A number of lesser known companies, including a few from outside the outdoor recreation industry, edged out Smartwool, Eagle Creek, Superfeet, Petzl, Toad&Co and SpyderCo to take the top spots in Outside magazine's annual best places to work list.

To find the best places to work in the United States in 2015, Outside started by creating five company categories that reflect the magazine’s values and focus: Adventure/Travel, Wellness, Culture, Gear, and Media. Outside then conducted a rigorous vetting process in partnership with the Best Companies Group to assess the policies, practices, and demographics of hundreds of companies. Outside’s Best Places to Work 2015 was driven by employee reviews of their workplaces, taking into account factors like corporate culture, role satisfaction, work environment and overall employee engagement.

“The companies recognized in this year’s Best Places to Work list are
the gold standard for stellar work environments that seek to empower
their employees both in and out of the office,” said Outside Online
Editor Scott Rosenfield. “The new categories in this year’s list serve
to highlight outstanding workplaces in distinctive fields-making it all
the easier for our readers to find their dream jobs.”

Under “Best Gear Jobs,” Outside listed Ergodyne, a St. Paul.  MN maker of protective gear for industrial workers, landed at the top of the Best Gear Jobs list, followed by Stance, a San Clemente, CA. maker of socks. United by Blue, a maker of t-shirts, totes, and other gift items from Philadelphia, took the third spot. 

Rounding out the next seven sports on the list were SmartWool, Eagle Creek, Superfeet, Petzl, Toad&Co., Sphero (a toymaker) and Spyderco, a Golden, CO maker of knives.