Patagonia: With Ventura-based Patagonia, you get what you pay for. What you pay is a lot. What you get is exactly what you want. Patagonia’s gear and clothing looks great, it works perfectly, and it is manufactured as ethically and sustainably as reasonably possible. I do not yet own a Patagonia backpack. But I do own a broad cross-section Patagonia clothing and gear, all of which may very well last me forever.
Mountain Hardwear: Richmond-based Mountain Hardware has been my go-to supplier for camping-and-backpacking clothing and gear for more than a decade. My wife’s Mountain Hardwear sleeping bag served her well for almost two decades in the outdoors. It has some cold spots now, but our kids still use it for warm-weather camping and sleepovers.