Out of the 1000’s of exhibitors at the 2019 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market show these brands and products stood out from the rest and will surely continue to become industry leaders in going green.
Regardless 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.
#1. reDEW8 Jeans
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.
#2. DPS Phantom 2.0 Permanent Base Treatment
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.
#3. Jack Wolfskin
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. Be sure to keep the https://www.jack-wolfskin.com/Jack Wolfskin brand on your radar.
#4. Niche Snowboards
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.
#5. 686 Hydrastash Jacket
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 build 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.
#6. Phunkshun Wear
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.
#7. Meier Skis
The manufacturing of skis and snowboards for the most part if not sustainable, aside from brands like Meier Skis. How 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.
#8. Patagonia Responsible Shells Collection
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. Be sure to keep an eye out for this entire collection, especially the Patagonia Macro Puff Jacket…
#9. 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.
#10. Spark R&D Solar Powered Factory
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.
2018 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market Winners are below:
DENVER, CO – In years past we have given out awards for Editors Choice, Best of Show and so forth. This year I wanted to take a different approach and highlight products from the Outdoor Retailer 2018 Summer Market that are being made with green ethical standards, brands that are working toward reducing the harm we have placed on the environment and most importantly manufacturing of sustainable goods.
#1. Ruffwear – Restcycle™ Bed
First up on the list comes from our friends at Ruffwear. Ruffwear created the Restcycle™ Bed, a super comfy Baffled dog bed that’s filled with recycled foam that normally ends up in a landfill. The factory Ruffwear uses for manufacturing, also makes backpacks for another brand, so when Ruffwear saw a bunch of waste, they had an ah-ha moment, let’s use these punch outs to fill a dog bed. Say goodbye to dead spots as the Restcycle™ Bed will always have amble padding even if you have the sort of dog that likes to spin in circles endlessly before laying down. Even the removable cover is made of recycled good, kudos Ruffwear.
#2. Astral – Hemp Footwear
We can grow marijuana in the United States of America, however, we cannot legally grow hemp? Luckily brands like Astral are willing to source hemp from other countries to bring a line of hemp, recycled polyester shoes. The Hemp Baker, Hemp Loyak, and Hemp Maria shoes not only look good, they feel incredibly soft. Hemp takes less water to produce than cotton, offers great anti-microbial properties and can be used for hiking, casual walking and just about everything in between. If you haven’t tried on a pair of Astral’s your truly missing out.
#3. Toad&Co – eC0 standard
Starting in Spring of 2019 Toad&Co is taking an even more sustainable approach by announcing that 100% of all styles will not meet the companies eCo standard. Currently, 90% of their products are eco-friendly, made with organic cotton, hemp, recycled polyester, wool and more. Terms like bluesign® or STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® certifications will soon become the norm within the outdoor space. Does your favorite clothing brand have a similar message? If not it’s time to see what organic, natural materials feel like against your skin. Be sure to keep Toad&Co on your radar as this company is growing quickly with great products and a strong environmental – socially conscious brand message.
#4. Costa Sunglasses x Bureo – Recycled Fishing Net Sunglasses
It’s estimated around 640,000 tons of discarded fishing nets are left in the ocean every year. Old fishing nets are bad news, they have been known to kill dolphins, harm reefs and ever worse leave pollutants in the ocean which are worse than any other plastics out there. So when Costa Sunglasses teamed up with Buero to manufacture a line out high-end sunglasses out of used fishing nets, we got really interested. Turns out the sunglasses are made by recycling the old fishing nets into tiny pellets which then get molded into frames for sunglasses. How cool is that?
#5. SOLE – Recycled Cork Beds
How many corks does it take to make a pair of sandals? I’m not sure but what’s really cool is when a brand like SOLE can take a bunch of old wine corks and blend them together to create a pair of sandals or foot-beds out of the recycled materials. Do you recycle? Most likely the answer is yes, so the question becomes how much gear do you own that’s actually recycled? Ponder that for a second.. With recycled cork footbeds and sandals like these from SOLE, the feel is a bit on the stiff side which works best for people that have less mobility in their feet.
Kelty teamed up with Preserve, for their Camp Kitchen line which is 100% recycled Everyday Dishes that can be used and reused forever. The Camp Kitchen from Kelty is the first product in the Preserve’s line specifically designed for the outdoors. And it surely won’t be the last. Preserve not only makes stuff out of 100% recycled goods, they want your #5 plastic—such as yogurt cups and other common household containers to be recycled—via Preserve’s Gimme 5 program. All recycling and manufacturing is done in the USA taking #5 plastics and turning them into new Preserve products. Win- Win.
#7. Sherpa Adventure Gear – Lapka Jacket
The Lakpa Jacket from Sherpa Adventure Gear is a great high-end sustainable piece of outerwear that will rival all the big name manufacturers. Named after Lakpa Rita, the first Sherpa/gear tester to climb all the 7 summits, the Lapka Jacket is waterproof, breathable and has Nepalese inlays making this a super stylish jacket. Sherpa Adventure Gear got its OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certification which means the Lapka material, along with everything from the threads used for sewing to the inserts and even all non-textile stuff like buttons, zippers, rivets and more has been certified. Since 2003 Sherpa Adventure Gear has helped to provide quality working conditions and educational opportunities in Nepal including the Empowering women through meaningful employment in Nepal program.