It all started with a family camping trip at Namakan Lake.

When we founded our company in 2014, the name Namakan (rhymes with mannequin) wasn’t our first choice. However, after all the other ideas we tossed around were already trademarked, we needed to regroup. We’re not sure who said Namakan first, but it just felt right. As a Minnesota lake our co-founder, Maggie, spent a week every summer, once it was said, that was it. A Minnesota name, for a Minnesota company that’s all about embracing the outdoors. Done deal.

Like many of us 80s and 90s kids, our co-founder Maggie Davis and her brother Stephen grew up in a blended family. She's always said her parents did divorce "right"-- not a lot of drama and co-parenting with grace. When her mom remarried, things only got better. Her stepdad Steve and his two amazing daughters entered the picture seamlessly, instilling a love of nature and all things wildlife.

One of the biggest gifts they shared? An annual camping trip to Voyageurs National Park.

Located in northern Minnesota, they'd take the entire crew on a Namakan Lake adventure. They'd camp, cook, relax, hike, swim, catch things, fish, and bathe in the lake.

Maggie, her husband Keven, Steve and Caran at Lake Namakan.
Steve loved Namakan Lake and visited three times a year. It's the kind of place where stars seem to outnumber grains of sand, where you can fall asleep to a howl of a wolf (er.. maybe wake up to?), and not see another human being for days. To him, it was heaven on earth.
[Steve cooking up legendary Egg McMollners.]

 

In 2016, Steve started experiencing shortness of breath. After months of tests, they got an unimaginable diagnosis: ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. 

[1990s Steve. What a hunk!]

Within months, Steve went from doing CrossFit workouts and chopping wood at the cabin to wheelchair bound. While your mind remains fully intact, ALS gradually robs you of your ability to walk, speak, swallow and breathe. The life expectancy is 2-5 years. They call it death by a million paper cuts, and that couldn’t be more accurate.
[Steve and his brothers rocking Namakan gear. Definitely our target market!]

On August 8, 2018, Steve passed away at home, surrounded by his loving family. He was only 63.
The Stack/Davis/Mollner clan.

 
Namakan has taken on a whole new meaning for us.

It’s about honoring a great man, and spreading his love for the great outdoors through our brand. And to be perfectly honest, it’s also about building a company that we love, and that we’re happy to work on every day. Life is too short to spend your time doing things you don’t enjoy. 

[Steve and Maggie in August, 2018.]

In memory of Steve, Namakan is donating a portion of every sale to help find a cure for ALS. Currently, there’s no cure for ALS, but we’re hopeful the research funded through the ALS Association will soon change that.