Frogg Toggs: Comfort and Innovation for the Outdoors

June 27, 2023

By Greg McCain

“Keeping folks comfortable in their outdoor pursuits” is a prevailing theme of Alabama-based outdoor apparel company Frogg Toggs.

Best known for their rain wear, Frogg Toggs offers an ever-expanding line of rainsuits that keep sportsmen dry. The use of the unique fabrics associated with the brand are common among fishermen, hunters, and other outdoor enthusiasts, but what many consumers do not realize is that Frogg Toggs involves much more than just rain gear.

The Arab, AL, enterprise, which started a short distance away in Guntersville in 1996, features apparel and outdoor-related accessories designed for comfort and efficient use among outdoorsmen. Frogg Toggs recently came on board as a sponsor for the third annual Big Crappie Bash, sponsored by Crappie Cove and ACC Crappie Stix, held in April on Watts Bar Lake in Tennessee.

The “keeping folks comfortable” mantra is a common one revealed in company literature and in news items about Frogg Toggs. Director of Marketing Will Fowler emphasizes the “comfort” idea in discussing the past and future plans of the company.

“That is a goal of Frogg Toggs,” he said. “We design and market products with fishermen, hunters, and others who enjoy the outdoors in mind.”

Dating back to the mid 90s, the brand emerged from a chance meeting at an Alabama football game played fittingly enough in persistent rain. The meeting of Will’s father, Phil Fowler, and a Kappler, Inc., salesman at a game in Tuscaloosa proved to be the origins of Frogg Toggs.

Kappler, which remains a leading manufacturer of chemical suits and other protective outerwear, had patented a unique product originally designed to protect doctors from deadly viruses. A byproduct of the design was the waterproof nature of the fabric.

“It was impervious to various viruses,” Will said, adding that there had been little or no thought about a potential marketing application as rainwear.

The Kappler salesman had several rainsuits fashioned out of the product and offered them to Will’s dad and his friends for use during the game.

“At the end of the game, my dad and his friends were all dry, and that struck a chord with them,” Will said. “They realized that the fabric had some potential as a waterproof consumer product.”

The line launched in April of 1996.

At the time, Will was working his way through college, earning a degree at the university but also completing an equally important part of his education as an employee of Tony and Emma Laws at Woods & Water, an iconic outdoors retailer in Tuscaloosa. 

“I really had no idea how Frogg Toggs would do when it first started,” Will said. “I worked at Woods & Waters there in Tuscaloosa and learned so much about the retail business from them. I worked with distributors that I still work with today.

“My formal education was great, but I learned more in those 3 ½ years I worked with them than I did in college. My degree is important to me, but that experience I gained at Woods and Water is equally important.”

While at Woods & Water, Will made connections with legendary outdoor figures like Roland Martin and Harold Knight. Some of those relationships are still alive today. Roland remains a fixture on the Frogg Toggs pro staff.

A call from another outdoor legend, bass angler Basil Bacon, proved to be pivotal to the long-term success of the company. Basil had started using the new products shortly after they came on the market and offered some suggestions for improvements.

More importantly, he connected Frogg Toggs with Johnny Morris, whose Bass Pro Shops brand was on its way to becoming the nation’s leader among outdoors retailers.

“Basil Bacon told Johnny Morris that ‘you’re really missing out if you don’t sell this raingear’,” Will said. “That was our big break late in ‘97.”

The inclusion in Bass Pro Shops “provided us momentum moving forward,” Will said.

The company had started production in a small facility in the city of Guntersville, but the early success prompted rapid change. A move in 2001 from the original location to a larger facility on Georgia Mountain, located between Guntersville and Arab, provided room for growth but only for a short period of time. The company quickly outgrew the 10,000-square foot facility and expanded only two years later. Subsequent growth demanded another move to the current location on the outskirts of Arab in 2005.

The Arab complex, home to about 75 full-time employees, covers 140,000 square feet with more expansion plans already in the works.

“When we built that 10,000-square foot facility between Guntersville and Arab,” Will said, “I thought we might be able to make two million dollars of sales out of there. I thought that we might be able to do really well. A couple of years later, I’m thinking five or six million. That was really the start of the growth and expansion for us.”

Part of the growth of the company involved an expanded product line. Aside from the distinctive raingear, the introduction of waders was also integral to the further emergence of the company.

“Frogg Toggs became one of the world’s largest manufacturers of rain wear and wade wear,” Will said.

The company followed suit with other products like the Chilly Pad, an innovative cooling product that remains a top seller.

“We developed the personal cooling market around 2012 with the Chilly Pad,” Will said, “and we continued to grow and expand the product line.”

Other products offered by the company include hunting and fishing bags, including models for transporting crossbows and compound bows. A shoe line is another part of the Frogg Toggs lineup that Will says has great potential for growth over the next few years.

“We have a full line of hunting boots, casual footwear, and marine performance footwear,” he said.

All Frogg Toggs products can be found on most of “the major outdoors-related dot coms” or through the company’s website at

While the major names like Bass Pro Shops and Amazon remain vital to the overall sales of Frogg Toggs products, Will said smaller retailers are also important to the brand.

“They are really the backbone and really got us started,” he said. “We’ve never taken our eye off those mom-and-pop stores. We want to make sure we continue to support them as well as the big ones.”

So what is the future for Frogg Toggs? Part of the plan involves expanded movement into social media marketing. While traditional outdoor figures like Roland Martin and Chris Lane are importan parts of the pro staff, other names like local YouTube sensation Andrew Nordbye (also an ACC Crappie Stix pro staffer) carry the Frogg Toggs brand to a new generation of consumers.

“We want to align with the influencers and ambassadors with a similar moral compass, a similar set of values,” Will said.

New product development and company acquisitions are also part of the Frogg Toggs future. While Will would not hint about future developments, he confirmed that they are certainly part of the plan.

“We always look for new products and look for acquisitions, small companies that align with our core strategies,” Will said. “We’re looking to hire new employees and acquire new businesses.”

“We have some exciting opportunities, continuing to diversify the product line. We have some products that we have been testing, most strongly based around the fishing industry.”

Will said Frogg Toggs will continue to serve “the same customers” regardless of the type of product, and that commitment to the outdoors comfort of the company’s customer base is something that will likely never end.