The parent company of a host of trusted American brands, Exxel Outdoors has an uplifting story of success where outdoor gear and military equipment manufacturing are sprinkled with a little bit of fairy dust.
A Story of Success
Henry Kazezian was born to a Syrian father and a Lebanese mother. Their large, multi-generational family immigrated to the United States in the forties when Henry was just five years old. Growing up in Hollywood exposed a world that was very different from the traditional values of his parents, and Kazezian spent most of his time playing in a rock band. Meanwhile, his uncle, having come to the USA with nothing but his wits, became an owner of a warehouse that produced military duffle bags on a contract for the American government.
Seeing the future businessman potential in the then twenty-two-year-old Henry, his uncle decided to let his rocker nephew take over the company. It was a risky and controversial move, but, like moving across the ocean, it turned out to be an unlikely success. In 1977, together with his best friend from a rock band, Kazezian founded Exxel Outdoors. Later, with America on the cusp of the Gulf War, demand for camouflage clothing soared.
Development of new products came in quick succession, with sleeping bags and other camping equipment becoming the cornerstone of manufacturing. The growing company moved its premises back to the US, with factories and offices now spread across Alabama and California.
“I always wanted to get the Disney license,” admits Henry Kazezian, never thinking that his wish would come true. In 2005, a surprise phone call from a product manager led to Exxel Outdoors manufacturing sleeping bags, tents and other camping gear with images of Elsa and other Disney princesses.
More licensing deals followed, with Exxel Outdoors now manufacturing for some of the most established American brands such as Universal and DreamWorks.
At the Core of the Community
Despite highly profitable deals with entertainment industry giants, Exxel Outdoors remains a company at the core of the outdoor community. Brands which belong to the company are among the most trusted outdoor gear providers in the country. Sierra Designs, Ultimate Direction, Hex and Slumberjack are all a part of the Exxel Outdoors Family.
With an abundance of expertise in building gear for the harshest environments on the planet, as well as a background in supplying gear to the military, Exxel Outdoors continues to provide the highest quality products to the Armed Forces. Kelty is one of the Exxel brands that provides equipment built to military specifications, including backpacks, shelters, sleep systems and more.
Exxel Outdoors x Climashield®
Like many outdoor industry leaders, Exxel Outdoors carefully chooses the best materials for use on their manufacturing lines. That’s why many of the Exxel Outdoors sleeping bags feature Climashield®, providing the best warmth to weight ratio, packability and performance even in wet conditions.
The Exxel Outdoors Kelty Varicom Gamma sleeping bag, designed for field use by the Armed Forces, is insulated with Climashield® Combat using the patented AquaBan® technology. Like all other Exxel Outdoors products, it represents the best in its category.
Firmly grounded in the present and always looking toward future expansion and innovations, company founder Henry Kazezian remains humble and true to his roots.
“I want it to have the feel and touch of family. I never wanna be too big, [so] that somebody can’t say hi to me,” he says. “I want Exxel Outdoors to be a place that everybody’s proud to work for and happy to work at. [...] I want everybody to work for the best outdoor company that’s a standard that everybody can look up to.”