sRegardless of how much greenwashing the outdoor industry promotes, the manufacturing of skis, snowboards, hardgoods and soft goods, for the most part, is toxic to our environment. Some brands are making a stand by creating gear using recycled goods, some are using renewable resources while others are focusing on the overall footprint their manufacturing process creates and a few select brands are even taking a stand on Fair-trade practices.
Outdoor Retailer Show Environmental Awards 2019
Staying hydrated in the winter is much tougher than the summer. Just think how many times you wake up after riding or skiing with a dry mouth. 686 wants to change that while saving a ton of waste in the process. The new 686 Hydrajstash Jacket has a built-in 25 oz. hydration reservoir that sits in the waist area as opposed to other reservoirs that sit on your shoulders. So why is this green? 686 hopes to cut down on waste at ski resorts by ditching the tiny little water cups in the day lodge, by instead just rocking your 686 Hydrastash Jacket with a built-in supply of water. I can see this being super rad to hydrate on a chairlift, gondola or heck even mid-run.
DPS Skis introduced their Phantom Wax last year which won a ton of awards. Recently studies have come out showing high levels of toxic Elevated perfluorocarboxylate levels in humans after using fluorinated ski wax. You know the sort of wax you need to open windows when applying. Worse yet people living near facilities that manufacture these waxes are even seeing higher levels of Perfluorooctanoic Acid in their water sources. So why does the DPS Phantom 2.0 Work, once applied you will never need to wax your skis or boards again. Traditional iron on wax only lasts for months if not shorter before needing to be re-applied. Best of all you can now apply the DPS Phantom 2.0 Base Glide Treatment at home in direct sunlight, although the UV machine shown here looks pretty darn rad available at local ski shops around the globe.
Patagonia has always and will continue to be an industry leader in going green. For 2020 Patagonia is launching a line of 100% recycled gear that is also the first in the industry to be manufactured in fair-trade facilities. When people think recycled gear, soft and quite are typically not things that come to mind. Patagonia wants to change that with a line of goods that a soft feel and lots of stretch and flex in the material, even while being 100% recycled. Both the Ascensionist Jacket and Macro Puff will be uber-popular this year with the Macro Puff most likely selling out quickly. In fact, the piece was not even technically shown at the show as Patagonia was worried they would not be able to fulfill orders in all sizes, so they held the product back. This says something.
With the world’s first 100% recycled apparel line, Jack Wolfskin is surely set to be a big player in the outer world space moving forward. The Texapore Ecosphere recycled collection features a ton of green initiatives including the use of fleece made of recycled bottles. The entire 2020 apparel line including bags, and packs are 100 percent PFC free. Even with the materials being recycled on the apparel this outwear still offers a nice soft yet flexible feel. The days of stiff recycled plastic bottle jackets are long gone.
One of the brands that stood out the most at the show which totally flies under the radar is Niche Snowboards. Niche-based in Salt Lake City, Utah has a zero waste snowboard factory that recycles all of its used materials. This is something the entire industry should strive for. Niche uses a process called Recyclamaine which is able to reuse their epoxy resins. All these materials can be broken down via Niche Snowboards secret sauce allowing the materials to be repurposed and recycled. The only question becomes can green snowboards hold up in terms of durability.
Everyone loves a good story about the little guys turning into a successful business owner. That’s surely the case with Phunkshun Wear makers of some of the most comfortable face masks out there that are now made 100% out of recycled water bottles. If Phunkshun can make recycled material feel this cozy against your face the entire industry should be taking note. Phunkshun Wear founder Lonny Goldwasser started the company while working as a ski instructor in summit county Colorado. Instructors spend a lot of time on snow and now what works and don’t. Phunkshun Wear is the industry leaders in face masks and for good reason, they truly work, and not just for skiing and riding but can be used year round.
The manufacturing of skis and snowboards for the most part if not very healthy to the environment. So how exactly is Meier Skis able to commit to being green? Well, they use reclaimed pine beetle kill for the wood in their skis. These trees are essentially standing dead and primed for major forest fires. The wood is not usable in the traditional lumber mills and has limited use, that is until Meier skis started using this existing natural resource to help make their skis. With the use of pine beetle wood in the core, when skiing on Meier skis you get a nice flex and rebound to the ski. Best of all these guys can even make custom graphics for your skis. This smaller company will soon be taking a big chunk out of the ski industry market share om terms of ski quality and popularity. Meier Skis based in Colorado has seen great growth year after year.
2019 is a big year for a company you’ve most likely never heard of until now, reDEW8. reDEW8 is the makes of jeans that use no cotton. Zero Cotton it’s called saves around 1,800 gallons of water per jeans by simply using renewable fibers instead of cotton, for these jeans reDEW8 is instead using denim woven from wood fibers. Yes, you head that right, wooden jeans, that are super soft to the touch with a lightweight feel.
Spark R&D makers of the most reliable and durable splitboard bindings on the market has committed to going green by purchasing solar panels to help power their manufacturing facility in Bozeman, MT. These 50kW solar panels are able to offset about 25% of Spark’s energy consumption by using unused space on the roof of their new manufacturing facility. For other brands or business looking to go green like Spark R&D there are tons of programs available out there that will even help to pay for the cost of installing these panels. Another way to do something similar is to request green energy from your local power company. We made the switch to using wind power at our office via the local energy company and only saw a slight increase to our electric bill to the tune of around $100 extra per year. If Spark R&D can power C&C machines with solar, the rest of the industry should be able to follow.
Primaloft Bio Insulation
How does 100% recycle, biodegradable synthetic insulation sound? Primaloft has set out to make insulation a little less harmful to the environment by offering a new line of insulation known as PrimaLoft® Bio that is not only made of 100% recycled materials, more importantly, this material is now biodegradable. Current test show 80% of the PrimaLoft® Bio is biodegradable in 395 days. What’s cool about this material is it can even biodegrade in the ocean, where so much of our consumer goods end up. Synthetic insulation is around us at all times from our gloves to our jackets, sleeping bags and even our beds use these materials for warmth. The one question becomes will this biodegradable material hold up to heavy use in a puffy per say. Most likely the answer is yes.