SNEWS is specialty outdoor retail.

When we report and write our stories, there is always one question we ask: “How does it affect the specialty outdoor retailer?” These retailers — from REI in Anchorage, Alaska to Wild Iris Mountain Sports in Lander, Wyo. — are the lifeblood to the industry. Many of today’s household outdoor brand names owe their success to the hard work of knowledgeable and passionate outdoor retailers spreading the gospel of why the right gear matters.

SNEWS has covered hundreds, if not thousands, of outdoor retail stories. We’ve had our go-to sources like Dawson Wheeler of Rock Creek or Jennifer Mull at Backwoods, but we know the landscape is much larger — there are so many others. We asked around if there was a complete directory of specialty outdoor retailers, but couldn’t find one. Sure, there are top 100 rankings, trade-show attendee rosters, association directories and plenty of brand lists, but nothing focuses on the complete collection of specialty outdoor retailers. So we set out to create it.

Our 2015 directory (available for purchase and download below) is truly specialty outdoor retail. We wanted a list that embodied specialty outdoor retailers — those selling at least the core outdoor products of backpacks, tents and sleeping bags. Apparel- and/or footwear-only stores or strictly ski or paddle shops are not included. We also drew the line at businesses like Dick’s Sporting Goods or Cabela’s, which play more in the sporting goods and hunting/fishing markets, respectively. That isn’t to say we won’t eventually include these outliers, but we had to start somewhere.

Our directory includes store name, address, phone number and website for every shop we located in the United States that met our criteria for specialty outdoor retail. We also included store email addresses and owner names for those that were public. The directory is presented in Microsoft Excel spreadsheet format and sortable by the above categories. (Click below for an example of the directory.) Also, important to note, this is a human-researched list that our staff spent more than a year working on. We scoured each retailer’s website and called if necessary to verify information.


The list of 1,093 individual outdoor specialty storefronts is an eye-opener. While many think that the likes of REI (with 139 locations), EMS (66) and Sports Chalet (50) dominate the playing field, the sum of all the smaller outdoor shops (838) significantly outnumber the big boys. It’s extra work for brands and reps to reach out to the individual shops, but the rewards can be greater. We hope this lists helps to re-establish connections and relationships. Many of these retailers make up a large chunk of SNEWS readership. Stay tuned to SNEWS for more coverage on the directory — its numbers and the stories behind the industry’s greatest asset.

The 2015 SNEWS outdoor specialty retailer store directory is available for purchase for $500. All major credit cards and PayPal are accepted. After completing the transaction, and the optional request to sign up for PayPal (click ‘No Thanks’ to decline), you will be instructed to “Return to Active Interest Media” (parent to SNEWS) to download the file, which is in Microsoft Excel format. If you have any issues, please email [email protected]

Copyright 2015 - The contents of this directory are meant for the sole use of its buyer. No resale, redistribution, or repurposing is allowed without the written consent of SNEWS.