UM student starts ‘Red Patch Outdoors’ to bring versatility to outdoor sports | ABC Fox Missoula
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UM student starts ‘Red Patch Outdoors’ to bring versatility to outdoor sports | ABC Fox Missoula

MISSOULA, Mont. – With a passion for the outdoors and military experience under his belt, one University of Montana student is starting a business making outdoor gear, all while raising two kids and getting his master’s degree in accounting.

Charles Luther does crafts projects in his garage for his business, Red Patch Outdoors, which was only started because of an assignment.

“I wanted this modular and multi-functional outdoor gear that I could use for hunting and fishing and hiking with the kids and what-not,” Luther said. “I was like, ‘if I can make that and then spin it into a business for this class, that’ll be awesome.’”

Luther served four years in the U.S. Marines as an 0481 Landing Support Specialist, also known as a Red Patcher. That’s where Red Patch Outdoors got its name and inspiration for the gear.

“The bullet-proof vest that we all wear have this molly system, this system of webbing that allows you to attach pouches wherever you need them. You can set things up as you need it for your specific mission…and that’s what I wanted to bring into the civilian sector and into the world of outdoors,” Luther said.

So, when he was tasked with coming up with a business idea for class, he knew what he wanted to do.

“That modular, moveable, exchangeable idea really resonated with people and I was like, ‘okay, this is something that people actually want. It’s not just me that was looking for this,'” he said.

Whether you’re hunting, fly fishing or going on a hike with the family, Luther said the ‘Montana way’ doesn’t have to be hard.

“The thing that we want to bring to Montanans is, not necessarily more opportunities to go outside, but more ease when they do go outside. If you’re seeing gear and equipment as a barrier to entry, we want to remove that barrier as much as possible,” he added.

Luther and Co-Founder of the Business, Ethan Pateman, placed 2nd in the John Ruffatto Business Challenge at UM last year, winning over $7,000.

He’ll graduate in May and plans to get a job in Accounting, but said he’s not giving up on his side-hustle.

He wants to expand his business, so he’s looking for a Montana partner to help with cutting and sewing operations.