Love a classic and hate to change? You definitely aren't alone. Take a look at some of the oldest hunting and fishing brands still relevant today.
There are many outdoor brands out there that have stood the test of time. Of those few, only a handful have found ways to stay near the front of the pack.
Outdoorsmen love their brands and often develop a cult-like following to them. How often do we hear "I only fish with (insert your favorite brand of lures here)" or "I wouldn't shoot a firearm unless it was made by (insert your favorite firearm manufacturer here)". We hear this all the time.
It's true that we all love a classic and tend to stick with them, so here is a list of some of the oldest outdoor brands still being enjoyed by outdoorsmen today.
Note that this is a subjective list and is not a preferential order or ranking. Each brand is categorized as being old for its specific industry and its impact on the outdoor world.
About the company: While not the world's oldest firearm manufacturer still in production, Remington has been a staple in the industry since its inception in 1816. From feats like creating the first American autoloading shotgun in 1906, designing the legendary Model 700 bolt-action rifle in 1962, and becoming an industry leader in ammunition production in the last several decades, Remington has solidified itself as one of, if not the most, successful firearm manufacturer in history.
Impact: There is no way to put a number on how many ducks, rabbits, and turkeys have been bagged with a Remington 870 shotgun. What hunter hasn't shot one, even if it was just in a buddy's backyard? It is also probably safe to assume that more whitetails have been shot with a Remington Model 700 rifle than any other. There is obviously no way to obtain this data, but Remington has consistently stayed at the top in terms of popularity with hunters and it doesn't seem like they are slowing down any time soon.
About the company: The Bear Archery company was started in 1933 by its namesake, the legendary Fred Bear. Bear believed that archery should be accessible to everybody and that bowhunting was a lifestyle that could be enjoyed by anyone. While the early company built traditional archery equipment, it would be decades before the first compound bow would be introduced. Now here we are, many decades later, and Bear Archery is still producing some of the highest quality archery equipment out there.
Impact: Bow shops or outdoor retail stores that don't carry Bear Archery products are few and far between. Bear has become a popular choice for compound bowhunters and has a tight hold on the traditional hunting population. Bear Archery has also partnered with some of the most popular figures in outdoor entertainment including Fred Eichler and The Hunting Public. And in a world of increasing prices for quality products, Bear Archery is still fulfilling its duty to the public by providing quality bow lines at an affordable price.
About the company: Like many other successful companies, Rapala was born out of pure passion. Lauri Rapala started carving fishing lures from cork in 1936 that would later go on to change the way people fished with artificial lures. And since Rapala first made it to the United States in 1959, these balsa wood fishing lures have taken over the fishing world. They are now sold in over 140 countries and have been responsible for millions of fish catches across the globe.
Impact: Rapala fishing lures, like many other classic brands, can be found in just about any store that sells sporting goods. They have even made the successful dive into designing and producing other fishing gear like knives, storage, and lure accessories. Rapala is also very visible in mainstream fishing media and touts a high profile pro staff that includes Mike Iaconelli, Brandon Palaniuk, and Gerald Swindle. If these guys trust and rely on Rapala, shouldn't everybody?
Mossy Oak and Realtree
About the companies: Mossy Oak and Realtree were both started in 1986 by Toxey Haas and Bill Jordan, respectively. Both companies started with just one licensed pattern apiece and have grown substantially since that time. Both stemming from the south, Mossy Oak based in Mississippi and Realtree in Georgia, their patterns had a primary focus of big, southern bottomland woods. Over the years both companies have grown their camo lines and offer premium patterns for all situations and all regions of the country.
Impact: There are plenty of camo producers out there but two stand high above the rest. There were a few other camo patterns out before Mossy Oak and Realtree stepped on the scene but it was quickly apparent that these two brands would be on top for a while. If you were to go into a sporting goods store and interview every person in there on which camo they prefer it would definitely be a mixed view. Some folks even like to sport both companies at the same time! When it comes to the camo industry, it is hard to mention one without also giving credit to the other.
There is nothing wrong with sticking to classic brands, mainly because they are proven. Every company on this list should not be remembered just for the products that they produced but also by the impact they've had on the outdoor community. Conservation, hunter and angler recruitment, and the outdoor's public image have all been boosted by the companies mentioned here and none of them seem to be in danger of giving up the spotlight anytime too soon.
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