In 1971, outdoor enthusiast and retailer Steve O’Meara decided to start making gear to support his habit of getting outside into the spectacular landscape that is Northern California: Redwoods, rivers, mountains and the sea. Some might call that heaven, most call it Humboldt County. We’re inclined to think they’re one and the same.
Following the introduction of a new waterproof fabric called GORE-TEX®, Steve decided to focus his company on one category of products: paddlesports apparel and gear. The company evolved to what we know today as “Kokatat”, a regional Native American word for “Into the Water”. Highly appropriate since Kokatat garments are meant for total immersion. Go ahead, pull that gasket over your head and be sure to zip that relief zipper all the way closed before you jump in.
40 years later Kokatat still thrives in Arcata, CA. You can walk in the front door of the factory and hear the hum of sewing machines, bringing you the most complete line of paddling apparel and personal flotation devices (PFDs) available. Adam in design can tell you about last week’s killer surf or you can chat with Matt in marketing about the CFS last weekend on the Trinity River. You can even talk to one of our gear artisans about the finer intricacies of waterproof seam taping, if you’re into that sort of thing. Have a GORE-TEX® drysuit from the late twentieth century? Chris in our repair department will test it for leaks and refurbish it for you.
We strive to make the most comfortable, durable, and safe products possible at Kokatat. From our GORE-TEX® dry suits that carry a lifetime warranty or rescue PFDs worn by guides worldwide, to a new paddler’s first splash-top, we have you covered. Safety is the key for our paddle sports customers and for the Military, Search and Rescue, and US Coast Guard units we outfit. The water can be unpredictable at times. It’s our goal to remove the worries of the elements so you can head out with confidence.
40 years into the business, we remain committed to manufacturing the majority of our gear in Humboldt County. Named the 2010 Arcata Green Business of the Year, our company provides an established platform of green practices, social equity and economic vitality to the region. Our recent installation of one of the largest solar photovoltaic systems in the region powers much of our factory.
Over the years we have built a strong family of employees and loyal business partners. It’s the people that make our work so much fun. Oh yeah… the water too!