Local sourcing hydration packs, the Orange Mud story.
It makes us happy to get questions like "where are your packs made?" At times it seems no one cares about where a product is made, but the small few that ask leave us believing in our goal. For that we say a big "THANKS"!
In the beginning we started with our packs being made in the USA only. This worked great for time to market, high quality, design assistance, and of course creating jobs at home. The challenge with a USA only business model is quite great.
The consumer landscape for hydration is unique. The market is tight with mostly overseas competition (or all overseas I think), and though consumers don't have a problem paying $120 or more for a pair of shoes that wear out in 3 months, a pack that lasts years is looked at as an investment. So we had to become a bit more resourceful, especially to have a successful wholesale model, hence the look at our neighbors to the south in Mexico.
Our top manufacturing partner is an amazing company. They are a critical supplier to multiple divisons of the military and have an attention to detail that is second to none. We can scale USA builds with them to meet global demands, but the fact of high labor cost, health care cost, taxes, lease, and regulatory demands, means simply higher cost of building the product here at home. This is where we've found a hybridized method of building with them that helps us to ensure fantastic quality, quick time to market, and lower labor cost.
Aside from their 250 person facility here in the US, they have added manufacturing capability in their Tecate, Mexico plant with over 300 workers. Before sending work to Mexico, we prove it out with USA builds first. After that we dial in production in the USA, then shift the majority of labor to their Tecate plant. We still buy almost all materials in the USA and send to the USA plant for planning, cutting, and kitting, which is then shipped just across the border. The savings are significant and though we aren't saving what we could by going to Vietnam, Thailand, China or other places, we're still keeping a lot of dollars close to home.
So what packs are made in the USA only? Still a lot!
- Modular Gym and Tri Bag
- Messenger Bag
- Gear Hauler
- Sling Bag
- Give and Take Bag
- Gear Quiver
- Water bottles
- Mod Bags
- Most of our packs that are orange, pink, or purple.
What packs are made in the USA/Mexico hybrid?
- Endurance Pack
- HydraQuiver VP1 and VP2, black and gray only
- HydraQuiver Single and Double Barrel, black and gray only
- Handhelds in black and gray only
So that's about it! Any questions? Let us know, we love to hear from you!