That need to get out of the City, away from the lights, the sounds and the people and spend time in the solitude of the wilderness, this led us to build a company based on time-honoured techniques to make effective tools that you can depend on when you need them.
How did Ocean Camp start you ask? Our story isn't unique; Ocean Camp is about passionate people looking for authentic products and finding everything on offer disappointing.
A few years ago, Simon was planning his gear for a canoe trip through the northern side of Algonquin Park. It had been a summer of ever-longer backcountry trips, all leading up to this one. It was time to invest in a good quality fixed blade knife. A scour of the local outdoor stores proved what he dreaded - everything was black, plastic, soulless and looked like it belonged in the military, not in a forest. Simon was thoroughly disappointed. He wanted a tool that looked good and honoured the traditions of wilderness travel. Simon decided something had to be done. Having spent years working a desk job he wanted to work with his hands and this was his outlet. He made his own. That was the beginning of the Boreal Knife, designed to honour the traditions of bushcraft.
It seemed Simon wasn't alone and, with the success of the Boreal knife, Simon found other equipment which could be made better, more true to its history. He learned how to manufacture in both wood and steel and, with that, Ocean Camp was born.
We built this company to inspire people to get outside. As Kerouac said, “in the end, you won't remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” And to climb the mountain, you need dependable, well-designed gear, not just gear that always works, but something you can feel proud to carry. We try to design products to have some character to them, employ modern manufacturing techniques but stay true to traditional materials – wood for warmth and familiarity in your hand but sealed to withstand the elements, leather for protection that will patina over time to make it your own, steel precisely hardened, but designed to be sharpened in the field.
We strive to act ethically and sustainably in everything we do, from sourcing materials to manufacturing to packaging. Our products are designed to minimize waste and ensure sustainability, both in materials and the manufacturing process.
Most of the gear available today is manufactured overseas. Call us control freaks but we don’t feel we can guarantee the sustainability of quality of overseas manufacturing so we strive to manufacture as much in-house or, at least as locally as possible. This ensures excellent working conditions and fair wages for the people making your gear as well as excellent quality. We promise to keep as much of our manufacturing local as we can – it’s good for everyone.
Inspired by the great age of exploration, Ocean Camp represents the unique approach of blending old and new. The name comes from one of the world’s greatest wilderness survival stories - Ernest Shackleton, and his 1914 expedition to cross Antarctica. His ship, the Endurance, became trapped and then crushed in the ice, forcing the crew to abandon ship and setup Ocean Camp. This was the starting point of incredible journey resulting in the rescue of the entire crew despite the harsh conditions and no working radios. This story of leadership, survival and a healthy respect for nature represents our hopes and values for this company.
Responsible for design and manufacturing. Simon is almost as passionate about modern machining centres as he is about spending time in the woods (oh, and spending time with Alyson). He has a background in architecture and construction, but, after that faithful trip through Algonquin, refocused his career on small scale manufacturing. Not knowing anything about it at the start, he taught himself product design and machining, always looking for the small tweak to make the products just that much better. He spends most of his time doing one of two things - perfecting new product designs or planning his next escape out of the workshop and into the outdoors.
Alyson is responsible for managing the day to day operations of Ocean Camp, the sales and marketing and taking all the pretty pictures. She is, admittedly, less passionate about hiking, canoeing and the general outdoors than Simon. She usually up for an adventure, she generally prefers the adventures to involve trying a new restaurant, but pretty scenery is nice too. With a background in Project Management, she’ll manage anything she sees as out of line, including Simon. If the problem doesn’t have to do with design or manufacturing, she probably already has it solved.