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The Birth of Adventure Trail Gear



I, Nick Scott, am the founder of Adventure Trail Gear. I have done a business intro a few times now, as I had started with my business Explore The North in 2016, where I started designing fabric products for overland vehicles; then, in late 2017 started to partner with Virgil, and we operated together under the name North Bound Expeditions. I will briefly describe where this all started for those who care to know, otherwise feel free to skip ahead.


When I first bought my Jeep in early 2016, I had owned several off-road vehicles before, but nothing new that I needed to care for, as it also served as a daily driver. As I used it, and met up with Virgil, I realized if I was going to start doing more long range trips, living out of the Jeep, I would want more storage. Only problem is, I had no desire to buy all sorts of things for it, and figured I could probably build them; even if they weren’t pretty, it only needed to work for me. Growing up, my mother taught me how to use a sewing machine to fix some hockey gear briefly, and my wife had just got a new machine for Christmas. So, while shopping for curtain material for my wife, I asked a lady at the fabric store what I would use to make a hockey bag and explained to her what I wanted to try. She thought my ideas were pretty interesting and sent me on my way with a few yards of material.


Before my wife left for a weekend to visit family, she showed me how to thread her sewing machine (real basics here). So that weekend I sat down with an idea (and a case of beer) for a overhead storage system to hold my CB radio and winch controller, as well as something to wrap around my sun visor to store paperwork, notepads and pens. After an entire day of messing around, going out to the driveway to measure, breaking needles and cursing, I had the ugliest visor panel organizer possible. A few more attempts and it wasn’t too bad. After a couple weekends I made some that actually functioned and didn’t look too bad. Showing them to some Jeep friends, it seemed I may have stumbled onto a hidden ability (work in progress) that could be made into a small business. As I spent countless hours researching sewing machines, thread, needles, material composition, etc etc, I finally found a very old industrial straight stitch machine and really stepped up my game. Soon I figured out how to create templates to reproduce the same design reliably, and nailed down a few good suppliers of bulk material and supplies. Over the next couple of years I designed the visor panel organizer, overhead storage system, head rest fire extinguisher mount (which actually came to be when someone asked me to design a way for him to mount one in his Honda Civic of all things), and the original spare tire bag, or GARB as it became known (I’m now on version 3.1).


Then I started to realize, anything that I needed for storage and comfort that I could make out of fabric, was possible. While clearing land in the winter to build a new house, I thought there must be a better way to carry all my saw and equipment 2 or 300m into the woods with snowshoes on, arms full of bulky cases, bar oil and fuel bottles, tools etc. So I went home, laid my saw down on some fabric and hammered out the chainsaw bag. A while later, I had gone through a few stove options for cooking out of the Jeep and got tired of the 1lb propane bottles, so I bought a 5lb one. When I looked online and found metal mounting brackets were anywhere from 99 to 150 USD, I almost sh*t myself, then laughed. I figured if I could make a bag strong enough to hold a chainsaw I could make one enough to hold a smaller propane tank. So there you have it, the background of almost all designs I have come up with over the years; minus the nitty-gritty concepts of every single feature, but I have probably lost most readers by now.


My Development through NBX:


After helping out with Virgil’s (at the time East Coast Overland) NB Expedition Challenge in 2017, I thought the way we worked through the event went well, and we would make a good team, while amplifying each other’s exposure; my products and his media/events. We had talked and basically saw ourselves as a microscopic Mountain State Overland and Blue Ridge Overland Gear; fabric product designer and event/film maker who had a friendship and business models that promoted each other. So we started talking about joining forces and eventually did a little while later. We spent the next couple years coming up with different event ideas, Virgil became very good with video making and had a passion for hosting & documenting events. So in early 2020, the business started to have much more defined departments. Throughout COVID isolation times, I had designed a water bladder hiking pack, hunting/rifle ruck sac, and a small duffle bag, items I felt were more towards general adventure. So as Virgil started to really establish himself as a top notch overland video producer, and I had ideas to expand my designs outside of overlanding, it became clear to me that it may be difficult to see my new vision take root under such a prominent image of "overlanding" in road vehicles. I love this candid picture from the middle of my NBX time.


My Vision of Adventure Trail Gear:


Being a Regular Force member of the Canadian Armed Forces, I do not intend on leaving my career. As demand grew in the past, I had the opportunity to hire a fantastic contractor, Erin Hickey. She has since transitioned to working full time, building the majority of my designs. My short term goals are to ensure I maintain the demand for my designs, in order to ensure Erin has all the work she needs, while we work on some new products that expand into general outdoor recreation. As things develop, I want to ensure brand recognition is consistent across the designs, being newly branded with Adventure Trail Gear. As such, I will always continue to focus on and offer my staple designs:


- Spare Tire Bag - Previously sold as GARB (Garbage and Recycling Bag)

- Chainsaw Bag

- Propane Tank Bag( (5lb)

- Fire Extinguisher Mount (Head Rest - The Original)

- General Purpose Pouch

- Collapsible Bowl

- Wrap Straps

- Visor Panel Organizer

- And some upcoming branded apparel


My mid-term goals would see eventually being able to employ others from New Brunswick and Ontario so they can work from home, see their achievements produce a good living for them, and maintain the handmade, home grown feel. Some of those mid-term goals regarding product evolution include:


- Hiking Gear

- Biking storage options

- Kayak/Canoe bags

- ATV & Snowmobile bags

- Hunting vests and carry bags

- Rugged outdoor clothing (cargo pants and sweaters)


My long term goals are all about making a sustainable product line, that is field tested and backed by a proven warranty period. I intend on continuing to employ locals, buying from North American suppliers, and supporting the growth of other small businesses. I will always keep designing, listening to feedback, and hopefully when I am set to retire from my CAF service, I can carry on at my own pace with Adventure Trail Gear as an established name for high quality, Made in Canada, fabric products, that don't have 200% mark ups over cost.


Take Adventure Trail Gear on your journeys, and don't forget to give feedback along the way on how these designs are serving you. Because I want to be responsive, and grow these products to fit the needs of adventurers.


- Nick Scott



 

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