“Gear for Life.” That’s the motto of Kifaru International, a manufacturer of high-quality, long-lasting outdoor equipment.
Tents, sleeping bags, sleds, stoves, shelters, backpacks, and frames along with many other products have arrived at their newly remodeled 36,000-square-foot facility located in the former Big R building on Sunset Drive in Riverton.
The remodeling and stocking of the store wasn’t a secret, it just appeared that way after the seemingly endless construction project that has blocked Sunset Drive since last spring.
“Everything you can wear on your back in the backcountry,” Cullen Frazier, Riverton store manager said.
The Riverton Kifaru store, storage, and production facility currently has 25 employees, with future expansion, including another building bringing another 200 workers.
Kifaru reduced their 11,000 square-foot facility in Golden, Colorado by about two-thirds, and moved much of the inventory to Fremont County.
“We thought the 36,000 square feet was more than we could ask for,” Frazier said. “But we filled it up right away.”
The magic of Kifaru outdoor gear is that it is custom fit to each individual. The base price on a backpack, frame, or other personal item includes fitting, and custom design to fit each person exactly. There is no “one size fits all” with Kifaru products.
“We’ll make it so it fits you perfectly, “ Frazier said.
The present site has a retail store in the front of the building with rows of warehouse shelving behind in the former Big R retail area and a growing assembly section in the back of the building.
Plans are for another building that will be dedicated to cutting, sewing, assembly, and custom fitting products. That future assembly will bring many employment opportunities to Riverton and Fremont County.
“We want local workers to have a chance at a good job, that pays a good wage,” Frazier said.
Kifaru traces its roots back to the 1970s in Colorado. Patrick Smith was a wilderness guide in the Colorado Rockies and opened the Colorado School of Outdoor Living. He concentrated on wilderness survival skills such as building snow caves and surviving avalanches as well as backcountry travel. He continued to design sleds, packs and heated, carriable sheds. After working in Alaska he invented a rifle carrying system that was unique in style while remaining reliable and durable in the backcountry.
In the 1990s, he started Kifaru International.
In 2012 current owner Aron Snyder joined the company, One of his first designs was the timberline pack that he and Smith worked on together prior to its release in 2013.
In 2014, Smith retired, and Snyder became the president and CEO of Kifaru.
“We don’t have a huge markup on our products,” Frazier said. “We use high-quality materials and pass that quality on to consumers.”
Kifaru works heavily with the United States military in supplying field equipment for outdoor deployment.
They work with the 10th Mountain Division, Tier I special forces units, and have a large presence in the military.
The company has other facilities in Texas, Illinois, and Colorado and is now a presence in Fremont County.
“This is a great opportunity for Riverton and the county,” Riverton mayor Rich Gard said. “The possibility of 200 more jobs is tremendous.”
Kifaru anticipated a tight housing market and has plans to build apartment-style housing for its employees to handle the influx of workers.
“We came to work with the county as much as we can,” Frazier said.
If you’re a serious outdoors enthusiast or just looking for quality outdoor gear, the Kifaru showroom is a great place to visit.