Japanese outdoor retailer and supplier Mont Bell Japan, which is famous for its high quality, lightweight and innovative outerwear, clothing, packs and tents, has entered the United States outdoor market.

Starting in autumn 2002, Mont Bell will begin US distribution by offering a selected assortment of products in several REI stores. By spring 2003, Mont Bell plans to sell additional products in 30 to 50 of the best US specialty stores. All products will have US sizing and will be warehoused in the United States. Customer service will also be handled in the US.

"For more than 25 years, Mont Bell customers in Japan have sought out the distinctive look and unique features of Mont Bell products," said Isamu Tatsuno, founder and CEO of Mont Bell Japan. "Now US customers can benefit from the same high-quality, innovative designs. At Mont Bell, we use only the best materials, pay careful attention to detail, and offer unsurpassed workmanship. We are pleased with the positive initial reactions from US retailers."

In spring 2003, Mont Bell will introduce to the US its innovative Drilite-tec fabric, which uses 30-denier nylon, is exceptionally lightweight, and waterproof and breathable.

Mont Bell will also introduce a complete line of extremely lightweight Gore-Tex XCR fabric parkas and pants; paddling outerwear made with Drilite-tec fabric; very soft, lightweight fleece garments; and down inner jackets weighing only 7 ounces.

Founded in 1975, Mont Bell Japan has grown to $160 million US in sales. With a number of its own retail stores, Mont Bell also sells to leading Japanese outdoor specialty stores. Mont Bell is the Japanese distributor for Perception, Atlas Snowshoes, and other leading US and European outdoor companies, with offices in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and now the United States.