Winter coat

I am a lucky girl and my mom got me a new warm coat for my birthday last month. I needed something warm and sturdy to wear carrying in firewood and such chores that other coats can’t handle.

Carhartt makes a few of their coats in the USA, union made by UFCW (my very union!)

http://www.carhartt.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10101&storeId=10051&productId=32132&langId=-1

I picked light brown but they have black, blue, etc. This one is lined and has a hood, it’s very warm. It is men’s sizes only on this coat, but the small fits great with room for layers underneath. The waist and arm cuffs are tight and cozy.

Luckily this arrived in the mail the day before a blizzard, during the Get Out the Vote effort on the election, so the timing was perfect. So I can say I have tested it and the flannel lining is amazing and warm.

Thanks, mom!

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Tires

Buying union made in the USA tires is simple but a little time consuming. Tires are a big purchase so it’s great to make sure I’m investing in good union jobs.

United Steel Workers (USW) represents the workers at a number of tire plants in the US.  As with many items, it’s all about tracing the tires to which plant they were actually made at.

I take my car to Don Foshay’s in Hallowell, and Chris there was fantastic at helping me find union made tires– thank you Chris!

I went online and printed off this list off this list from USW. What’s great is that each tire has a DOT number, and that number includes letters that signify exactly where they were made.

I faxed this to Chris at Don Foshay’s, Chris faxed it to his warehouse, made a couple of calls, found the tires that fit my Ford Focus, and ordered them.  They were on my car within a couple days.

I got B.F. Goodrich tires and they are great. What a difference a good pair of tires makes.

Camping gear: sleeping mats and pillows

I have been investing in good camping gear over the past few years, since camping is one of my favorite activities.

My sleeping mat is made by Therm-a-Rest and was made in the USA. Mine is a few years old, but I believe many are still made in the USA while some of their products are made in Ireland.

I also invested in Therm-a-Rest pillows that are made in the USA. These fold down into small sacks but poof out to make decent pillows. These two items do the trick for backpacking but also getting a good night’s sleep.

I got both my mat and the pillow from the wonderful folks at Epic Sports in Bangor, my favorite outdoor gear story. Brad Ryder and his crew at Epic Sports are knowledgeable and helpful and they have a huge selection of outdoor gear for all sports and activities.

Andy’s sleeping mat had a hole in it, so he was looking for one a few months ago when we stopped at Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) in Portland.   It turns out EMS makes their own brand of sleeping mats that are made in the USA. It’s the “Siesta” sleeping pad.  He is a handful of camping trips in with it so far and he likes it. http://www.ems.com/product/index.jsp?productId=29113206

Made in the USA sleeping mats and pillows for this camping crew

Made in the USA sleeping mats and pillows for this camping crew

 

 

Running shirts

When you go to an event and there is a tee shirt, it is almost always the cheapest made and it is imported.
You can imagine my excitement when I got my shirt for the “Polar Bear Tri” on May 3rd in Brunswick and I discovered it was in fact made in the USA.

Turns out the company is Atayne and their running gear is made in the USA.

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I like the fabric, really light weight and breathable. I also like the cut, very comfortable.

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Socks

Socks are the gateway drug to buying Made in the USA clothes. There are lots of opportunities, with many companies that manufacture socks in America.

My favorite are Darn Tough from Vermont. They last great. (You can pick up a pair from Brad and the crew at Epic Sports in downtown Bangor.)

Wigwam socks are great, a go-to for a thick warm winter sock, and I think they have lots of other types.

I get cute Goodhew socks from Summer at Valentine Footwear in Bangor.

Another option is Smartwool. I used to see imported Smartwool socks, but lately I have checked and most of the Smartwool I see has “Made in the USA” on the label.

I’ve been wearing Thorlo running socks and they are so comfortable.

For the Baxter hiking trip I purchased two pairs of wicking liner socks from Fox River, but as I recall not all of their socks are made in the USA so be sure to check.

Lamey Wellehan shoe stores across Maine carry many of these brands.

So, it may be hard to get into wearing made in the USA from head to toe, but jumping in feet first is easy.

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Jeans- Lucky

Okay, first off, ordering jeans online is a very difficult thing to do, I get that.  I took the risk and it actually worked out.

I saw that Lucky Brand Jeans are making some of their jeans in the US. My favorite pair of Levi’s that I wear almost every day are looking pretty sad, so I had to take the plunge and buy a new pair.

Lucky for me (pun intended) the Made in the USA pair I wanted to try was on sale for $40 off! That made a big difference as they are pretty pricy. I would suggest watching the site for sales like that.

I ordered the wrong size the first time, but got it right the second try.jeans

I bought the Lolita Boot Cut and I like them alot.  I read online that the denim is made in NC and the jeans are made in TN and CA.

 

https://www.luckybrand.com/lolita-boot/7W11842-P.html?dwvar_7W11842-P_color=420#qo=lolita+boot+made+in+the+usa&dwvar_7W11842-P_color=420&cgid=&start=1

Headlamp

I had an LL Bean headlamp for several years but it never worked well. The end would fall off, and it would often not turn on at all until I whacked it a few times.  Finally, the end fell off and I couldn’t find it, and so it was time.

I went online and found Princeton Tec. They make their headlamps in the U.S., in New Jersey. According to this article, 90% of their product is made in the U.S.

headlampI got the “Princeton Tec Remix Headlight Black with Red” and we went on our inaugural trip to Baxter State Park in March. It has multiple settings including red which is great.

Backpack

In anticipation of our winter hike into Baxter State Park, my sidekick Andy went online to find a backpack to pack in our gear.

After looking high and low for a Made in the USA pack, he stumbled upon one made right here in Maine, down in Biddeford, by a company called Hyperlite.

It’s very light weight and super water proof. He loved hiking in with it and he fit all of his gear into it. Great pockets and straps on the outside added capacity for water bottles, snow shoes, etc.

pack 2

pack 1

Baked Beans

In my house growing up, supper most Saturdays was baked beans and red hot dogs on buttery toasted buns.  Best meal ever. b&m

B&M Baked Beans are made in Portland, Maine by the good men and women of the Bakers union (BCTGM), Local 334.

Most Portlanders know of the factory just off Tukey’s bridge. I was lucky enough to get a tour of the plant a few years ago. The workers were friendly and they patiently answered my nonstop enthusiastic questions.

They cook the beans in HUGE pots, and they get mustard and molasses in such bulk you would be amazed.  It’s pretty heavenly.

They also make the brown bread there.  All the fixings for a classic hearty Maine meal.