Utah-based AceCamp’s sturdy outdoor gear is up to the task.
“Our products do their job so you can enjoy the adventure,” sums up AceCamp President Michael Beverly of the Utah-based outdoor equipment’s brand mission, with over 200 different camping accessories in their catalog and growing. As we walk through the company’s packed-to-the-rafters warehouse on West Temple in South Salt Lake, Beverly points out some of their most popular items, from streamlined keychain fingernail clippers (I have one attached to my fly-fishing vest to snip line in a snap) to pricey technical equipment like top-of-the-line backpacking stoves.
It’s the type of gear that many of us take for granted when we prepare for a trip: lightweight seamless hiking socks, collapsible water containers, waterproof map sleeves, those bright yellow cushioned foldable egg cartons that do the job just right. Those were just a few of the AceCamp items I inventoried in my own garage while preparing for a recent camping trip, not even realizing they were produced by the Utah company until I started intentionally looking for the brand’s labels in my own gear stash.
Comparing the functional aspect of AceCamp’s outdoor equipment to other types of recreational gear, Beverly says that some customers may purchase something like a rain jacket or skis with a specific task in mind, “but for most people, there’s also a certain personal identity” or perceived status attached to the brand name emblazoned on clothing and other high-ticket items. Beverly acknowledges that task-oriented products like the gear from AceCamp may not have that “look at me” brand identity, “but good equipment can make or break your experience in the outdoors,” giving the example of a lightweight collapsible dishwashing bucket, where solid construction and price likely outweigh brand status for most consumers.
That’s not to say that AceCamp’s gear isn’t as attractive as it is functional. Each piece is painstakingly designed, from clever foldable multi-tools to feather-light titanium double-walled mugs. “Form follows function,” says Beverly, “but it’s all got to be the best possible iteration for that task,” which is a job that the AceCamp crew takes pretty seriously with constantly evolving research and development.
A Salt Lake City-based company since 2012, Beverly says his company’s mission is to make the best camping accessories on the market. Internationally, AceCamp has been a leader in outdoor recreation since 2000, first based in Frankfurt, Germany. With a background in outdoor equipment with other recreation-oriented businesses, Beverly was impressed with AceCamp’s role internationally and jumped at the chance to start fresh with a U.S.-based independent company model. “I worked in the outdoor-gear industry and loved living and working in Utah,” he says. “I wanted to keep and grow the company here.”
It turned out to be a perfect fit for employees who love the direct access to the outdoors as well as inspiration for product development, gear testing and recreational passions from technical rock climbing to fly fishing. Beverly notes that The Outdoor Retailers semi-annual convention held in Salt Lake City “was a huge influence on that decision, too. So many of our connections as a business have been made during OR week, and the opportunity for retailers to experience Utah’s great outdoors with our products.”
Beverly is no doubt concerned that in February 2017, Outdoor Retailer announced plans to leave Utah due to a disagreement with state leaders over their stance on public lands. The final OR show in Salt Lake City will take place in the summer of 2018.
Like many equipment companies, AceCamp outsources its manufacturing abroad. However, the company’s research, development, sales, marketing and distribution are all based in Utah. The AceCamp Utah warehouse staff oversee three product lines distributed through the United States: AceCamp outdoor equipment, “munkees” brand keychain accessories—with about 200 types incorporating design elements like bottle openers, LED lights, emergency whistles and compasses—and Kovea camp gear such as heaters, lanterns and a line of camp stoves featuring double-burner units that fold down thin as a laptop as well as multi-fuel backpacking burners designed for high-altitude environments.
Offering two sizes of isobutene canisters, 230g and 110g, the company is leading the way in targeted fuel capacity and consistent performance. There’s even a transparent fuel-level indicator canister in development phase, something that those of us who have shaken or floated a half-dozen half-used canisters looking for the “fullest one” are sure to covet.
Speaking to the advantages of having a Utah-owned business, Beverly credits Utah’s strong workforce, the state’s lower cost of living (compared to other major cities in the West), and the fact that many Utah workers are fluent in foreign languages. “Mountains, deserts—we have everything so close here for people who live an outdoors lifestyle,” he says.
Although the warehouse is not set up for commercial walk-in sales, AceCamp products are available online and at most Utah outdoors retailers.
2275 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84115
Acecamp Products Include
1. Rain Poncho 2. Laminated Folding Basin 3. Silver Emergency Blanket
4. Vinyl Ground Sheet 5. Survivor Multi Shovel 6. Collapsible Stove 7. Double Wall Cup
8. Tritan Water Bottle 9. Starlight Multitool 10. Folding Map Compass With Mirror
11. Watertight Map Case 12. High-Efficiency Pot 13. Ultra Light 3 Led Headlamp 14. Flamesticks
15. 3 Led Dynamo Flashlight 16. Water Filter Straw 17. Led Tent Lamp 18. Accordion Jerry Can