Happy Asian American and Pacific Islander Month! 2021 has been a year (and we aren’t even halfway through!). I wanted to compile a list to support the Asian outdoor community, especially in light of the recent increase of violence against Asians. I’ve put together a list of Asian-founded outdoor brands to throw your dollars behind.
The below brands all have at least one Asian co-founder, and can be found in the United States. Sorry, this means no cool Japanese brands, since it’s hard to get your hands on them!
Table of contents
- Food & Drink
- Hiking and Backpacking
- Snow Sports
- Climbing Gyms
- Guides & Outfitters
Food & Drink
Based in Canada, but hopefully making their way to the US soon (I’m putting them here to manifest), Backcountry Wok creates Asian-inspired backcountry dishes from an actual Asian person. Drool over their flavors.
Copper Cow Coffee
Founded by a Vietnamese-American Debbie Wei Mullin, Copper Cow Coffee’s signature is their Vietnamese Coffee. They’ve since expanded to include non-coffee options like Thai iced teas and golden milks. Each individual package makes coffee (or tea) in the wilderness easy. A pack costs $15 and has 5 servings.
Butora is a Korean brand that made their way to the United States in the last few years, and they are here to stay. They’ve got a wide range of shoes for the new climber to the aggressive boulderer. Buy through REI.
Evolv, known for their climbing shoes, was founded by Brian Chung. This climbing brand is now a household climbing staple, and is available at REI.
Holy moly, beautiful approach shoes of my dreams. Founder Jon Tang designs sneakers that blend the great outdoors, design, his incessant love for sneakers, and his affinity with NASA and space. Shop through their website.
Co-founded by crushers Kimberly Ang, Marc Bourguignon, and Austin Lee, Kaya Climbing helps you track your projects and sends, both indoors and outdoors. They also have a gym-specific platform to better understand their climber demographic, but this part probably does not apply to you (but you should also tell your gyms to use it; it’s awesome.) Available on Android and iOS!
Lady Crvsh Crew
Lady Crvsh Crew is a community for women (trans and cis), non-binary, 2 Spirit and friends in the climbing space. They host cool meet-ups, highlight some awesome folks, and create cute, climbing apparel. Find out more via their website.
Young Chu began making his own gear before going on to design shoes on a larger scale. He founded Mad Rock in 2002 to create an affordable line of climbing shoes; it has since expanded to include other climbing gear. Buy through Backcountry, and use code PAULINAD15 for 15% off your first purchase.
Based out of Portland, OR, this climbing and canyoneering brand makes the most colorful and fun bags known to mankind. Shop through their website.
Founded by Five Ten veteran, Sang Lee, after they were acquired by Adidas, UnParallel Sports manufactures climbing and cycling shoes. Buy through their website.
Alder Apparel, co-founded by Naomi Blackman and Mikaela Wujec, creates inclusive and sustainable clothing for womxn. Buy through Alder Apparel.
Artifact Climbing is a new Asian-founded brand on the market by climbers for climbers. Shop their line of apparel.
BLACKYAK is South Korea’s premiere technical outdoor brand. From mountaineering to hiking, they’ve got something for everyone. Shop via BLACKYAK.
Korean-born Jeein didn’t want to climb in leggings or in technical pants, so the sustainable, hemp-based Comfortable Adventures was born. Shop through their website.
Dirty Girl Gaiters
Dirty Girl Gaiters, founded by Xy Weiss, makes funky and fashionable, lightweight gaiters in the USA. Adorn your feet with fun by wearing a pair of their gaiters.
This Japanese brand began as a ski company in the 50s. Now, their premium product line encompasses many outdoor sports and adds a fashionable twist. Shop at their US site.
Co-founded by 13-time Everest summiteer and IFMGA climbing guide, Tendi Sherpa, Himali is a premium mountaineering apparel brand built to withstand the toughest conditions. Shop Himali via their website.
Sherpa Adventure Gear
Founded in 2003 by Tashi Sherpa and his family to help the communities and people of Nepal, Sherpa Adventure Company is a small brand committed to making a big impact. They are currently moving warehouses, but can also be found at Backcountry.
Based in Vancouver, Canada, Westbound founder and creative director Alan Yiu creates premium outdoor apparel with unparalleled craftsmanship. Each Westcomb piece is meticulously designed and constructed for maximum performance and comfort. Shop directly through Westcomb.
Founded by David Caco, the Undress brings a seamless way for womxn to get changed in the outdoors without exposing themselves. Shop through the Undress.
Kyle Ng of Outer Shell designs rugged accessories for bikepacking, and everything is made in San Francisco, CA. Shop Outer Shell through their website.
Protect your noggin with Thousand Helmets, founded by Gloria Hwang. Shop through REI.
Hiking and Backpacking
allmansright is co-founded by Jennifer Jacobsson and Livio Melo to bring handcrafted, ultralight gear to your next adventure. As a BIPOC-owned company, they also donate 2% of our monthly profits to organizations supporting their mission to protect and diversify the outdoors. Shop through Garage Grown Gear.
Flat Cat Gear
If there’s one thing Asian people love and use to show love, it’s food. Flat Cat Gear, by Jon Fong, makes cook systems to keep you well-fed on trail and at camp. Buy through their site.
Established in 1941, Japanese brand Nanga creates high quality apparel and sleeping bags for the most extreme conditions. Shop this specialty Japanese brand through Hatchet Supply.
Japanese brand Snow Peak is a backpacking and camping staple. Their stoves and sporks are a mainstay amongst hikers and campers, and can be readily found at REI.
Chinese brand TOAKS Outdoor is a titan in the titanium space. Shop their titanium stoves and pots at REI.
Bay Area-based Westbound Gear, founded by Eliza Bui, makes a line of delightful and fun hip packs (I mean seriously, that rainbow! I need it.) and accessory pouches. Shop them through Garage Grown Gear.
Yama Mountain Gear
Yama means mountain in Japanese. Founded in 2006 after some time on the PCT, Gen Shimizu designs efficient, thoughtful, and beautiful gear inspired by his trail experiences, for efficient and comfortable exploring. Shop through Yama Mountain Gear’s website.
Owned by Leo Tsuo, Weston Backcountry makes snowboards, splitboards, and skis. They also sponsor several AIARE scholarships for women and BIPOC in the backcountry. Shop Weston through REI and Backcountry.
Japanese brand Inno outfits your car with bike and cargo racks for your next adventure. Shop directly through their site.
Guides & Outfitters
Jack Pine Paddle – Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada – paddling outfitter
Happy shopping these Asian-founded outdoor brands! Let me know if there are any brands that I missed that should be on this list.
This post contains affiliate links.