Mountain Adventurers Turn Lifestyle into Full-Time Job and Nationwide Brand
Eric Whiting loves to wander in the woods. Specifically, he loves to wander through the woods of Colorado, surrounded by mountains, immersed with wildlife experiencing all that nature has to offer. And as a child in Glenwood Springs, Whiting wanted to do more than listen to hunting stories—he wanted to have adventures of his own.
As an adult, Whiting and his partner Bill Vanderheyden founded Iron Will Outfitters with the goal of elevating the outdoor experience by creating high quality broadheads for bowhunters who love the chase. “Bowhunting allows me to delve deeper into the outdoor experience I fell in love with as a child,” Whiting explains. “Like most hunters, I’m inspired by what surrounds me here in Colorado. That inspiration drives me daily to keep moving forward and creating products that are as high quality as science allows. It all stems from living here.”
Iron Will Outfitters was founded on a happen-chance encounter during Whiting’s second year bowhunting when he shot his first animal with a bow and met fellow bowhunting enthusiast Bill Vanderheyden. The two stayed in touch, shared wilderness experiences and eventually launched the business in 2016. Whiting has a marketing background and Bill has an engineering background with 50 patents to his name.
Arrowheads made by Iron Will Outfitters are engineered to be highly accurate while penetrating as deeply as possible which in turn ensures that the animal goes down quickly and easily. Made from A2 Tool Steel, the broadheads endure a special proprietary process that optimizes it even further.
“Customers across the country choose our broadheads because they don’t want to risk not getting an animal by using a sub-par product. In fact, the top reason customers give for purchasing from Iron Will Outfitters is that they had a poor performing broadhead the year before,” said Whiting.
Whiting places the key to their success squarely in Bill’s hands. “Bill is truly an amazing engineer who knows the entire process from design to testing to production. He takes the results from our labs and from out in the field and transforms them into an incredible product.”
Working with the State of Colorado was a boon too, notes Whiting. “Every single interaction was really smooth. They answered every question we had, which was quite a few because we were going in blind. It was awesome to have someone on the other end of the line that was eager to help and was a wealth of information. Afterward, we knew exactly what to do. And the best part was that they answered our questions with an eye towards our success.”
Iron Will Outfitters, headquartered in Carbondale, currently has two patents pending and is busy with product development because customers continually ask for expanded broadhead options. Though currently just a team of two, Whiting confides with an endearingly quiet optimism that they don’t have plans to hire right now, but that they “can’t wait until we do.”