The Early Years
Growing up, Tayson wanted to be outdoors every day of his life. It called him to explore, regardless of the time of year or the weather. But he didn’t have the right gear to prepare for the elements. During winter, he would put layers and layers of clothes on to try and stay warm. In the middle of summer storms, Tayson would try using trash bags and hope they would keep him dry. And on his overnight ventures, he would shiver in his budget sleeping bag until the sun came up. Despite all his preparation packing extras of everything, he was often left uncomfortable, which led to him heading back home before he really wanted to. Other times, it wasn’t even worth going on a trip at all because the distances were too far for his heavy overnight gear.
Tayson eventually discovered that premium gear is more light, comfortable, and versatile. Not only that, but premium gear was more capable of handling all that Mother Nature could throw at him. He found that one jacket made of quality fabrics was better than two jackets made of poor materials. This discovery allowed him to simplify his gear and still be ready for any adventure.
While in college, his brother would invite him to go on backpacking trips, and introduced him to more and more premium quality gear. Unfortunately, as a poor college student, he just couldn’t afford it. Slowly, Tayson started piecing together his own collection of better gear.
By the time he graduated, he still did not have the gear he needed to really improve his outdoor experiences. Frustrated with the barrier between him and nature’s call to explore, Tayson began figuring out how to sell outdoor gear himself.
Going For It
Fresh out of college and with $500, Tayson started to buy and sell budget sleeping bags. He had found suppliers in China through his research, and figured out the system of importing products. He started to sell no-name sleeping bags at a low price to his friends.
Not long after this, a Youtube channel was created to communicate with the small crowd starting to buy sleeping bags from him. Tayson began to inform and educate his audience about the bags he sold them, and how they performed during his own testing on family trips. The channel had few subscribers, but it was enough for Tayson to ask questions and get answers in the comments. When suppliers in China sent him a couple of different backpack samples, Tayson decided he wanted to design his own pack. So he asked his followers on Youtube what they thought should be included in their ideal pack. Thus the Rhyolite came to be.
By this time Tayson was designing and selling his own products that were specifically branded as Outdoor Vitals gear. They were still being manufactured overseas, but the gear was designed, prototyped, & tested by Tayson before any mass production for sale.
Outdoor Vitals stuck to keeping costs down on materials and gear and offering low prices to customers. Tayson could still feel the sting of frustration from when he was growing up or in college and just couldn’t afford decent gear. With the direct-to-consumer business model of Outdoor Vitals, he could offer gear for 40-50% less than similar gear offered through retail stores. “Opening The Outdoors” became his mantra.
Business began to take off! Tayson had a full line of products, offering multiple sizes and types of sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and backpacks. Soon he had to hire more help to handle the workload. It could no longer be a one man show. So he hired Darren, who had worked with him before at an old workplace before Tayson took off to do Outdoor Vitals. Darren had good experience with online marketing and had even spent some time with his own online ventures successfully. When it came to Amazon marketing and html coding, Darren was phenomenal! He also hired Riley, a creative mind with a knack for visual design and video editing.
As these three shouldered the load, business could move even faster. Dave was soon hired as a customer support specialist. Dave had an impressive background in hospitality and in the outdoors, having worked in well known hotels and for an adventure guiding company in and around Zion National Park of Southern Utah. Dave had extensive experience with outdoor gear from his guiding days, and knew how to meet the needs of customers well.
These new members of the team each brought additional insight to product design and features, and more products were designed and released. The team was coming up with more and more gear that was premium level quality. The new gear didn’t seem to quite match up with some of the stuff Tayson started selling as a recent graduate with $500. They decided to discontinue any gear that didn’t fit the company’s vision of offering premium gear to the customers of Outdoor Vitals. “Live Ultralight” became the new Outdoor Vitals mantra, and the team was determined to give their followers gear that was premium, ultralight, versatile, and that did the job right. They still followed the direct-to-consumer business model that allowed the team to offer honest pricing 40-50% less than competitors, but “Outdoor Vitals 2.0”, as Tayson called it, became more committed to premium ultralight quality than ever before.
The pace continued to increase. After almost 4 years of being in business, Tayson was asked to speak at public events, some of which were at colleges to business students enrolled in an entrepreneurial lecture series. He spoke to such a group of college students at Southern Utah University. After his presentation, he was approached by an undergraduate named Derek wanting to know more about the industry. Derek set up a time to meet with Tayson to learn more, and before long was hired onto the team as well. Derek had also spent most of his life outdoors, and had a bright mind for marketing and a knack for learning quickly. Since being hired on, Derek helped Tayson develop marketing and sales funnels and campaigns that have generated millions of dollars for Outdoor Vitals, and have helped thousands of new customers have better access to the outdoors with premium Outdoor Vitals gear.
In 2018, Riley had to relocate his family for a 3D modeling opportunity up north, and the Outdoor Vitals team was back down to 4. They managed well for a while and continued to develop new innovative products. One such product was the LoftTek Adventure Jacket, which used a new insulation that mimicked down in weight and compressibility better than any synthetic Tayson had seen before! It was a good insulator, and stayed fully lofted when completely soaked. Tayson and the Outdoor Vitals team put it in a jacket and raised over 1 million dollars in pre-sales in just a few short months.
With the success of the jacket, the Outdoor Vitals team explored new ways to use the unique LoftTek insulation. After trying it in the first Outdoor Vitals topquilt, Tayson and the team discovered that LoftTek insulation tended to shift around in large baffles. This wasn’t a problem with the jackets because the baffles were so small.
Soon a hybrid insulation was developed, using 80% LoftTek and 20% 800 fill power down to create a synergistic blend that didn’t shift around inside baffles, yet could be compressed well, and was lightweight. Furthermore, this insulation could still get completely soaked and stay fully lofted due to its mostly synthetic nature. This new blend was implemented into a number of new sleeping bags.
The team hired on two new recruits, Jordan and Brigham. Jordan was a skilled free-lance photographer and videographer, often doing jobs for the university or for weddings, and became a huge asset to the team with those skills. He was also invaluable as a gear specialist helping with customer support.
Brigham had just completed the outdoor gear designing program at Utah State University, and already had experience designing and creating his own gear. He was hired on as a full time gear designer at Outdoor Vitals. Tayson had originally been the mastermind behind gear design, but with no formal training, he knew he needed to get some help. Brigham has accelerated the capability of Outdoor Vitals to produce new premium gear, and the quality is even better than ever before!
Outdoor Vitals Today
Now Outdoor Vitals is thriving and growing exponentially! The premium gear the company offers is top-notch, and will speak for itself when used in the outdoors. We want to help others truly live ultralight, whether at home or in the outdoors. By providing premium gear that is quality, versatile, ultralight, and durable, we help our customers live lifestyles that cut down on the extras. You can enjoy your trips without being weighed down, cold, or uncomfortable. You can use the same gear in a variety of different scenarios. Outdoor Vitals is here to stay, and will help you live ultralight.
To learn more about Outdoor Vitals purpose and company values click here.