I really get confused with all the outdoor companies. Has there actually been many of them that have stayed independent and continued to innovate towards higher quality? I've always thought the modus operandi was to get big enough to sell to a larger sporting goods company, and then that company sells to a conglomerate that's publicly traded? Take Marmot for instance, I think they make some nice sleeping bags, even though I think their quality crested a few years ago. But aren't they part of the same company (Jarden) that owns Mr. Coffee? They've got many sporting goods markets covered, from cheap Coleman gear and Shakespeare tackle in Wal-mart's Sportings Goods, to Marmot or Penn tackle at Cabela's or REI.
How does it all work? Cottage gear maker gets their textiles from subsidiaries of giant conglomerates, and we support them by buying their great products, until the owner gets the unrefusable offer of a lifetime that eventually turns their brand into junk made by a conglomerate that answers to the shareholders. Or the company never grows and just dies.