(THLETE: pronounced “athlete” without the “a”)

We know, it’s a strange name, but one of the core principals of our brand is fitness. By staying in shape and maintaining a healthy body, we can push ourselves further as hunters and outdoorsman. The name “THLETE” exemplifies a cornerstone concept that hunters are in fact athletes, and athletes are a product of strength, stamina, determination, and hard work.


I was told that the apparel industry is a less than glamorous place to carve out a living, and that was not a stretch. On top of that, industry experts told me that I had no chance of launching my brand on the budget I had allocated to THLETE. In the beginning, we found ourselves contacting the “major players” in the outdoor apparel industry in search of the magic anecdote that would streamline everything and get the ball rolling; problem being that there was no magic bullet. The process of launching an apparel brand from sourcing fabric, design, and manufacturing, along with all the little intricacies that go along with running a business have made this an endeavor that has thickened the skin of all those on the THLETE staff. Apparel manufacturing is no mercies, suck it up, and grind it out industry; learn quickly, or you will likely fail. Call it what you will, drive and determination are your most influential allies to get things done.


We work hard, we hunt hard. Our drive comes from the determination to create an end product that exemplifies precisely what we envision, a task that has proven more difficult than it sounds. If a particular item works well, it will consistently find a place in your pack and on your hunt; at THLETE, we recognize the value that this holds and strive to make gear that not only meets but exceeds your high expectations

We are not an apparel giant, and we are not owned by an umbrella corporation which means that we are able to make specialized gear the way we see fit. There is no board of directors overseeing our every move, and we have the freedom to do what we want. We are a direct-to-consumer brand that is not encumbered by the bureaucracy of a parent company.

THLETE Apparel is comprised of people that love to hunt. The tradition of the sport and the passion that we have for the outdoors is the heart of our brand. We are dedicated to applying that same devotion to the design of THLETE products.

We focus on brand innovation and progression, providing our community with a superior, first-rate product. There was never a question as to who we are; our apparel is designed with purpose.


As our brand has evolved, so has our philosophy. By making a concerted effort to focus more on customer feedback, we drive innovation and establish our brand as a well-made and trustworthy apparel manufacturer. Our core principle is simple, to always seek perfection and allow the consumer to be the heart of our brand and to put the best possible product in the hands of outdoorsman who both know, and rely on good gear.

Perfection may not be obtainable, but we sure try. By never accepting satisfaction, we continue to develop better gear for outdoorsmen who rely on quality equipment.

We hunt, which both aids in the design process and fuels our drive to make better equipment. If a particular feature does not work, we eliminate or improve it. We are not corporate-backed meaning modifications can be made in real time without transcending the hierarchy of a parent company; we are not encumbered by the bureaucracy of upper management.


To offer a finished product that exceeds the expectations of the end-user and be at the forefront of our industry through forward thinking and innovation.

Hunting apparel is all we do. Our ambition to provide innovative outdoor gear is what drives us to make new and better equipment that exceeds your expectations. We are always open to customer feedback because you are the ones who can help us build superior and innovative apparel.


Catch a Dream Pledge:
We have teamed up with Catch a Dream to offer hunting experiences to young individuals who otherwise may not be afforded the opportunity to do so. Our annual contribution to a 501C3 is a small way to give back to young individuals who may not have the ability to hunt and fish as much as they would like. Each year, a percentage of each sale at THLETE goes directly towards our goal of providing an all-expenses-paid trip for a child with a life-threatening disease.



There is no additional cost to the consumer. With each $4,500 milestone that is met, an all expenses paid hunting trip will be gifted to a kid with a dream.


The inspiration for THLETE is strongly influenced by the experiences we have had while hunting across North America. The design/concept behind the majority of our outerwear is a direct result of the gear we have used in the past. If it works, it stays in our pack, if it doesn’t, it ends up on eBay. We know what works and we will continue to build our brand on that cornerstone concept.

We know that hunters are hard on gear and the demand for rugged hunting apparel that can withstand heavy use and still maintain its structural form and functionality is of paramount importance. We design and test all of our clothing in the Midwest before we do a full-scale production run. By allowing members of our staff to beat the living daylights out of our apparel, we know what works and doesn’t. Some of the most influential product alterations have come while we were crawling through a drainage ditch in Montana or climbing into a tree in Wisconsin; a rendition of backcountry R&D if you will.


We test our products on people!

If you’re an outfitter, a guide, or just like to hunt…. GET IN TOUCH!

The feedback that we receive from outfitters, guides and outdoorsman holds tremendous value to our brand. By using hunters in the field, we can get immediate and unbiased feedback on the gear that we manufacture which holds value in the design process of each item that we make. We do not believe in pro-staffs, but rather a team of backcountry enthusiasts that are able to test and critique each piece of equipment that we make.


“Do something you love, and you will never work a day in your life”

The main reason I do this is a love for the outdoors, plain and simple. I set out to build a brand around the lifestyle that I enjoy so much. While the above quote does ring true to an extent, this endeavor has been one hell of a lot of work, but with the work has come an overwhelming amount of gratification. This journey has had its ups and downs, but I can honestly say that it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career.

I want to provide our customer with a product that he/she is proud to wear and I hope my passion for the outdoors translates into the gear that we manufacture.

-Mike Zaudke
CEO, Thlete Backcountry Athlete