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Outdoor Research founder Ron Gregg was a nuclear physicist who spent as much time as possible exploring the edges of the map. He referred to the outdoors as The Big Office, taking his work and research into the backcountry as often as possible.
In 1980, Ron watched his frostbitten partner get airlifted off a glacier on Denali. He’d spent months planning a new route in the purest style, skiing 100 miles from the road to the base of the climb. Halfway to the summit, their trip ended with the failure of a simple pair of gaiters. Stubborn to the end, Ron refused a seat on the helicopter and descended alone for two weeks, pondering what had happened.
Somewhere along the way he realized he could fix the gear problem and devote his life to pursuing his passion for adventure. By the end, he knew one thing for sure: He wasn’t going back to his old job.
Back in Seattle, Ron reacted by searching for a solution to keep this situation from happening in the future. The result was a functional, insulated gaiter, the X-Gaiter™, which held snug and was versatile enough to fit a variety of boots. From this original inspiration and its resultant innovation, Outdoor Research was founded the following year.
Outdoor Research was born from Ron’s research-led approach to problem solving. He believed that the Research Method could be applied to solve the outdoor’s biggest challenges. Today, we carry that ethos forward.
In the 1980s and early 1990s, Outdoor Research built a reputation on functional, quality outdoor gear that pushed the limits of innovative possibility. Ron led a function-forward approach to creating solutions that allowed people to safely explore the outdoors with the very best protection. Today, we still manufacture, sell, and earn awards for these same products year after year. This gear stands the test of time.
X-Gaiters: Revolutionary gaiter designed to extend the range of traditional mountaineering boots.
Crocodile Gaiters: One of the original Ron Gregg inventions that are as tough as nails and stand the test of time.
Seattle Rain Hat (formerly called Seattle Sombrero): Legendary, award-winning GORE-TEX waterproof protection.
Mt. Baker Modular Mitts: The first ever modular mitts on the market, the Mt. Bakers created a legacy of warmth and adaptability with removable insulated liners and a waterproof shell.
We’ve been building protective equipment in Seattle since 1981. Creating American jobs and building Made in the USA products have always been a hallmark of our business. Today, we operate out of two U.S. factories, one that shares our corporate headquarters in Seattle,WA and another in El Monte, CA. Being steps away from our production floors allows us to create, test, improve, and distribute protective equipment with the greatest speed and efficiency. It was this accessibility and expertise that allowed us to respond to the needs of the medical community in 2020 by manufacturing personal protective equipment for essential healthcare personnel.
Outdoor Research continues a legacy in U.S. manufacturing with technical apparel and PPE that protects outdoor adventurers, medical staff, armed forces, and everyone else who needs protection outside of their home.
Seattle Factory: Outdoor Research employees use hand-crafted technical expertise to create modular glove systems for tactical applications.
El Monte Factory: An aerial view of Outdoor Research employees working on the factory floor of the El Monte, California facility which opened in 2019.
Seattle PPE Manufacturing: In March of 2020, we responded to the needs of the medical community by manufacturing personal protective equipment for essential healthcare personnel.
Surgical Masks: In response to the COVID-19 crisis, we began producing upwards of 200,000 masks per day to support the needs of essential workers.
Protecting the environment and being socially conscious are just as important to us as the gear you’ll see on our website and in stores. A lot of hands, materials, and travel goes into the products we make. It’s our duty to make these processes as safe and with as little impact as possible.
We rely on only the most trustworthy organizations and certifications to hold us to the high standards that we’ve set for ourselves. Learn about some of the practices we have in place, standards we hold ourselves to, and partners we trust with this work to move forward together.
bluesign® System Partnership: This partnership allows us to take ownership of our supply chain inputs and reduce the impacts of the products we sell.
Track My Down: This tool increases visibility of the traceability we strive for in procuring down insulation.
Responsible Down Standard (RDS): This standard safeguards the welfare of geese and ducks that provide down and feathers for the products we all love.
Global Recycled Standard: GRS allows us to increase our use of recycled content and reduce the harm caused by its production.
Outdoor Research Ambassadors are community builders and elite athletes who suspend disbelief to push their sport, community, and culture. They represent our customers, employees, friends, and family who excel in sport while balancing life, responsibilities, and creating safe spaces to invite others into the fold.
Monserrat Alvarez Matehuala - Climb: Climber, teacher, community builder, and founding member of Brown Girls Climb.
Quinn Mason - Climb: Give-time Youth National climbing Team member and World Cup qualifier.
Graham Zimmerman - Alpine: Award-winning, pioneering alpinist focused on cutting-edge routes of the world’s highest peaks.
Jessica Baker - Ski: Renowned skier who founded Ski Divas to expand gender inclusivity of ski and ride in Jackson, WY.
Keenan Takahashi - Climb: Boulderer and sport climber known for his pure climbing style as much as his mustache.
Beth Rodden - Climb: Yosemite legend and mother who uses her platform to share body positivity and climbing, working, life balance.
Outdoor Research Community Partners work to create safe, accessible, and equitable outdoor spaces for current and future generations. These organizations help us reach a broader base of new outdoor enthusiasts, and we support them with funding, events, volunteerism, and by sharing content that helps amplify their voices as well as the voices of the community members who they serve.
Adventure Scientists: Adventure Scientists volunteers explore the planet while making a difference. They collect data to protect critical species and ecosystems.
Adventure Scientists: The Wild and Scenic Rivers team collect data by assessing habitats, collecting water samples, identifying the location of invasive species, and using field probes with in-stream sensors to measure water quality.
Women’s Wilderness: Women’s Wilderness’ goal is to support girls, women, and LGBQ+ people in accessing their power and improving their health through connections to the outdoors and community.
Women’s Wilderness: Trailblazers is an affinity space within Women’s Wilderness created by and for those who identify as women of color. It’s the goal of the Trailblazers team to address the need for safe spaces by fostering community, joy, and connection.
Adventure Scientists: Volunteers collect leaf, seed, and wood samples for timber tracking databases that reveal the origin of any sample of timber - taking away illegal loggers’ ability to sneak poached trees into the world’s wood supply.
Outdoor Research Films use media as a vehicle to tell stories of real people, community members, ambassadors for change, and non-profit partners who challenge us to do better, and think together.
Escaladora: What does it mean to bring your full identity with you outdoors? Outdoor Research Ambassador Monserrat Alvarez Matehuala on building safe, women-of-color-led experiences to empower others in the outdoors.
Essential: The film dedicated to our production staff and essential workers around the world, telling the story of our response to the pandemic and the Outdoor Research employees who were truly essential.
Craft: Craft explores the mentor & mentee relationship between two skiers and Outdoor Research Ambassadors, Zack Giffin and Micah Evangelista.
Essential: In March of 2020 the world changed and with it, all aspects of our lives. Walking a knife’s edge of known and unknown, we learned what - and who - was truly essential.
Working at Outdoor Research is about more than just the job. We create careers that invite curiosity, passion, collaboration, and community between allthreeof our locations. See how our people and products are guided by our values, learn how our benefits support employee work and life balance, and explore the many ways we strive to make our employees’ work environments as safe, healthy, and comfortable as possible.