Darby Communications is proud to represent many outdoor industry legacy brands. As 2022 approaches, a number of our brands are celebrating 50, 100, and even 120+ years in business. These companies have shaped the outdoor industry and consumer preference trends for decades while inspiring new brands to follow in their footsteps.
Maintaining relevance for 50+ years requires the ability to adapt to the changing consumer landscape while striking a balance between heritage and innovation. So, we thought we’d take a trip down memory lane and honor these reputable companies who have brought outdoor gear into our homes for over half a century!
Morakniv, Founded in 1891
For generations, Morakniv has been part of the Swedish handicraft tradition, designing and manufacturing knives in Mora, Sweden since 1891. By 1905, Morakniv produced over 19,000 knives annually, as word of their impressive craftsmanship spread across Europe.
Nowadays, Mora knives are relied upon by tradespeople, adventurers, and survivalists all over the world, as they are built to endure the toughest conditions and tasks. From the legendary red-stained, birch-handled Classic series to the robust designs of the Garberg and Kansbol, Morakniv has a knife for every person and every situation. Need a hook knife for wood carving, a steak knife for cutting into a ribeye, or a bushcrafting knife for batoning? Morakniv has it all!
Old Town, Founded in 1898
As the oldest watercraft maker in the United States, Old Town has been crafting boats on the banks of the Penobscot River for more than 123 years. Inspired by the hand-made birchbark canoes of the Penobscot Nation, A.E. Wicket began building his first wood-and-canvas canoe behind Gray’s Hardware Store in Old Town, ME…and the rest, as they say, is history!
Over the past century, Old Town has grown into a staple of many anglers, paddlers, and vacationers’ on-the-water experiences. While the ever-popular iconic green and red canoes continue to anchor its lineup of watercrafts, innovations in Old Town’s angling kayaks are pushing the boundaries of hands-free kayak fishing. From touring canoes to fishing kayaks with integrated Minn-Kota trolling motors (complete with Spot-Lock technology), Old Town combines a heritage of craftsmanship with an eye for cutting-edge innovation and design.
Sierra Designs, Founded in 1965
Sierra Designs was founded in 1965 on the premise that all people deserve to have good gear for exploring the outdoors, regardless of their background or experience level. While much has changed over the last 57 years, the award-winning camping equipment manufacturer continues to stick by this ethos, creating gear that is functional, beautiful, and most importantly, attainable.
From classic designs like the 60/40 Parka and Clip Flashlight 2p, to innovative yet approachable favorites like the Flex Capacitor and Cloud 800, Sierra Designs is one of the most celebrated makers in the industry. Swift Clips, 2-person ultralight tents, and DriDown technology are all outdoor gear innovations pioneered by Sierra Designs! Based in Broomfield, CO, and beloved around the globe, Sierra Designs continues to encourage folks to Think Outside.
Slumberjack, Founded in 1958
Who says roughing it has to be uncomfortable? Since 1958, Slumberjack has been the go-to for getting a good night’s sleep under the stars. Families would pile into their Cadillac Coupe Devilles or Rambler Ambassadors and head outdoors with Slumberjack sleeping bags in tow!
Much like Rome, the brand’s reputation for the finest quality outdoor sleeping systems wasn’t built in a day and originates from a commitment to three principles: intelligent design, quality materials, and uncompromising craftsmanship. From backpacking and family camping to hunting and fishing, Slumberjack’s six+ decades of experience in the outdoor industry have shaped the way people enjoy a night under the stars!
UCO, Founded in 1971
1971 was a big year in American culture. Walt Disney World officially opened, Arches National Park was established, Apollo 15 astronauts cruised the lunar landscape in a rover, Frazier defeated Ali in a 15-round stunner, and UCO was founded in beautiful Redmond, WA.
UCO stands for Utility, Comfort, and Originality, and brings 50 years of innovations and manufacturing expertise to the outdoor industry. What began with the iconic UCO Candle Lantern in 1971 has grown into a leading brand in lighting and fire-starting for outdoor, home, and emergency preparedness needs.
UCO also makes a wide range of products designed with useful features that make time spent outside safer and more comfortable. From eco-friendly messware to LED lanterns and flashlights, UCO products are designed to enhance time spent outdoors.
Those Candle Lanterns that started it all…still going strong! It remains one of UCO’s most popular product categories!
Wildwater, Founded in 1971
Wildwater is a true family-owned and operated whitewater rafting outfitter. June 1971 marked Wildwater’s flagship trip down the Chattooga River, and the good times have flowed ever since! Pioneered by Jim and Jeannette Greiner, along with the help of their four kids (and now grandkids), Wildwater remains the oldest outfitter in the Southeast.
Over the past 50 years, it has expanded to include the Ocoee, Nantahala, and Pigeon Rivers. In addition to whitewater rafting, Wildwater offers zipline/canopy tours, kayak clinics, SUP and kayak lake tours, Raft & Rail excursions, Jeep tours, lodging, and more. To this day, Wildwater is recognized as one of the premier whitewater rafting leaders in the country.
To learn more about these outdoor industry legacy brands or explore our full lineup of partners, head on over to our Client page.