Jeremy Kocsis of Jereko Gear (get it?) is an engineer by trade and a gear junkie at heart. “All I want to do is design and make quality gear for everyone to enjoy! My goal is to provide unique solutions, whether that’s a totally new product or improving on existing ideas.”
Born and based in Western New York, Jeremy was first introduced to the outdoors as a youngster through Boy Scouts. Summer jobs in outdoor education and retail positions at bike and gear shops soon followed. “I had a lot of time and experience in the outdoors, and at the time, it was my only marketable skill,” he joked.
Jeremy kept a little notebook of ideas he dreamed of making into real products one day. “Most of the ideas for new products would come quite randomly, typically while I was working, because customers would say ‘I wish there was…’”
Shortly after Jeremy earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Buffalo State, the pandemic put a damper on his post-college job hunt. So, Jeremy decided to pursue some of the original ideas from his notebook.
He purchased a 3D printer, set up a shop on Etsy and became a 3D hobbyist.
At first it was just a way to gain knowledge with innovative technology and keep a growing portfolio. “It wasn’t groundbreaking in the beginning,” he said of Jereko Gear, “but after I released some new products the following year, it started taking off. It felt like something I could be proud of.”
Jeremy not only wanted to fill a gap in the outdoor industry with his original ideas and products, he also wanted to make these products more sustainable. “So many products are a ‘one off’,” he said. “If they break, you have to buy a new one; and they’re often an expensive product for what they actually are.”
In a small room in his basement, Jeremy houses all of his supplies: a computer for modeling and a professional 3D printer for production.
One of the first fully original products launched was the Jereko Gear Pot Protector. The rubberized disc comes in two sizes and is the perfect solution for safely storing isobutane fuel canisters inside your cooking pot while hiking. It keeps dirt and debris from getting inside, prevents rust build up, and helps eliminate that annoying clanking sound from bouncing gear.
Jeremy recalled his mom telling him, “If you’re going to make specific products, make them multi-functional.”
“That’s been the overarching theme and what I try to base all my products on,” he said.
The Driver, Jereko’s original, patent-pending gadget fits over multiple brands of tent stakes, making for an effective and painless way to set them in the ground. The Driver also prevents the Deuce of Spades trowel from wrecking your hands.
“It sucks to push it in the ground,” Jeremy laughed, “so I thought I could make a protective cover that would encourage more people to use it.”
“You’ll never need to worry about digging catholes or setting tent stakes again!” he added.
Additionally, Jereko Gear has gained traction for its glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls and a fuel stand. While neither are original ideas, Jeremy believes the cost is more affordable and the products more sustainable.
“I managed to shave off a couple grams compared to the leading competitor,” he said of the fuel stand. “And if something ever broke, I can print out replaceable pins and clips, no problem.”
With the obligation of a full-time day job, Jeremy often brings Jereko Gear on the road. “I’m sometimes running a full print shop out of a small hotel suite,” he laughed. “I’ve tripped the breakers more times than I can count!”
“The cottage outdoor industry in New York doesn’t have the same foundation as the West, but I take great pride in what I do. It makes me feel good to provide people with items they need to get out there and make their experience more enjoyable,” Jeremy reflected. “But I feel the most amount of pride in keeping items affordable, too.”
“Historically, outdoor recreation has always had a price tag and my goal was to lower that. Your experience outdoors should not depend on how much you spend. The outdoors is everyone’s and I see it more as a natural right than a privilege. You should be able to go outside and enjoy yourself simply because you are human. Simply because you should. Because it is your home and it is what we all share, collectively; nature.”