Outdoors Industry Shines During Coronavirus Pandemic

Companies throughout the outdoors industry offer support by repurposing manufacturing facilities amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Outdoors Industry Shines During Coronavirus Pandemic

Medical workers thank Federal Premium for the donation of respiration masks as the company pulls from its manufacturing resources to help during the COVID-19 crisis. (Photo: Federal)

The outdoor industry is driven by people with passion. It’s an industry of people embracing their enjoyment of the natural world and sharing it with others through innovative products and services. The passion that brings us together forms a tight-knit community of like-minded people — the type of people who are always willing to lend a hand.

The challenges our country is facing from COVID-19 have led to the scarcity of essential supplies like face masks and other PPE for medical professionals. But the outdoors industry has stepped up, and companies are using their resources to retool, reconfigure and respond with the equipment our first responders need to protect themselves while serving others.

One example is Alpine Innovations. Since the early 2000s, Alpine Innovations has been manufacturing outdoor products designed to solve common challenges faced by outdoor enthusiasts. Staying true to what has kept them successful, they are now producing a new product to help solve a common challenge presented from coronavirus. In an effort to help keep the public safe, Alpine has substituted all manufacturing of outdoor gear to focus production on the new Alpine Patriot mask.

The Patriot mask is a 2-layer antibacterial face mask made for medical professionals and the general public. Designed from polyester and antimicrobial fabric, it is washable and reusable for up to 200 cycles while remaining anti-bacterial. The 2-layer design provides access between layers for additional filtration fabric if desired. A one-size-fits-most design allows universal fit for adults, and youth sizes are available upon request. 

Another company recognizing the need for supplies and stepping up is Otis Technology, a manufacturer of firearm cleaning kits, equipment and supplies. In light of the current pandemic, the company has teamed with Saint Lawrence Spirits to make, bottle and distribute hand sanitizer to first responders in need.

In addition, Otis began using its facilities to manufacture personal protective equipment instead of its usual firearm maintenance equipment. Together, they have produced or procured hand sanitizer, face shields, facemasks and shoe covers for those fighting the virus on the front lines. Having already donated hand sanitizer and eye shields to several localities in close proximity to their headquarters, Otis is now using its logistics avenues to get supplies into the hands of those who need it most. 

Moving forward, Otis will continue to work with local authorities and customers to monitor requests and determine if they are able to expand their offering of essential items that are in short supply.

Keeping Employees Working

Other businesses have seen manufacturing healthcare supplies as a way to not only help in the fight against coronavirus, but keep employees working.

The Stormy Kromer factory in Ironwood, Michigan, recently switched production from its iconic cotton-lined flannel hats to any PPE useful to local hospitals. Workers have been producing masks, hospital gowns, booties and any other PPE requested within their ability. By doing so, Stormy Kromer is keeping personnel employed and is joining a group of other Michigan manufacturers who have stepped up for the cause. After working through the weekend on the design, workers began production of about 1,000 masks and continue to manufacture more every day with hospital gown production to begin shortly. Company engineers are also working to design booties and other products requested by the hospitals they are supplying.

Companies like Radians, a manufacturer of PPE, eyewear and hearing protection designed for hunting and shooting sports, were already manufacturing useful items and have donated over 14,000 N95 masks to local hospitals in the Memphis, Tennessee, area.

We see more examples each day of industry leaders redirecting their passion for the outdoors to chip in for the cause. Even companies like Federal Ammunition that don't specifically produce PPE or healthcare supplies have found a way to do their part. Federal has reallocated N95 masks from their equipment inventory to donate to local hospitals.

Another example is the Remington Arms facility in Ilion, New York. A required shutdown of the factory has stopped firearm production and laid off 800 workers. The 1 million-square-foot factory that has produced firearms for more than 200 years was offered by Remington as an industrial facility available for manufacturing ventilators, surgical masks, hospital beds or any other medical device or product needed to help combat coronavirus.


Pradco Fishing employees in the company's Fort Smith, Arkansas, facility making hand sanitizer for donation.
Pradco Fishing employees in the company's Fort Smith, Arkansas, facility making hand sanitizer for donation.

Fishing Pitching In, Too

The fishing industry is doing its part to chip in, too, with Pradco Outdoor Brands dedicating resources to serve medical communities in Alabama, Arkansas and Oklahoma with donations of much-needed medical equipment.

Pradco Fishing engineers designed tooling and molds to create products currently being manufactured to give to area hospitals, clinics and nursing homes. Tooling and molds for these were created in Pradco Fishing’s tool room.

Pradco Fishing employees are manufacturing face shields, frames and hand sanitizer. The frames are being molded from XT plastic material. The face shields are being formed out of plastic sheets. The frames and shields were designed in a collaborative effort with personnel at Baptist Health in Fort Smith.



Pradco Fishing employees with hand sanitizer and face shields created in the company's lure manufacturing facility in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Pradco Fishing employees with hand sanitizer and face shields created in the company's lure manufacturing facility in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

The hand sanitizer is 75 percent isopropyl alcohol antiseptic and is being bottled on the Yum bait attractant line. It is being made according to the Food and Drug Administration’s Temporary Policy for Preparation of Certain Alcohol Based Sanitizer Products During the Public Health Emergency (COVID-19).

“I’m so proud of our employees for quickly figuring out how to get these needed items into production,” said Bruce Stanton, PRADCO Fishing’s Vice President and General Manager. “There is a heart to serve here, and we’ve had so many folks give time and effort to this undertaking. There is something to be said for having the entire organization from top to bottom under one roof. We control most aspects of our manufacturing processes, so when it’s time to go, we can go in a hurry. It definitely feels good to be able to do something good right now.”

The Yum hand sanitizer is being delivered in 50-count boxes. The Booyah frames and face shields will be delivered with 20 frames and 40 shields in each box.

Pradco Hunting is also donating much-needed items. Vice President and General Manager Bart Stephens said his company is procuring 50,000 face masks, most of which will be given to hospitals, clinics and other places of need in the Birmingham, Alabama, area.

Stanton said Pradco Fishing will be able to make more hand sanitizer if it can get more materials.

“Right now, isopropyl is in high demand and short supply. If we can get more drums of it, we can make more hand sanitizer to give away. We are also in need of 4 oz. or 6 oz. pump spray bottles. If anyone wants to do some good and make donations of these items, they can e-mail us at info@lurenet.com.”

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