How to get your local outfitter on board with vegan gear

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Let’s face it, being vegan comes with some difficulties. Finding food to eat at restaurants, explaining to your new friends why you don’t want to go to the zoo with them. Most of all… buying outdoor gear.

Photo credit: The Mountaineer, Keene Valley, NY

Photo credit: The Mountaineer, Keene Valley, NY

Imagine walking into your local outfitter shop and the employees knowing exactly where to point you when you ask about vegan hiking socks, vegan sleeping bags, vegan hiking boots.

I’ve been working for the last year and a half, contacting gear manufacturers to ask about their vegan options and to also show them what vegans are looking for in outdoor gear and that there is a thriving market for the synthetic stuff.

But to be really successful in making the outdoor gear world a more vegan-friendly place, I think the contact needs to be two-fold.

Just because Patagonia knows that their Nano Puff jackets are vegan, doesn’t mean the folks at the gear shop do. So I’m going to be reaching out to gear shops as well. To cover all of our bases.

Getting outfitters on board with this will make your life even easier when it comes to buying gear for your next adventure.

Fountain Square Outfitters, Glens Falls, NY

Photo Credit: Fountain Square Outfitters, Glens Falls, NY

Photo Credit: Fountain Square Outfitters, Glens Falls, NY

I know this is the case, because I’m lucky enough to have Fountain Square Outfitters just a few blocks from my apartment. I absolutely love them!

They’re always so excited to tell me about the new vegan gear they’re stocking (hello, Olu Kai!) and more than happy to check in with manufacturers on something for me. Because they’ve got the contacts!

Since getting to know the awesome owners and staff at FSO, my gear buying experience has gone from one of frustration, anxiety and ultimately giving up to something I look forward to. It really helps having someone who genuinely cares about what I’m looking for. I don’t have to wonder, “Are they just telling me this is vegan so I’ll buy it?”

Believe me. It makes a difference.

Looking ahead

So let’s look forward to your next trip to the shop. You walk in, mention to the person working that you’re vegan and their face lights up, because they know exactly what you’re looking for.

And maybe those products are even clearly labeled as vegan. Can you imagine?

It’s time to help our local outfitters get on the vegan bandwagon. We want vegan options and people who know what we’re talking about, and we want these things now!

Of course, we’re obviously going to ask nicely.

We’re going to take our gear buying trips to a new level of awesome and easy. And it’s going to be the best thing ever.

But it’s not a one woman job, and I’m definitely going to need your help. So here’s the next step.

Leave a comment on this post and tell me about your gear shop:

  • Their name, location, website.
  • Are you acquainted with the owners/staff?
  • What vegan products do they currently carry?
  • Are the knowledgeable about vegan products/open to learning more?
  • Anything else you think I should know

And then share this with your friends, whether they’re also outdoorsy vegans, or maybe they work at a gear shop. The more people we get involved in this, the more awesome the results will be.

I’m super excited about this and I hope you are, too!