Epic Photo Tour: Behind the Scenes of 23 Cottage Brands

Amy Hatch

Cottage brands have taken root in all corners of the U.S. and world. They’ve sprung up in basements, buses, spare bedrooms …. and of course garages! Growing from humble beginnings, some now inhabit larger workshops and warehouse spaces.  

But no matter where people’s craft takes place, cottage outdoor brands are united in their commitment to producing quality products and taking care of their customers.  

It’s no secret that here at Garage Grown Gear we’re all about elevating cottage brands. But it’s one thing to say it and another thing to really internalize what that means for people’s livelihoods and in turn lives. 

We hope this epic photo tour through the workshops of a couple dozen small, cottage brands leaves you feeling downright inspired — as it did for us! 



Hometown: Based in the Bronx
Signature Product(s): X Kross and Krafs Stuff Sack

Bum Knee Designs

Hometown: Asheville, North Carolina
Signature Product(s): UL Wallets




Bushka's Kitchen

Hometown: San Francisco, California
Signature Product(s): Zesty Zoodles in Avocado Sauce 



Chicken Tramper Ultralight Gear

Hometown: Hancock, Michigan
Signature Product(s): Water Bottle Sleeve and Phone Pocket





Cloud Gear

Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas
Signature Product(s): Bear Bag




Dandee Packs

Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts

Signature Product(s): The Standard Pack





Trends & top 10




Would love to see a UK version of this list !

Meanwhile I have noted a few items for when I eventually come over to the States to walk the AP; cancelled this year as they have stopped giving out 6 month Visa’s.
Eric B.

Eric B.

This is how Tarptent began. Now they have outgrown “garage grown” and into a good sized business. I’ve owned 5 of their tents and still have 3 of them.

Kim Kremer

Kim Kremer

I think CTUG’s signature product is their packs with the frame made from arrow shafts. That’s what convinced me to go with them over other internal frame packs. In the unlikely event one of the shafts breaks, I can purchase a replacement at an outdoor store. 900 gm pack carries a wide variety of load weights comfortably. (I’ve carried from about 12 pounds to about 30; I’ve read others have carried as much as 40 pounds comfortably.)

Justin M Young

Justin M Young

Very cool to see: just makes me realize, did most of these people go from die hard BP guys to sitting over sewing machine? The sewing machine is ubiquitous in almost every photo, and I assume that most of these people did not grew up sewing, but were only driven to it by a thirst for making their own perfect piece of lightweight gear??
Can you ask the community? I would very much like an answer to how these folks got started doing what they do…their motivation.

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