Pelland Blog

Yes, It’s Still Made in the USA

July 3rd, 2024

A few years ago, I wrote about companies with lifetime product warranties. As more and more “American” businesses have moved their production overseas in search of lower labor costs, many of those warranties have either been eliminated or seriously watered down. Soon after I wrote that article, two companies on my list – L.L. Bean and Lands’ End – abandoned their long-standing unconditional warranty policies. Many companies blame consumer abuse of their warranties, but the fact is that it is difficult to stand behind a product that is outsourced to factories in China where corners are cut in order to reduce costs and remain price-competitive. On the other hand, there are companies that have steadfastly maintained their domestic manufacturing, like Buck Knives in Idaho and Darn Tough Socks in Vermont, and who still stand behind rock-solid warranties.

In addition to the quality of the products, there are reasons for seeking out products that are Made in the USA. Despite artificial intelligence and automation breathing down the necks of so many workers today, if people do not have dependable jobs and reliable sources of income, guess what? … they cannot afford camping vacations!

The Biden Administration recently announced that 100% tariffs would be imposed upon Chinese electric vehicles (EVs), a critical industry that needs to be protected from foreign government-subsidized competition that is intended to monopolize global markets. Before you think that Chinese EVs are not being sold in the United States, think twice. If you are a Costco member, the Costco Auto Program is selling the 2024 Polestar 2 EV. A Swedish company with offices around the world, Polestar’s EVs are manufactured by Geely in China. Though not electric vehicles, Ford is also manufacturing its Lincoln Nautilus SUV in China, and General Motors is doing the same with its Buick Envision SUV.

I recently went into The Home Depot to buy a simple brass garden hose nozzle. I didn’t want one of those nozzles with all of the dials and doodads that break after a few uses, but the only brass nozzle was made in China. Some people might jump at the low price, but I decided to do my research, and I found that a company called Orr Screw Machines, Inc., located just outside of Pittsburgh, is manufacturing ORRCO hose nozzles that are 100% sourced, manufactured and assembled in the USA. Not surprisingly, they have the highest consumer rating of any similar products on Amazon. I now own two of them!

With all this in mind, I have attempted to compile a list of products that are made in the USA or Canada that you probably use in your business and may want to consider when making your next purchase. Many might even be items that can be sold in your campground store. Yes, quality may cost more, but reliable domestic manufacturing is always your best bet in the long run. Fortunately, many of the items that are routinely purchased by campgrounds are large and bulky and have always been manufactured here at home.          

The List

STIHL: Stihl was founded in Germany, which is also noted for its manufacturing quality. When I bought my Stihl chainsaw, it was still made in Germany, with only the bar made in the USA. Serious loggers and tree maintenance crews will only be seen carrying the distinctive orange saws. Today, nearly the entire line of Stihl gasoline-powered outdoor tools are made in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

TEKNOR APEX: Neverkink RV / Marine water hoses carry lifetime guarantees and are manufactured in plants in 8 American cities. Sold in Ace Hardware, Camping World, Lowes, The Home Depot, True Value and many other retail locations.

UNITED CHARGERS: If you own an EV or want to provide charging options to guests, their Grizzl-E no-nonsense chargers are built to last and made in Canada. (I know, I own a Grizzl-E Avalanche!)

LEATHERMAN TOOLS: From Tim Leatherman’s original multi-tool in 1983, the company has expanded into an extensive line of knives and multi-tools that put the Swiss army knives to shame. Essentially a toolbox that fits in your pocket, glove compartment or accessory sheath, Leatherman Tools have been built in Portland, Oregon since day one. Not surprisingly, the products carry a 25-year warranty.

MAGLITE: The full line of Maglite flashlights is reliably made in Ontario, California.

GENERAC: The leading name in standby power supplies, portable generators, and solar battery storage manufactures 100% of its products from its factories in Wisconsin.

KITCHENAID: Since 1915, it has been no secret that KitchenAid mixers have been the best you can buy. They are manufactured at the company’s main plant in Greenville, Ohio. If you are in the area, take a factory tour!

TIBOR REELS: If you are a fly-fishing enthusiast, you are familiar with Tibor Reels. Each reel is still hand made in the company’s Delray Beach, Florida plant and carries a lifetime warranty.

BATTERY MART: This online retailer sells over 300 different types of batteries, as well as accessories such as jumper cables, that are all American made. Brands include Energizer, Big Crank, Deka and Odyssey.

DURA-BILT: RV awnings, screen rooms, and related products all manufactured in Pennsylvania.

ROGUE: Founded in a garage in 2006, Rogue has grown into one of the most respected international names in the manufacturing of a wide range of fitness equipment and barbells. Based in Columbus, Ohio, the company sets the standard for what Made in the USA means.

SUN DOLPHIN: Paddleboats, paddleboards, kayaks, and other small watercraft made in Michigan.

ALUMIDOCK: Long-lasting, maintenance-free aluminum docks and related products, all made in New York.

RESQME: This is the original emergency car escape tool that mounts on a keychain. The 2-in-1 tool is a seatbelt cutter and window breaker. Made in California, their products can be found at Walmart, Costco, and other retailers.

DULUTH TRADING COMPANY: The company’s Best Made collection of work boots and clothing are all made in Minnesota.

DULUTH PACK: Speaking of Minnesota, Duluth Pack sells an extensive line of American bison leather, American cowhide leather, wool and canvas products made in Minnesota.

RED WING SHOE COMPANY: Red Wing boots have been made in Minnesota since 1905. The company even has a repair department that will restore a trusty pair of boots to like-new condition.

LODGE: The highest quality cast iron skillets and cookware are all made in South Pittsburg, Tennessee.

ORIGINAL SHERMAN COOKERS: The Original Sherman Cookers and fire pits are built in Massachusetts, from primarily domestic components. Built to last, they carry a lifetime warranty.

PHELPS HONEY WAGON: Portable sewage disposal units built in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania.

GERBER TABLES: Picnic tables, park benches, bicycle racks and more, made from wood, metal, and recycled plastic, manufactured in Wisconsin.

My apologies to the many companies that have not been included in this list, due to space limitations, particularly companies that specialize in serving the outdoor hospitality industry. Of course, just about every RV, cabin, glamping tent, camping pod, Conestoga wagon and yurt is built in either the United States or Canada. The trick is to go online, search for a product that you would like to purchase, then add the words “made in USA”. Just think. The people who are making the products that you purchase just may be your next camping guests. And wouldn’t it be nice to have one less container ship carrying goods from China hit a bridge in a major American port city?

This post was written by Peter Pelland

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