Outdoor Gear & Outfitters
Since Victorian times, Maine has been a magnet for sportsmen and women. They came for the clean fresh air and clear cool water, to cast a line in mountain streams, paddle pristine lakes, hike remote peaks, and hunt wild game. They come for those same reasons today, but also to kayak, sail, snowshoe, ski, bike, camp, and link distant points by snowmobiles and ATV.
Exploring Maine's vast playground is best done with someone who knows the territory and the sport. Licensed and registered Maine Guides are internationally renowned for their skills, whether that be navigating a raft down a whitewater river, sighting eagles or moose, tying the perfect fly, sharing a favored fishing hole, or paddling a serpentine route through offshore islands.
Many Maine Guides work in tandem with outfitters and sporting goods shops, which provide all the equipment necessary for a Maine sporting adventure. That ranges from binoculars and water bottles for a two-hour bird-watching tour to fully outfitting a multi-day winter-camping trip. They're also excellent resources for finding Made-in-Maine sporting equipment, whether that's an Old Town or birchbark canoe, handcrafted snowshoes or an artisan-made fly rod.
Some of Maine's outfitters and sporting goods shops specialize, like Eldredge Bros. Fly Shop in Cape Neddick, Ducktrap Kayak in Lincolnville, and the Bird Watchers Store in Blue Hill; others like Northwoods Outfitters in Greenville, River's Edge Sports in Oquossoc, Sun Valley Sports in Bethel, and Maine Sport Outfitters in Rockport handle regional sporting needs; a few have earned national, even international repute, such as L.L. Bean in Freeport, Kittery Trading Post, and Cabela's in Scarborough. DeLorme in Yarmouth produces Maine maps and mapbooks that detail backroads, boat launches, campsites, and other sites of sporting interest.
When visiting or researching Maine's outfitters, be sure to ask about workshops, equipment trials, and demonstrations that allow you to dip your toes in the sporting life before actually taking the plunge.