It seems as if everyone is striving to make advancements in technology and launch the latest and greatest new gadget. However, there’s one area of life that just hasn’t seemed to make the same leaps and bounds as the rest of the world: the outdoors. Sure, companies in the fields of hunting, fishing, camping, hiking and the like have made great advancements in products for outdoor enthusiasts. But everything about enjoying the outdoors still comes back to its roots. Duck hunters have used decoys for hundreds of years. Fisherman have been using a line and bait for ages. Hikers have been using a trusty compass even longer. Of course, duck decoys have improved. We have all sorts of new fishing line and lures. We can see what direction we’re hiking by simply pressing a button on our smart phones. While all of these improvements are terrific, some things just don’t need to change. They’ve become tradition.
Take a look at outdoor retailer Filson that recently opened in the Galleria. The company started in Seattle in 1897 and was founded with the idea to outfit those who were a part of the gold rush. Soon, the focus shifted toward loggers, and then the company began to cater to the outdoor needs of just about anyone. While it continued to develop new products, Filson has stuck to its roots. Look at the Filson wool cruiser jacket. The design has been the same since the company was founded over 100 years ago. It was wildly successful back then and continues to be a well-functioning jacket today.
“We won’t deviate from what got us here,” area manager Arthur Saldana says. That theme is evident throughout the store with products made to last for many years. “We’ve seen people come in with products that have our original label on them, which dates well past the 1920s,” Saldana says while showing his own personal wax cotton jacket. Along with wool, wax cotton is another one of Filson’s signature products. Saldana says, “Filson started before we had all of these fancy fabrics like Gor-Tex, so our wax cotton jacket is what was used to stay dry, and it’s still tried and true today. These jackets are very heavy duty, and they’re perfect whether you’re on a job site or sitting in the boat.”
Edina shoppers understand a higher purchase price can equate to an overall lower cost of ownership. It’s reasonable to spend money on something that will last many years to come. Throw in a lifetime warranty and you know you’ve made a good investment for yourself or on a gift for a loved one. When it comes to the outdoors, products are often as much a part of a family’s tradition as that favorite fishing hole or hunting spot.
For example, Ted Carlson of Carlson Commercial in Edina, is an avid duck hunter. For over 25 years, Carlson has taken a trip in the middle of November to North Dakota in hopes of filling a limit. He recognizes the trip is about much more than just hunting ducks. Every year, Carlson is accompanied by his dad and brothers, which is what makes this tradition so special. “We’ve just made so many good memories over the years, whether that’s in the duck blind or just sitting around the campfire at night,” Carlson says. He can’t imagine missing this trip. “My wife likes to travel a lot, and she always wants to go on trips in November, and I keep telling her we can’t do that. November is a time to be in the woods,” he says with a chuckle.
Carlson also travels to western Wis. each September for the opener of the archery deer season. Once again, he knows the tradition is not all about bagging the biggest buck. “It’s the same thing as North Dakota, the trip is all about family and friends, that’s what makes it so special.” Hunters like Carlson know it’s nice to take home a limit of mallards, or to have some fresh venison to put on the grill. But it’s the memories of being with friends and family that last a lifetime.
Fifteen-year-old Will Hanson of Edina recognizes the importance of outdoor family traditions as well. Every Memorial Day weekend, he and his family take a trip to the end of the Gunflint trail in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area to wet a line. Will is already a successful angler. He always wants to catch the biggest fish, but he doesn’t let that overshadow the true meaning of the annual trip. “It’s a special trip because it’s just a time to get on the water and fish with my family, especially my grandpa,” says Will.
Of course, being a devoted bass fisherman like he is, Will is always eager to catch the biggest Minn. bass he’s ever caught. Without skipping a beat, he says, “I go out every day looking for that bass, and I know it could happen at any time. It’s what keeps me going back day after day.” Breaking his personal record won’t be easy, as this young angler has already caught many big fish. He showcases his success on the water on his Instagram page. Anglers and admirers can follow him at @mn.bassing to keep up with his latest catches.
While Will has been fishing since he was 4 and is fortunate to have the resources to start at such a young age, not everyone has the same opportunities. Dedicated outdoor lovers would never want anyone to miss out on making some of the same memories that come from creating outdoor traditions. When asked how best to encourage those who want to learn more about fishing and hunting, Carlson says, “I think the key these days would be to find a mentor to get you started. Many outdoor activities, especially duck hunting, require specialized gear. So finding someone with the gear and the opportunities is the key in getting started in the outdoors.” This isn’t always easy, but just like Filson continues to carry on its tradition here in Edina, we encourage local hunters and anglers to keep going on those annual trips. Consider starting new traditions. Introduce someone to your favorite outdoor activity. Ensure that future generations get to know the joys of the outdoors.