Only a year old, 56° North is an outdoor retailer partnered with a wilderness adventure tour company, offering jet boat tours of the neighboring Tongass National Forest. The locally owned store in Wrangell, Alaska, features Alaskan essential adventurewear and gear.
“It’s like a kickback to the Hudson Bay trading era,” Leslie says.
Getting 80 to 100 inches of rain a year, 56° North sells a lot of drybags and packs. Its focus is selling well-built, multifunctional products with practical applications. “Our customers don’t mind spending a little more on a product, as long as it’s going to last,” Leslie says. Patagonia and Hydro Flask are big sellers. “We could probably have almost a whole store of Hydro Flasks,” she notes. “It’s hard to keep them on the shelves.”
In the next year Leslie looks forward to expanding into other areas of practical adventure gear and helping educate people on how to properly prepare for their outdoor adventures in Alaska.
What new gear are you most excited about so far?
1. Riteline Gear The Door Stop
“It’s lightweight, convenient, and practical [to help people access roof boxes on their cars]. It can fit on any car and it’s definitely something people in Alaska would use.”
2. Shower Pass National Geographic Waterproof Sock
“They’re in the $30 to $40 price range and absolutely waterproof. I mean, go put your hand in there—it’s crazy!”
3. NeverWet Fabric Water Repelling DWR
“You can pour it on your footwear or apparel and make a waterproof surface. It’s really impressive how impermeable it is.”
4. Knog PWR Modular Flashlight
“It can even power a cell phone. You can buy attachments for it, like a 900-lumen light. I love how versatile and buildable it is.”
5. OtterBox Venture
“It’s really well-made and versatile. There’s even a cutting board built in and dividers—there are a lot of options.”
This article was originally published in Day 2 of The Daily (summer 2018).