About Us

We are a local, family-owned outdoor business whose passion is to provide an excellent customer experience, every time.

Our mission is to inspire adventure through a premier product selection, to promote individual responsibility in the outdoors, and to embrace perpetual learning as we strive to continually better ourselves for our community.

Loving what we do, since 1978.

Who We Are

Backcountry North has been supporting travellers, casual campers, paddlers, and professional adventurers for over 45 years. Our brick-and-mortar stores are located in Traverse City, serving Northern Michigan and beyond. We are a 100% local business, and have been since the day we were founded in 1978, right here on the shores of Grand Traverse Bay.

Located at 227 East Front Street, our downtown store offers a great selection of premium outdoor brands, a view of the bay, and a lot of charm. This storefront has been around since the beginning, and has seen many evolutions of Backcountry North (to some locals, even still referenced as Backcountry Outfitters). Our downtown locals stop in frequently, and our out-of-town visitors are usually looking for travel gear for their next adventure, to shop the latest in footwear, or to simply ask for hiking/dining/winery suggestions. This store location has that small-town neighborhood feel, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Old Downtown Store

Our second location was built in 2009, and has since turned into our flagship store. Located only two miles from the downtown store on US-31, our larger store offers an 8,000 sq ft sales floor, a roof rack installation garage, loads of space for watercraft, and convenient parking. The extra space allows us to dive deeper into product selection, and we have the room to set up tents, test out new camp chairs, and have customers check out our watercrafts up close. Pups are always welcome at both stores, however they seem to particularly enjoy romping around at this location.

Inside Our Stores

Our store locations and great products would mean nothing without our employees – we have some of the best people around working with us. Our team is passionate about the outdoor industry and the community that they live in. From adventures of their own, they offer valuable suggestions and insights that our customers benefit from, and they truly care about the experience of each individual coming in through the front door. Our employees are committed to continually learning so that they can offer the latest information on products, technology, and outdoor industry trends – and they love doing it. Working with our customers is what makes our job fun, and hopefully, working with our team is what makes your visit memorable.

We love adventure, travel, and all the people, places, and experiences that come with being outdoors. We want to help you go to places you never thought you would visit, have adventures you never expected, and travel farther, in more comfort, with greater confidence than you thought was possible. 

Without customers such as yourself, we would not be able to continue doing what we love.

So, thank you for being a part of our adventure. 

Current Employees
Years in the Business
Current Brands

Meet Our Team


Meet Cory S.

My name is Cory. I was born and raised right here in Traverse City. I spent my childhood summers exploring the great northern Michigan
outdoors on foot or by bike, and exploring the lakes aboard our family boat.
Back in those days, my father would tell me tall tales of a wilderness island
named “Isle Royale”, which sparked my interest in backpacking at a young age
and led me to a lifelong love for the outdoors.

During my time at Backcountry North, I have done it all, from outfitting customers heading on their epic trip of a lifetime, to rigging up a custom fishing kayak, or teaching a class on backcountry cooking. At the present time I am the go-to guy for all things watercraft and equipment, the assistant duck-keeper-in-a-rower, as well as the corporate director of shenanigans.

If you need help gearing up for an adventure, picking out that perfect kayak, or have found that your life is lacking  shenanigans, come see me!



Meet Alan S.

Hi! My name is Alan S. I am a lifetime lover of the outdoors and I thoroughly enjoy sharing that passion with others, especially in more recent years with my two children. In my spare time, you’re likely to find me out hiking and biking our incredible assortment of local trails, working with my hands, taking in a sunrise, or travelling north to visit our amazing upper peninsula. 

In my tenure with Backcountry North, I’ve learned and grown a great deal both professionally and personally. It has been an incredible setting to pick up new skills and hear amazing stories of adventure and exploration. While I oversee the US 31 location’s daily operations, I also build and install roof rack systems and trailers. Roof racks are like a puzzle and precision is a requirement, so it tests my brain and keeps me learning as new vehicles come to market and systems change. 

If you’ve got technical questions on your roof rack, need advice on footwear for an upcoming trip, are struggling to outfit and pack your pack for a long hike, or just want to get the skinny on what’s happening in our world here, stop in and say hello!

Steve H


Meet Steve H.

Hi! My name is Steve H and I’m a manager here at Backcountry North. I grew up in the thumb of Michigan in a town called Caro before moving to Grand Rapids for college. My love of nature and exploration lead me to major in geology. For 8 years I worked as an oilfield wellsite geologist and a geologist for a geotechnical engineering company. Since then, my wife and I decided to move away from the business of the city and come back to the place that we’ve always visited for the beautiful nature; Traverse City.

I love all the trails, lakes, and rivers there are to explore here in northern Michigan. In the summer I spend my time hiking, backpacking, camping, kayaking, exploring trails and beaches with my two Bernese Mountain dogs, and just unwinding in the serenity that the Traverse City region has to offer. One of the greatest things about northern Michigan is that there’s also a lot to do in the winter! Between snowshoeing, snowboarding, and ice climbing, I like to keep busy during the “slower months”.

The passion for adventure extends beyond Michigan, as my wife and I love to travel to destinations around the world. From spelunking in caves of Puerto Rico, climbing via ferrata in Switzerland, or snorkeling the continental rift of Iceland, there are so many adventures and wonders to explore.   

It is an absolute joy to be able to share my experience and expertise to help others find a similar fascination with the great outdoors whether it’s in our own backyard or across the globe. At Backcountry North we have a dedicated team of similar minded outdoor enthusiasts who can outfit you from head to toe in the gear you need to enjoy it all. We take pride in our level of expertise I’m proud to work with such a passionate and friendly team of individuals.  

Ethan G


Meet Ethan G.

My name is Ethan Goss, and I’m a Floor Lead here at Backcountry North. I’m thrilled to help outfit you for your next adventure, whether it’s a short hike at the Old Mission lighthouse, or a week-long canoe trip in Northern Canada. My passions include Nordic skiing (I’m a high school club coach), canoe camping, hiking, and anything outdoors.

I grew up in Northern Vermont, where I hiked in the Green and White Mountains every weekend. When I moved to Traverse City, I wanted to find a group of like-minded people with similar interests, which led me to Backcountry North in 2019. Here, we pride ourselves on providing the best customer service possible, ensuring you have everything you need for a spectacular adventure. I can’t wait to chat with you when you visit us!



Meet Hazen R.

Hazen Bio Here.



Meet Allen T.

Allen Bio Here.

Steve A


Meet Steve A.

Steve Bio Here.



Meet Henry H.

Howdy Folks! My name is Henry, and as a Senior Sales Associate, I’m not only happy, but proud, to find you what you’re looking for. I’m in the business of fitting, not selling, so whether you’re in the market for sandals or a kayak, I’m committed to finding the best fit for you and the crazy activities you have planned.

I grew up in southern Ohio before moving at a young age to beautiful northern Michigan where I’ve planted my roots. I’ve always been passionate about mountain biking, skiing and off-roading whatever-truck-I’m-working-on at the moment. Growing up in the Manistee forest surrounded by larger than life trees and flowing rivers, I can’t help but be thankful for the spectacular setting that is our state. If I’m not on the trails or on the slopes, I’m picking bluegrass tunes with my family or enjoying a home cooked meal with my wife. The best part of my job is being able to help people from across the country get out into the pure Michigan outdoors – as I have been lucky to do for most of my life. 

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