Even if it’s been a while (or a really long while) since you actually, say, pitched a tent, cooked your dinner over an open flame, or actively worried about wild animals interrupting your night’s sleep, most of us still harbor quiet theories about our own (exceptional) abilities to survive in the wild, and all the efficient, good-looking gear we’ll use to do it.
Gene Han would like to encourage that. “You see so many people who are just walking around looking like they’re ready to chop down a tree,” he laughs, “and while there are things like EMS and REI in the city, I felt that there was really nothing like that in Brooklyn. And that’s why we’re here. We wanted to bring this world to people, but a little bit more upscale, and a little more fashion-oriented.”
And his sunny Brooklyn Heights shop, Hatchet Supply, seems like just that; a natural combination of Han’s extensive experience in the world of high-end menswear and as a card-carrying Eagle Scout who, when I ask for a bit of off-the-cuff camping advice, immediately tells me, “Always be prepared.”
This has meant both a meticulous search for carefully-chosen style pieces (a solid array of sneakers, Pendelton blankets, and heavy-duty lighters and flasks to appeal to even the least outdoorsy among us) and countless trips to trade shows for what Han calls the “hard-core technical gear,” like sturdy one-person tents, a particularly sleek Swedish-made travel stove and, of course, actual hatchets. “We’ve had a very good reception from the neighborhood, we really love it here,” says Han, a Brooklyn native who’s now looking to move in to an apartment directly above the shop on Atlantic. With a growing base of loyalists just five weeks after opening and a newly minted membership in the New York-New Jersey trail conference, it’s safe to say Hatchet Supply is positioning itself to stick around for the long haul. And for now, we can’t think of a better excuse to get ourselves back into the great outdoors. Or at the very least, Prospect Park.
Hatchet Supply, 77 Atlantic Ave.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.