Every brand has a story. Atlantic Rancher‘s is one of hard work, integrity, and life in the American outdoors. Founded by Engle Saez in the mid 1990s, Atlantic Rancher makes products inspired “Ideas From A Lifetime At Sea” and by individuals by who they call their Atlantic Ranchers, a collection of relatives and outdoorsmen who spent their days on the waters and marshes of the East Coast and far beyond.
True authenticity is hard to find in a world where outdoors wear is more of a fashion statement than a necessity. Hunting jackets and work boots are often worn to portray a connection with a rugged lifestyle, rather than assisting one to fulfill it. But Atlantic Rancher seems to connect the dots by offering premium outdoors wear that pays homage to the real ones out there conquering the wild.
We connected with Engle to discover the history of Atlantic Rancher and the philosophy behind its rugged products.
Call Back to Uncle Jack
Engle grew up immersed in outdoor life, going on countless excursions and adventures across the Atlantic coast. Marlin Fishing, waterfowl hunting, clamming, and oystering are pastimes Engle enjoyed under the guidance of his Uncle, Jack Scheimreif. Remembered fondly as simply Uncle Jack, Engle’s mentor features on the logo for Atlantic Rancher and remains a key inspiration for the brand’s philosophy.
“That’s my Uncle Jack. He’s my mentor. He’s the guy who taught me everything I know about living along the Atlantic coast and making a living. All that stuff.”
The idea to found Atlantic Rancher came to Engle when he was working in a senior marketing role for Timberland back in the eighties. It wasn’t long that this idea became an obsession that Engle describes as a gravitational pull, leading him to begin building the Atlantic Rancher brand in 1995. The brand was launched as a direct-to-consumer catalog, selling rugged outdoors wear inspired by Engle’s upbringing and his passion for life in the wilderness.
Getting a DryHandle® On It
Atlantic Rancher grew rapidly. Its visually stunning catalogs featured original photographs taken by the brand and rich stories that tapped into the essence of each garment. In addition to work shirts and practical accessories like clam knives and gun cases, Atlantic Rancher developed its own proprietary fabrics with its mills, most notably DryHandle®.
Inspired by an extremely durable cotton tarp that Engle had as a teenager, Atlantic Rancher developed DryHandle® with Manchester’s British Millerain mill. DryHandle® is a durable, 100% cotton fabric that has similar properties to waxed cotton—strong, thornproof, and water-resistant—but without the additional weight, odor, and tendency to dry out. It was made by bathing long-staple cotton yarns in a solution that makes them inherently water-resistant and then tightly weaving them into a fabric that contains microscopic pores for breathability. Atlantic Rancher applied this revolutionary fabric to its collection of popular outerwear and even used it to reinforce elbows on sweaters.
Atlantic Rancher looked set for long-term success, but some issues relating to investors forced Engle to shut the brand down after only 4 years in 1999. Heartbroken, Engle went back into the marketing business.
A New Beginning
The urge to give Atlantic Rancher another go gnawed away at Engle for almost two decades. He sensed the time was right when he noticed the wave of rugged, outdoor wear that had gripped the American fashion industry. Having retained the intellectual property for Atlantic Rancher along with an original sample of every product the brand ever made, Engle — along with his wife of 20 years and every bit the outdoorsmen that he is — re-launched Atlantic Rancher in the fall of 2019.
“You have to have an ability to march forward into the unknown, and not be afraid of it. You gotta keep your foot on the gas and surround yourself with the right people.”
Philosophy of Atlantic Rancher
Engle understands that Atlantic Rancher’s premium-priced product may be beyond the reach of some. But for those willing to invest in goods that are likely to last a lifetime, that is his target audience. Highly principled, Atlantic Rancher pays homage to what the brand calls its ‘Atlantic Ranchers’.
Atlantic Ranchers. These are the people: the lobstermen of Downeast Maine, the Oystermen of Long Island Sound, the reed cutters of England’s Norfolk Broads, the Watermen of the Chesapeake and the conch divers of Bimini. Theirs is a life of challenge, perseverance, and salt air…where the tides are the primary measure of time and the ocean yields nothing without a struggle. Like generations before, they endure the uncharitable tidewaters of the Atlantic and carve a life of unusual reward from this ever-challenging salt earth — a place they are resolved to live and experience the kind of satisfaction from a full-day’s work that is independent of others’ interpretation. It is this heritage, spirit, and character that inspires our Company and every product we build.
The brand admits that they aren’t designers. They don’t pour over mood boards of the latest fashion or on-trend color palettes, they don’t use professional models in their photos, they simply build what they believe to be functional, solid clothing, inspired by a lifetime at sea. And they want to look after those who trust in them by offering garments that will last a lifetime with personable customer service to boot. Engle even answers the Atlantic Rancher number himself and is always on hand to discuss his products.
Atlantic Rancher Today
Having only re-launched in 2019, Atlantic Rancher is only just getting started. As well as building new products, Engle is in the process of selecting original products from his 90s catalogs and tuning them up to slot into the modern day with updated fits and even better hardware.
Engle managed to reconnect with the same factories that produced its product in the 90s, meaning Atlantic Rancher is still able to produce its garments in small quantities in Portugal. Some of the brand’s accessories are made in the USA, with its leather wallets being sewn up by a cobbler in Seattle.
The Boatyard Jacket
Constructed from Atlantic Rancher’s proprietary 6 oz. DryHandle® fabric, the Boatyard Jacket is inspired by generations of The Marblehead Boatyard boys – Lars, Dinsy, and others that still work there today. It’s a no-nonsense work jacket filled with light polyester insulation and loaded with details that make it a piece that you’ll want to throw on daily. Broad-fitting with gusseted shoulders for increased range of movement, large patch pockets to stuff your gloves or beanie in, and tab adjusters at the hip to customize the fit. The cuffs are even gusseted with SuperDux fabric allowing extra room for layering to chunky gloves.
Each Boatyard Jacket is made in Portugal and finished with Corozo buttons, a broad funnel collar, internal concealed pockets, and a branded woven patch.
Available from Atlantic Rancher for $320.
Saltwash Flannel Shirt
Atlantic Rancher’s Saltwash Flannel Shirt pays homage to work shirts that have spent years in the open ocean, battered by salt spray and looking all the better for it. Made from a yarn-dyed Portuguese twill — brushed on both sides and salt-washed for a worn-in look and feel — each shirt is sewn up in Portugal in the same small family-owned shop it was built in 25 years ago.
A classic point-collared work shirt with the perfect hem length to wear tucked or untucked, the Saltwash Shirt is constructed with double-needle construction and comes with dual chest pockets, corozo buttons, and bar-tack reinforcements in the key stress points.
Available from Atlantic Rancher for $128
The Boatyard Pant is another piece from Atlantic Rancher inspired by the Boatyard Boys of Marblehead, MA. Constructed from a heft 12 oz. cotton twill with 2% elastane for comfort, the boatyard pant features a slim-straight fit with just enough room in the right places. They’re built with a guessed crotch and deep side pockets, button-fly, and nifty cellphone pocket.
Garment dyed and sewn in Portugal, each pair is finished with bar tack reinforcements in the key stress points and a custom branded tag in the right pocket.
Available from Atlantic Rancher for $128
Learn more about Atlantic Rancher on their website.