You may have seen the recognizable hex nut logo of Mountain Hardwear at your local outdoor store. They are everywhere these days and one of the most recognizable brands in outdoor and camping gear. Mountain Hardwear got started back in 1993 in Richmond, California (where their headquarters still is today) by a few former employees of Sierra Designs, another popular camping gear manufacturer. They saw a need to serve outdoor athletes which continues to be their mantra today and they even sponsor several high profile alpine athletes. Mountain Hardwear started out making outdoor apparel then quickly expanded to tents, backpacks, sleeping bags, and lots of other outdoor equipment. Just 10 years after their founding, Mountain Hardwear was acquired by Columbia Sportswear in 2003 which continues to be their parent company today. So, the question remains – is any Mountain Hardwear gear actually made in the USA? We did the research to find out. Our verdict is below.
Verdict: Is Mountain Hardwear Made in the USA?
No, Mountain Hardwear is not made in the USA. Most of their gear is made in Vietnam, China, and other Asian countries. The same goes for their parent company, Columbia Sportswear.
Columbia is an absolutely massive operation so it doesn’t surprise me that they absorbed Mountain Hardwear into their outsourced production system that is mostly overseas after they bought the company in 2003. However, it is disappointing that this trend of eliminating American jobs and moving overseas for cheaper labor and materials continues in the outdoor gear industry.
It is somewhat comforting that Columbia and Mountain Hardwear are transparent about where their factories are located, which many companies do not share these days. On their transparency map, we see that the company operates:
- 348 factories
- In 22 countries
- Employing 403,034 workers
However, only 10 of those factories (2.9%) are in the U.S., employing just 676 American workers (we couldn’t find any of them producing Mountain Hardwear gear).
The majority of their production happens in China (113 factories), Vietnam (107 factories), India (30 factories), and Indonesia (19 factories).
Each factory that they list in their directory has an ID number associated with it that you can use to identify where any of their gear or clothing is made. For example, here is the care label on a Mountain Hardwear dry-fit shirt.
The factory ID is the number in the top right corner of the label. Using their map data, I plugged in “923” and found this factory is in the Dong Thap Province of Vietnam.
This map is great and all I guess, but where Mountain Hardwear and Columbia fall short is providing this type of transparency in their online stores. The country of origin is nowhere to be found on any of their product pages. Sure, you can go to the store and look at the label, but with the amount of people shopping online these days this lack of transparency feels like a big miss for a company that preaches it.
Anyways, I think you can do a lot better than Mountain Hardwear when it comes to getting outdoor gear. Below is some of the research we’ve done on camping gear and make sure to check out our clothing research too.
Popular American Made Mountain Hardwear Gear
- None that we could find
Popular Mountain Hardwear Gear Not Made in the USA
- Ghost Whisperer jackets
- Mt Eyak jackets and vests
- Basin Trek Pant
- Mineral King tents
- JMT backpacks
- Phantom sleeping bags