I’m not a native Texan, but I’ve spent over a decade living in the state and yes, it’s all true. Texans do it big, everything’s bigger in Texas, etc. etc. etc. The state is bigger than some nations, so we’re bound to have some big companies call us home base.

Covering different categories in the outdoor industry, we have Kammok, Yak GearYETI and Diablo Paddesports.

For your camping needs: Kammok

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This hammock company is straight outta here in Austin, which makes for great opportunities for ACK-Kammok collaboration and casual hang-outs (pun intended). This Bloomberg Businessweek article hits the nail on the head about the evolution of the hammock and what makes Kammok, which started as a Kickstarter back in 2011, particularly special. We’re big fans of tree-friendly straps and the “embarrassingly simple” set-up! And with the new tent/hammock hybrid Sundra model already surpassing its pledged goal, Kammok is on fire. 

If you’re thinking, “Well, I really don’t go camping that often, when am I going to use it?” remember that trees are readily available in most areas and so you have lots of options! Whether you’re setting up in a public park, college campus, or your own backyard. Kammok provides you with the means of converting an space into a place of relaxation.

For your kayak rigging needs: Yak Gear

14141645_10157380818330191_5054833894683032239_n-1Houston based and family owned Yak Gear is no stranger to the world of kayak rigging and fishing. For ten years, they have been innovating and manufacturing accessories designed for recreational paddling and kayak fishing. What we love about Yak Gear is not only their product innovation but their passion for the sport of kayak fishing. Their close proximity to the Texas Gulf has given them access to the perfect playground to test their products. Bill Bragman and his son Myles, along with a couple of his high school friends, started the business manufacturing products from home. Now, Yak Gear is one of our largest suppliers of kayak fishing gear in the nation. In fact, we recently learned that Yak Gear made the 2016 Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America list. Congrats, guys!

Yak Gear, along with some of the brands they distribute (Railbaza,?utm_source=ackblog&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=blog C-Tug and Viking) have also been great supporters of ACK hosted event, the Kayak Angler Tournament Series, in Texas.

For your cooler/beverage container needs: YETI

Before I started working at ACK, I was blind to all of the YETI bumper stickers adorning cars on Texas highways or the popularity of YETI coolers at local watering holes in Austin. Now it’s hard not to notice the presence of such a giant brand, especially when it even comes in the form of billboards such as this one:

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YETI started in 2005 but it really took off in 2011; for a deeper look into the company’s history and the original intentions of Texan brothers Ryan and Roy Seiders (to create a cooler they’d feel comfortable standing on for fishing purposes), check out this Inc article, “How Two Brothers Turned a $300 Cooler Into a $450 Million Cult Brand.”

YETI videos don’t feel like they’re pushing products; they’re pieces of art, short films that convey a story and show a lifestyle that many people who grew up fishing can identify with. Take a look for yourself:

For your kayak fishing needs: Diablo 

newgal02-2The birth of Diablo Paddlesports is the story of every person who has a seed of an idea and then works to see it come to life. Two college friends who met at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas (for non-Texans, that’s in the northwest of the state, close to the border of New Mexico) decided to make their dreams of a SUP/kayak hybrid a reality. With the help of a consultant, the native Texans designed one! What’s unique about the design is that it caters specifically to Texas water – we’ve got a lot of rivers and creeks, so Diablo kayaks navigate shallow water well even if there’s a lot of weight on them.

There you have it! A little peek into the stories of some players in the outdoor industry landscape. With our headquarters in Austin, it’s exciting to be surrounded by such big dreamers who materialized their ideas through a mix of hard work, creativity, a loyal consumer base and probably a dash of luck here and there.