Outland Adventure Gear – Your local source for all your high-quality outdoor gear.
Outland Adventure Gear has quietly carved out a reputation for providing high-quality outdoor gear for the Ontario climbing community. We caught up with Outland Adventure Gear owner Ray Brandt and discussed his favourite gear, climbing in Squamish and sponsoring numerous Southern Ontario climbing events.
So, what prompted you to open an outdoor gear shop?
Outland Adventure Gear: I'm a gearhead at heart. Growing up in Vancouver, MEC and Taiga were regular stops on our way to the mountains. I was lucky to have what most would call a great career in a corporate job for the last 20 years, but have realized that the cubicle-farm lifestyle was not for me.
The shop’s name suggests that you sell more than just climbing hardware. What other items/brands do you sell?
Outland Adventure Gear: We are sticking to hiking, camping and climbing gear for the most part. In addition to Rab, Black Diamond and Sterling Rope, we sell Primus Stoves and GSI Outdoors. We're always looking for new lines that offer innovative products with the best bang-for-the-buck.
Outland Adventure Gear
Currently the shop is an online store. Are there any plans for a brick-and-mortar location?
Outland Adventure Gear: Yes. I do not have an exact date yet, but I love the idea of a community type store where you can go and get great gear and also talk to people who know local routes and conditions.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your outdoor experience?
Outland Adventure Gear: I spent the first 20 years of my life out on the ocean and exploring the mountains along the Sea to Sky Corridor. Most of my time was hiking and skiing, and I didn't get into rock climbing until my early-20s when spent a couple of summers climbing in the Squamish area. I am a true 80-percenter – I am not super-great at any one specific thing, but love climbing, hiking, mountain biking and paddleboarding. I like to try something new every year so this year I'll be getting into kiteboarding. If you see someone flying through the air holding onto a kite and wearing a Speedo, that will be me!
Outland Adventure Gear owner Ray Brant getting ready to climb some ice.
You’ve been quietly supporting the local climbing community. Care to share some of the projects with which you’ve been involved?
Outland Adventure Gear: Early on we were involved with the University Bouldering Series (UBS). We have also sponsored quite a few of the climbing comps at specific universities as well as Climb for Cancer, the Beaver Valley Climbing Festival and the Southern Ontario Ice Festival.
What have been some of the challenges and highlights with opening an outdoor shop?
Outland Adventure Gear: Initially it was time. I had a busy career and two young kids so getting to everything was a challenge. Now I'm dealing with the typical challenges of running a new business.
Some of the great Rab clothing available at Outland Adventure Gear.
What are some of the brands and items that you sell that may be hard to find at other outdoor retailers?
Outland Adventure Gear: Rab and Lowe Alpine seem to be tough for people to find. We will be adding Totem Cams shortly. One of our strengths is that we do quite a few special orders with the brands we carry. So if there is a specific model, size or colour that we don’t have, we're happy to chase it down.
What was your favourite piece of gear from the past year?
Outland Adventure Gear: The Ultralight Cams from Black Diamond and the Rab Alpha Direct Jacket.
And finally, any climbing plans for the upcoming season?
Outland Adventure Gear: To climb a lot! I will be working on my trad climbing this year and will be up at Lion's Head quite a bit.
You can find out more about Outland Adventure Gear at at http://www.outlandadventuregear.ca/