Made in Minnesota: Cold play

Why winter enthusiasts in the know insist on Bemidji's Fur Armor

By Ali Lacey

Need something to keep you warm on the most frigid winter days? Founded in 2010, Bemidji-based Fur Armor offers hats, gloves, blankets, and even can coolers made from beaver pelts. Dense and heavy, beaver fur is one of the best materials around for staying toasty. Owner John Mueller does some of the trapping himself, he and his wife develop their own patterns, and each product is sewn by hand (with help from a 1950s fur-sewing machine). "It's a super-high-quality, low-volume operation," says Mueller. "We really try and make the best-quality product that we can."

The durable Fur Armor Trapper Hat is ideal for outdoor sports enthusiastsespecially ones who sit outside all day. "People swear by them," says a clerk at Martin Patrick 3, a discerning menswear store in Minneapolis that carries Fur Armor products. "The sewing in them is so fantastic. The guys who come in to buy them won't buy anything else."

Stephanie's, a boutique in the Highland Village neighborhood of St. Paul, carries Fur Armor can coolers, which keep hands and drinks alike from freezing.

With many Fur Armor products, you have a choice between long or sheared hair. The latter provides a more kempt look, but either way, these products are wild.