An Interview with Forloh Founder Andy Techmanski

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We take our gear seriously at F&S, whether it be for hunting, fishing, or camping. Our selections are based on many factors, like quality, price, and purpose—just to name a few. But sometimes there’s more to a fishing jacket or hunting knife than what you see.

Through my years of covering the best outdoor gear, I’ve discovered some really cool brands with some really cool stories doing some really cool things. In our new “Behind the Brand” interview series, we are telling those stories through the words of the founders themselves.

There are some people who are just built different. Andy Techmanski is one of them. The self-proclaimed “gear geek” hunts and fishes more than 200 days out of the year—all while running a successful business, raising his kids, and traveling the world.

And just as Andy is built different, so is his brand. Forloh hunting apparel—if you have yet to try it for yourself—is some of the most technical, feature-rich gear out there. Made with first-of-its-kind technology, there’s something for every hunter and angler, whether you’re stalking axis deer in Texas or fly fishing for bonefish in the Bahamas.

In this exclusive interview, we chatted with Andy about everything from how he came up with the idea for Forloh to his most memorable hunt. Here’s his unique story of building an American-made brand designed “for the love of hunting.”

Field & Stream: Start from the beginning. What’s your background prior to starting Forloh?

Andy Techmanski: For a long time, I was purely a consumer. Probably a super consumer, because I spend a lot of money on outdoor goods. I was actively outside the majority of the year, doing every outdoor activity from mountaineering to skiing, snowmobiling, hunting, fishing, backcountry camping, and stuff like that. So I had tried out a lot of products across a lot of different platforms. And even then I was hunting over 100 days a year.

I’m also a serial entrepreneur. I’ve owned a lot of different businesses, but my core competency was actually as a power lineman. I started a few energy companies and one of them became very successful. At one point, I had grown that from me as employee number one to 640 employees. Prior to that, I had 20 years of experience in the field.

So how did Forloh come out of that experience?

Linemen are extremely hard on equipment. And the majority of them are also in the outdoors, hunting and fishing. So it was actually outside of hunting where the thoughts started to percolate.

I was getting frustrated in the hunting industry with the lack of innovation and lack of durability of goods. I just didn’t feel like it was on par with the newer, more progressive mountaineering brands. So while we were using a lot of mountaineering products for work, we would never use hunting gear because it just wouldn’t last. I started wondering why the mountaineering guys had figured it out but the hunting brands hadn’t. And that’s really where the idea of Forloh came from. I was spending at least $2,000 a year on gear and it wasn’t lasting a season.

I was really soul searching for something new. So I started to put pencil to paper and brainstormed it for a couple of years, until I got to a point where it was plausible for me to dive into this project. I went out and found a group of consultants from this industry—people who were into outdoor technical mountaineering and hunting apparel professionals. I basically threw them all into a room and said here’s my business thesis.

Forloh founder Andy Techmanski in the warehouse

What exactly was your business idea?

I said we want to build this to the utmost durability standard that we possibly can. We want to use only the newest and latest technologies and fabrics and textiles, and we want to build it here in the United States. Everybody was getting all excited until I said that last part. Then there was a lot of questioning looks on faces. We thought, this has never been done at the level we want to do it with as many SKUs as we want to launch, but hey, let’s try it.

So we ventured down this rabbit hole in 2019. And it took us a year to kind of figure out the U.S. supply chain and fashion together enough goods to launch on July 3, 2020. And it’s been a race ever since.

How did you come up with the name Forloh?

The name plagued me for months. Every time I thought I had a good idea, I would Google it and it would be like some school in Finland or some sort of religious cult. I thought I had it maybe 19 times. So I finally started noodling hard on acronyms. I literally woke up one morning at around 3:45 a.m., and I was just laying in bed, unable to sleep because I was going through all these acronyms in my head. And then FORLOH—which stands for “for love of hunting”—came to mind.

Bowhunter wearing Forloh soft shell jacket in tree stand

That actually means something—it’s more than just a name. I tell people that “for love of hunting” means more than hunting in its physical sense. It’s the total embodiment of your outdoor experience. We all feel it, whether we’re hunters, fishermen, hikers, mountain climbers, whatever you are. It’s what’s over that next hill, what’s at the end of the trail, what you’re hunting for. It’s that next adventure. And that’s what we’ve become.

What was the first product you released?

We initially launched in July 2020 with a group of products: the AllClima line. As a hunting brand, we knew no one was going to commit to us with just one jacket. It’s kind of all or nothing with the hunting crowd, and I can appreciate that. So we started with the AllClima soft shell jacket, pants, and base layers.

Bowhunter wearing Forloh apparel

What makes Forloh unique?

We are a “no concessions” brand. That means we build everything to the utmost durability standard that today’s technology can possibly produce. There are a lot of brands out there using older technologies that have been around for a long time and just playing the marketing game of naming it something else to make it sound exciting. We don’t do that.

We come up with an idea where we see a need in the industry. Then we design it—and a lot of times over-engineer it—and then we build it. Wherever the price lands, the price lands. But it’s always going to be built to the furthest it could be built. And it’s always going to have the newest technologies. We aren’t going to play any games with names.

What are those technologies that you use in your gear?

We are the first brand in the world to launch Brrr Pro, and the first brand to implement two and three scent control technologies in a single garment. Nobody else has ever launched with two different antimicrobial technologies. We even added a third called Odor Crunch. We are also the first brand to launch with double pulse plasma in our waterproof membranes. I don’t think anyone has done it since.

Hunter wearing Forloh bino harness

And we’re the first hunting brand to use RECCO, a technology that makes you searchable to professional rescuers, which had been around for a decade in ski gear. We were literally mid-production on our first rain jacket when we identified that we could use RECCO. We chose to pull all the production back and retrofitted and redid all the hoods. Most companies would have said, yeah, RECCO is cool, let’s come out with a 2.0 version next year. That’s just not how we how we roll.

Forloh founder Andy Techmanski saltwater fishing

And Forloh is American-made?

Yeah, we’re made in the USA—fully sourced. That’s a huge differentiator because while there are other U.S.-made (or U.S. “cut and sew” brands), nobody’s doing it to the level that we’ve done it. That level is over 10,000 skews for men, women, and youth.

What are your favorite Forloh products?

I wear our sun shirts more than anything else we make (I’m actually wearing one right now). Because of the Brrr Pro cooling minerals, which are cold to the touch, you can immediately feel the technology. It’s pretty cool. Plus, it has our scent control systems. So if you don’t want to wash your clothes too much, wear our stuff because you can get four or five wears out of this stuff.

Especially in spring and warmer weather, I like our Insect Shield technology, which we we employ in sun shirts and our lightweight woven pants. I wear it every day for turkey season.

We tried it! Read Field & Stream’s full review of the Forloh Insect Shield line.

This soft shell jacket has long been our number one jacket. I wear it all the time because it breathes so well with a double pulse plasma technology. It feels really weird when you first wear it. The first time I did, I was unzipping my jacket thinking I was leaking. But no, it’s just an active membrane and everybody’s been wearing passive membranes their entire lives. When it rains, the fabrics contour to your body and you can really feel the breathability.

So what’s next for Forloh in 2024?

  • New camo
    We have a new camo coming out that we’re very excited about. I can’t tell you tell you much about it on the record, but it is being tested all over the world. I just got back from Scotland where it worked really well. It fills in a lot of the areas and seasons that our other camos kind of blur the lines with.
  • New product lines
    We also have two new lines coming out that will exponentially change the game. One is an insulation layer and the other one is more of a foundational piece that can be worn as an outside piece in all weather.
  • More affordable gear
    We’ve got a whole bunch of other pieces coming out that are evolving the brand, along with some stuff that’s waterproof and packable but isn’t going to break the bank. We’re trying to try to find more products that give people the ability to try the brand before they have to make an investment.
Hunters in the field wearing Forloh gear

What’s your favorite species to hunt?

That’s a hard question. I could tell you all the hunts I’m going on this year—I’m all over the world. I just got back from Scotland two days ago, and we’re heading out to the Bahamas to fish tomorrow. Then we come back and we got turkey hunting, then axis deer, and on and on.

But really, my heart is with elk hunting. It’s hard to beat elk hunting with a bow. That close encounter of a 700-pound animal and the experience of being able to communicate with them from sometimes a mile away or more. And then both the hunter and the animal closing the distance, coming to each other, and playing this kind of cat and mouse game. It’s hard to duplicate that with other animals.

Hunter wearing Forloh gear elk hunting

Any other species you’ve enjoyed hunting?

I’ve got a lot of close seconds. I was just part of a conservation effort in Scotland, where they actually grow a lot of forests and then chip them down into biomass. The Sika deer get into these forests and just multiply like bunnies and then seep out into farmland, competing for habitat. So we were part of an effort to cull a couple hundred Sika deer and I grew a very new appreciation for that animal. That was one of the hardest animals I’ve ever hunted. Extremely cagey, extremely susceptible to pressure, and will disappear like a ghost for days.

What’s been your most memorable hunt?

As a hunter, I’m always evolving. My daughter is 6 and my son is 11 now, and what’s becoming more memorable now is mentoring them and watching them become conservationists and hunters themselves. Recently, my son and I went to New Zealand and we were able to hunt various species. He is an exceptional shot, and he’s taken longer shots than I have in my entire life. Like 678-yard shots. He has no buck fever, no nervousness, and he can’t shut up. He talks through your whole shot. I love it.

Forloh founder Andy Techmanski and son hunting in New Zealand

So the most memorable hunts are the ones where I don’t even pull the trigger anymore. I watch my kids progress into the hunters they’re becoming. And now my daughter is in full competition with my son. My son was 7 when he shot his first deer, and she’s determined at 6 that she’s going to get it done before him.

What do you love most about hunting?

For us, it’s more than just the hunt. We cull and harvest a lot of animals throughout the year. I have a ranch in Montana that’s predominantly elk and a farm in Alabama, which is predominantly deer. We also get some ducks, quail, squirrels, and turkeys off it. Not to mention all the fish we catch. We’re eating this stuff five or six days a week. That means over 300 days a year we’re eating the animals we’re harvesting.

I think that’s important, especially to show this future generation coming up. We can give them these skills that are not going to be taught in a school or anywhere else in the world, other than through word of mouth and mentoring generation to generation.

Hunters wearing Forloh camo in the field

Why Trust Us

For more than 125 years, Field & Stream has been providing readers with honest and authentic coverage of outdoor gear. Our writers and editors eat, sleep, and breathe the outdoors, and that passion comes through in our product reviews. You can count on F&S to keep you up to date on the best new gear. And when we write about a product—whether it’s a bass lure or a backpack—we cover the good and the bad, so you know exactly what to expect before you decide to make a purchase.

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