The third oldest river in the world, the French Broad River, along with its tributaries, has been an integral part of the lives of people across the Blue Ridge Mountains for as long as there have been people here. Like a lifeline pulsing through our region, today the river brings countless resources and industries to our communities.

And some pretty amazing entertainment options, too.

Are you the type who prefers the quiet of early morning trout fishing in local rocky streams? Are you a thrill-seeker, riding the whitewater in a custom kayak? Or do you like to band with friends for an intense mountain hike, floating down the river afterwards to cool off and enjoy a local brew? However you choose to enjoy our WNC rivers—and the mountains rising above them—you’ll need the right gear.

Here are 12 locally-owned outdoor gear stores for all types of river and nature enthusiasts across WNC. 

Black Dome Mountain Sports

Asheville’s original full-service outdoor outfitter, Black Dome carries all the major brands, plus gear from smaller brands and local suppliers. Get the most for your outdoor dollar by getting the right fit and the right gear the first time. Their CONSPIRACY bar is a great place to watch action films while enjoying a pint and popcorn.

140 Tunnel Road, Asheville | (828) 251-2001 | blackdome.com


D.D. Bullwinkel Outdoors & Moose Track Footwear

D.D. Bullwinkel’s loves the outdoors, just like you do. As Brevard’s premier outdoor retailer, they are committed to providing the best items and supplies the outdoor industry has to offer. You’ll find affordable clothing, footwear, and gear rich in quality and design. And you’ll meet knowledgeable staff to help you find it, tell you all about it, and teach you how to use it. 

60 E Main Street, Brevard | (828) 862-4700 | ddbullwinkels.com


Diamond Brand Outdoors

Opened in 1964, Diamond Brand is the first outdoor gear shop in WNC. What began as a factory seconds warehouse has grown to a Top 100 outdoor specialty retailer dedicated to quality brands and high service. Store items bearing the “Going Further” logo represent companies going further to protect our natural resources, source sustainable materials, and make the outdoors more inclusive. 

53 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville | (828) 771-4761 | diamondbrandoutdoors.com


French Broad Outfitters

Located right on the French Broad River, French Broad Outfitters is Asheville’s largest and only full-service, locally-owned paddle shop. They also offer full camping gear rentals, the city’s largest selection of disc golf supplies, and host a variety of river trips. A seasonal outpost on Hominy Creek Road serves as a two-acre bar and playground. 

704 Riverside Drive, Asheville | (828) 505-7371 | frenchbroadoutfitters.com


The Hub and Pisgah Tavern

There’s no better place for awesome bicycles, killer outdoor gear, friendly service, and cold craft beer than the Hub. The Hub also offers the latest in demos and rentals. When your outdoor adventure is finished, come back for a local brew at Pisgah Tavern, which happens to be nestled within The Hub. Everyone, including your furry friends, will love their outdoor seating space. 

11 Mama’s Place, Pisgah Forest | (828) 884-8670 | thehubpisgah.com 


Hunter Banks Fly Fishing

Learn, fish, and shop at Hunter Banks. Since 1985, Hunter Banks has offered industry-leading customer service and support for every angler, every day. In addition to offering apparel, tackle, gear storage, and accessories, they host a variety of classes and guided trips. Whether you’re a fly fishing novice or a pro who’s picky about his gear, they have exactly what you need.

29 Montford Avenue, Asheville | (828) 252-3005 | hunterbanks.com


Mast General Store

“From cradles to caskets,” the original Mast General Store opened in 1883 to serve a wide variety of community needs. Now the local franchise operates nine locations in three states, plus their original store and annex in Valle Crucis, NC. Mast offers outdoor gear, clothing, home items and accessories, food, toys, and iconic barrels of classic candies to people across WNC.

15 Biltmore Avenue, Asheville | (828) 232-1883

527 North Main Street, Hendersonville | (828) 696-1883

63 North Main Street, Waynesville | (828) 452-2101

mastgeneralstore.com


Mountain Inspiration

Looking for sustainable outdoor apparel? Mountain Inspiration is committed to spreading the healing powers of nature through organic and recycled apparel for outdoor lovers, thrill seekers, and free spirits alike. They offer apparel and accessories for everyone in the family, including Fido. And several upcycling programs help support their sustainability goals.

32A Biltmore Avenue, Asheville | (828) 484-2318 | mtinspiration.com 


Next Venture Outdoors

Get out of the city and get ready for your next adventure at Next Venture Outdoors. Take in your old or outgrown gear for cash or trade store credit for quality, name-brand clothing, bikes, camping gear, and more. Inventory is constantly changing, so stop by often to check out what’s in stock—you never know what you might find!

161 N Broad Street, Brevard | (828) 394-2277 | nextventureoutdoors.com


Saluda Outfitters

Saluda Outfitters opened in 2017 inside a refurbished log cabin. This upscale outdoor adventure store provides an extensive array of top-quality performance apparel, outdoor camping, kayaking, and paddle boarding equipment and supplies. Green River Eddy’s Tap Room & Grill provides a variety of craft beers on tap on site. Enjoy the view and the mountain breezes while soaking in the warm and friendly atmosphere.

435 Main Street, Saluda | (828) 848-4060 | saludaoutfitters.com


Second Gear

Second Gear is Asheville’s answer for affordable outdoor gear and clothing. In addition to offering used gear and dealer samples, the store also carries a selection of new items, including guidebooks and maps. Second Gear is your one-stop shop to get outside and start adventuring!

444 Haywood Road, Asheville | (828) 258-0757 | secondgearwnc.com


Take a Hike Mountain Outfitters

Since 1999, Take a Hike Mountain Outfitters has served hikers and campers visiting the Black Mountains. Located in a historical lumber mill building, this is a must-shop store for local attraction t-shirts and hats. Their knowledgeable staff will also help fit you for a new pair of hiking boots, hiking poles, or that day pack you’ve been needing. Happy Trails! 

100 Sutton Avenue, Black Mountain | (828) 669-0811 | takeahikenc.com 

Posted on March 17, 2021 at 8:35 am.

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