Before founding Rinord, Nick Prevot was a seasoned river guide, one who was frustrated and fed up with his shorts. The zippers were in all the wrong places and the fabric never seemed to adequately dry. So he decided to do something about it.
Fresh out of college and living in Jackson, Wyoming, Nick set out to design the perfect pair of outdoor shorts. He began familiarizing himself with materials and obsessing over design. He attended trade shows and consulted with companies all over the world who were innovating and creating the most cutting edge fabrics, threads and notions on the market.
“From there, I’d look at the technical data and see how it performs in the lab, and what fabric, by the numbers, performs best,” he said. But, finding the best fabric was only part of it. “Sometimes, it looks great on paper, but after you wash and wear it, it loses its waterproofness."
And that’s what led to Rinord’s rigorous and rather lengthy product testing process.
“I’d make a prototype, guide for a week or two, realize the problems, try a new thread or new seams,” Nick said. “I personally sewed 50 types of shorts before I got to where I am now.”
“My parents always said, ‘the devil is in the details’, and that couldn’t be more applicable to outdoor gear. Small details in design can make a huge difference.”
Rinord takes this very seriously: from perfecting pocket angles, choosing the best thread type (four kinds of thread are used on their shorts), obsessing over the number of stitches per inch, and building a zippered pocket that actually fits a cell phone (with a case).
“I love the nitty gritty details, material science and obsessive design process. Finding out exactly where a pocket needs to go, strangely, really interests me,” he laughed.
Nick points out how it’s easy to notice when design details on our apparel or gear aren’t done right.
“Your belongings will bounce around in pockets that are in a bad spot, seams chafe against your body as you move, fabrics don’t dry fast enough, and seams that use the wrong thread blow out.”
“But when all of the little design details are done right, you don’t even notice; and that’s the point. When every detail is intentionally designed and the right materials are used, you don’t think about your gear, so you can focus all your attention and energy on the activity and perform at your best.”
Once he had a solid prototype, Nick passed them out to friends and fellow river guides for field testing in all capacities; on land, on the water, in town and in the backcountry. Rinord tested its shorts for well over a year before deciding it’s a ‘go’.
Two years and those 50 prototypes later, Nick sent his chosen fabric, along with the four required thread types, to a couple factories in the United States for manufacturing.
Not only does Rinord want to support the fair labor standards that exist in the US, but the brand values how connected and engaged it can be with its product by keeping manufacturing domestic. Nick added, “It also gives us an increased level of customization of the manufacturing process.”
“The final product is exactly what we’ve produced and what we’ve tested. If we’re going to obsess about it, it needs to be produced in the exact same way,” he said.
And the name, you ask? Inspired by one of his 50-day guiding trips in Northern Canada, Nick craftily blended “rimor,” the Latin word for “explorer” with “nord,” the French word for “north.”
“I wanted the name to reflect the inspiration for the company and the mission of the company,” he said.
Nick attests the only shorts he’s worn for the last three years are his own, and he’s pretty satisfied with the final product.
“Slowly realizing that the mission is coming to fruition is really fulfilling,” he said. “Making a prototype, bringing them on a trip, having them function, and seeing the mission come to life; I’m excited to see that continue.”
This excitement ultimately fuels the fire for Nick’s broader goal for Rinord.
Back when he guided multi-week float trips — when he was perpetually annoyed at his wet, ill-fitting gear — Nick’s vision for Rinord extended well beyond shorts; his idea was to create one layering system of intentionally designed outdoor gear.
“This is the kit you’re gonna grab. You only need one pair of pants or one rain jacket that you can trust and that helps you thrive in various environments all year round, and that’s the mission for the company,” he said.
Deep in the prototype phase (prototype #20, to be exact), Rinord expects to release men’s and women’s pants later this year, with a waterproof mid layer jacket to follow.
Nick stresses the importance of having thoughtfully made quality gear while in the backcountry.
“It helps you perform at your best and be comfortable in your environment. And when you’re comfortable in a harsh environment, you make better decisions, you’re a better guide, a better friend, and perform at your best.”
He added with a laugh, “There are consequences to not having a great system. It’s pretty hard to inspire when you’re cold and wet.”