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Top Outdoor Gear Stores In Connecticut

March 25, 2014 9:00 AM

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Summer Hiking
The outdoor life can be a cold, wet, uncomfortable and unsafe one – unless, of course, one is attired in the proper gear. Connecticut has many stores that provide the right clothing, footwear, hats, gloves and other gear that make hiking, camping or simply spending the day outside all that more comfortable and safe. Here are just five quality outfitters who can make a day or life in the great outdoors all that more enjoyable.

Trailblazer
296 Elm St.
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 865-6244
www.shoptrailblazer.com/Trailblazer-New-Haven

Trailblazer is a Connecticut company specializing in outdoor gear, clothing and footwear. Winner of numerous awards and repeatedly recognized for its community work, Trailblazer has grown from its original home on Elm Street in New Haven to five locations in the state and now one in Rhode Island. From cold-weather jackets to hiking boots and everything in between, Trailblazer outfits not just the adventurer but the entire family of adventurers – including kids, for whom it carries a wide variety of clothing and footwear. The company sponsors many community activities and charity events, most of which are outdoor-themed runs, walks, hikes and contests. It also donates a portion of its annual profits to environmental and ecological groups and causes, for Trailblazer understands that without a clean, safe outdoors to recreate, there would be no need for the fine products it sells.

Related: Top Spots For Hikes

ASF Sports and Outdoors
ASF Sports
1560 Post Road E.
Westport, CT 06880
(203) 255-4460

ASF Outdoors
1554 Post Road E.
Westport, CT 06880
(203) 254-9246
www.shopasf.com

A family owned and operated store that has been in business for nearly 30 years, ASF Sports and Outdoors of Westport has grown so big and so popular that it now has two stores, side by side. One is primarily sports and the other is mostly outdoor gear, but they are really just two departments of a grander enterprise – and one that now includes a logo-wear business. Whether it is running, hiking, racing, tennis, camping, lacrosse, backpacking or just general outdoor exercise, ASF can outfit the entire family from head to toe – and front to back as well. It carries many of the big name brands from Balega to Quicksilver, and also sells everything from helmets to heart rate monitors.

Ski and Sport of Ridgefield
197 Ethan Allen Highway
Ridgefield, CT 06877
(203) 438-3645
www.skiandsport.net

Ski and Sport of Ridgefield focuses on the ski and sporting side of outdoor gear, as would be expected from a store with that title, but it also carries a big selection of other clothing, footwear and gear desired by those who live at least part of their life enjoying the great outdoors. The shop even carries bicycles – and the gloves, helmets and other accessories riders need and want. From cowhide gloves to stretch pants, Ski and Sports of Ridgefield has everything the great outdoorsman could want.

Trailheads
17 Meadow St.
Kent, CT 06757
(860) 592-0088
www.trailheads.com

Twelve years ago, Stephanie and Ed Raftery got married, started a family and started a business out of their one-bedroom apartment. That business has grown from a cottage industry making ponytail hats to a grand outdoor clothing and gear store in Kent. From hats and headbands and neck warmers, the shop has expanded to carry gloves, mittens, tops and specialty items including reflective gear. While not a one-stop all-encompassing outfitter, Trailheads does carry unique and very well made high-quality items that will enhance and make safer and more comfortable any outdoors activity.

BraeVal Sporting Apparel
503 Bantam Road
Litchfield, CT 06759
(860) 482-7260
www.braeval.net

Gregor McCloskey not only sounds like the name of someone who likes the outdoors, but it is also the name of the man who founded and runs a company to help others like him do so in comfort, safety and style. Braeval Sporting Apparel in Litchfield is a comparatively small shop, but it is a quality shop, stocked with what McCloskey boasts is “the most comfortable apparel in the world.” From the extra-cut long tails and double-layered gusseted pockets in his shirts to his “Presidential Cut” Hornback Crocodile Belts, McCloskey prides himself on his proprietary fabrics, all-natural blends and “design details found nowhere else.”

Related: Best Outdoor Stores In Connecticut

Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at Examiner.com.

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