ROC Gear, a retailer, designer and distributor of outdoor gear, has created a manufacturing operation at its headquarters in Commerce, Ga. to make a new line of waterproof duffle bags for its Mad Water brand.  

The facility is making a new, fully submersible line of waterproof duffle bags with the latest radio frequency welding equipment. Eventually, it hopes to repatriate manufacturing of other Mad Water’ products.

“This investment is our first step at reducing overseas production, and bringing manufacturing back into the United States,” stated Jay Buell, CEO of ROC Gear.

The new, U.S.-made commercial-grade duffel bags are constructed of double-coated polyurethane to extreme waterproof performance in virtually any environment. ROC Gear plans to market the bags to watersports, paddle sports, boating, fishing, outdoor, emergency and military dealers. Offered in three sizes (30L, 65L and 90L), the matte black bags are already in production and available for sale, effective immediately. Several other colors are expected to enter the range in early 2016.

ROC Gear Wholesale is the exclusive U.S. distributor of Kasper & Richter GmbH & Co. compasses and OverBoard Ltd waterproof bags and cases and owns the Treknor compass and Mad Water brands. The company’s retail division also sells those and other brands direct-to-consumer via several e-commerce sites.

ROC Gear has been utilizing overseas factories to produce its custom designs since launching the brand in 2009, but opted to manufacture the new duffle bags in the United States.

“Our in-house manufacturing offers us more flexibility, faster new product turnaround, improved quality control, and gives us more control over our own destiny. It will even allow us to test out new products without investing in a one year supply of the product, before knowing how well it will perform.”

Fortuitously, the decision coincided with YKK’s decision to begin making its Aquaseal waterproof zippers in Macon, Ga. The first Aquaseal zippers out of Macon were used to make prototypes that ROC Gear showed dealers at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in August.  

ROC Gear hopes putting a ‘Made in the USA’ waterproof zipper in ‘Made in the USA’ duffel bags will open opportunities with the U.S. military, which requires 100-percent American-sourced goods.

“And finally, it adds jobs to the USA, and that’s always a good thing,” Buell said. “It makes our company more independent, and our country more independent.”