Best Of Tucson®

Best Outdoor Recreation Store

Summit Hut

You gotta love a place with a sense of humor. Bozo the Clown must work here preparing outdoor bumper stickers. "Sahuaro you today?" reads one of the generic variety, while another advises: "I'm not sleepin'... I'm just Sonoran." There are also stickers according to outdoor activity, like, "Knot now. I'm going climbing."

Circus owner P.T. Barnum once observed, "Advertising is like learning--a little is a dangerous thing," so the folks at this locally owned gear shop try a variety of attention-getting ploys to draw customers away from corporate megastores.

It's been that way since 1967, when two high school friends began offering a special order service for backpackers and mountaineers. The teens conducted business from their bedrooms and stored inventory under their beds. Since its inception, the firm has not been afraid to listen to and respond to its client's needs.

Today, the company Web page notes: "For more than 30 years, Summit Hut, Ltd., has enjoyed the pleasure of outfitting the community and visitors of Tucson with services and merchandise to suit their unique outdoor and travel endeavors. As an independent, Tucson-based, business, Summit Hut actively supports local, state and regional recreation-related causes and events."

It's a give-and-get world, and Summit Hut deserves your support in return.

Runner up:

Popular Outdoor Outfitters, 6315 E. Broadway Blvd., 6314 N. Oracle Road, 2820 N. Campbell Ave.