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.
The Products That Defined Us
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Working at Outdoor Research is about more than just the job. We create careers that invite curiosity, passion, collaboration, and community between all three of 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.