plus, they fold up tightly to save space in the beach bag. $74. Amphitrite Studio, Newcastle. 207-837-4972.

Northwoods Portage Pack

Early Maine woodsmen used a style of pack similar to this, made with classic waxed canvas and leather rather than modern synthetic fabrics. Avid paddler Jeremy Miller cuts, stains, and stitches each pack by hand and prefers the natural materials for their durability. His pack can stand up to extra-heavy loads, as useful for portaging a canoe as it is for packing a weekend’s worth of camp supplies. $349. Northwoods Outdoors & Northwoods Fur Co., Hampden.

Northwoods Portage Pack from Northwoods Outdoors & Northwoods Fur Co.
Fishing Rod Rack from Craftsman Fish

Fishing Rod Rack

Craftsman and angler Joshua Goodwin and his fish-crazy teenage sons, Donovan and David, first built a rack together to store their own excessive collection of rods. Before long, they were selling their handsome, space-saving racks, which fit up to 10 poles. Made with rugged poplar plywood and designed to be low-profile, they can be mounted on either the wall or the ceiling, depending how out-of-the-way you want your rods to be. $95. Craftsman Fish, New Gloucester.

Soy Fire Starters

When candle-maker Julie McKechnie Tozier first started making fire starters, she kept the recipe simple: just soy wax and wood chips in a cupcake wrapper, with a wick to light. But on one of her regular nature walks, it dawned on her she could use pretty leaves, plants, and pinecones to decorate her starters (and up their flammability). If you can bring yourself to light these artful cakes, they’ll burn up to 40 minutes to help get a strong campfire going. $4. My Maine Farmhouse, Hampden.

Soy Fire Starters from My Maine Farmhouse
Mountain Bookends from King of Sawdust

Mountain Bookends

A browsing session on Pinterest helped inspire IT-analyst-cum-woodworker Travis King’s idea for bookends designed and painted to look like mountains. His simple knotty-pine bookends are lightweight but strong enough to keep a small stack of books upright. $23. King of Sawdust, Lewiston.

Rustic Camping Silverware Set

Blacksmith Korey Ames starts with scrap metal and uses anvil, hammer, and tongs to repurpose it into silverware sets that include a fork, knife, and spoon. No two sets look the same, and Ames makes sure his cutlery doesn’t look too shiny or finished. “It makes them look handmade in a pleasing way,” he says. Throw a set in your backpack for camping or use multiples as silverware at the cabin. $80. Northernwolf Forge, North Bucksport.

Rustic Camping Silverware Set from Northernwolf Forge
Maine Bug Blocker Candle from Nubble Light Candle

Maine Bug Blocker Candle

Wherever your camp is, Maine’s dogged mosquitoes and blackflies can find you there — but they don’t have to spoil your fun. Greg Clements blends citronella, lemon, peppermint, and eucalyptus in a non-toxic soy wax, then pours it in small batches to make all-natural candles that help keep bitey pests at bay. $17. Nubble Light Candle, Kittery. 207-423-3614.

Support more Maine makers! Read up on other Maine-sourced summer outdoor gear, from sunglasses to surfboards, rucksacks to rain pants, here.

May 2024, Down East Magazine

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