Alite Designs: San Francisco

Alite is an outdoor gear company that doesn’t take itself too seriously – and that’s a good thing. Without sacrificing attention to performance materials or design (founder Tae Kim spent eight years at The North Face before founding Alite in 2008 in the same Mission District warehouse that once housed Timbuk2), Alite’s line of backpacks, totes, camping tools and accessories and dog gear is designed for nature newbies who are more accustomed to Dolores Park than Big Sur.

Alite’s playful product philosophy extends to some of its more tongue-in-cheek items, like its signature S.H. (Sexy Hotness) sleeping bag – a saucy sleeper with zip-apart features that let you walk around and canoodle around while remaining in the sack. The newly-released Twig Pod Kit is a lightweight, collapsible (ie, backpack-friendly) tool that serves as a digital camera tripod stake, a lantern holder, and…in a pinch, a toilet paper holder for al fresco environs. The message is simple: get outside and get goofy (and oh yeah – try not to get eaten by bears).

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