All tagged Gear

The New Natural: Finding Fabric Innovation in Food Waste and Farming

There’s been a long-held belief that the subtext of “sustainable” is “brace yourself for sub-par performance.”

But as brands throughout the outdoor industry experiment with food waste, bioplastics, and other non-traditional natural fibers, they’re quickly finding incredible performance qualities inherent to organic materials that consumers have always tossed. From oyster, coconut, and macadamia nut shells to coffee grounds and scraps of cotton literally rescued from the cutting room floor, the next generation of outdoor product innovation isn’t invention—it’s reuse.

Read the full story from Outdoor Industry Association

The New Natural: Finding Fabric Innovation in Food Waste and Farming

There’s been a long-held belief that the subtext of “sustainable” is “brace yourself for sub-par performance.”

But as brands throughout the outdoor industry experiment with food waste, bioplastics, and other non-traditional natural fibers, they’re quickly finding incredible performance qualities inherent to organic materials that consumers have always tossed. From oyster, coconut, and macadamia nut shells to coffee grounds and scraps of cotton literally rescued from the cutting room floor, the next generation of outdoor product innovation isn’t invention—it’s reuse.

Read the full story from Outdoor Industry Association.

Bavarian Backpacks: Deuter Does it Again with Aircomfort Sensic System

Bavaria has the world’s most perfect snowflakes. If you hold out your mitten while hiking, you’ll have to do a double-take to make sure you haven’t accidentally collected tiny glass flakes carved by an artist.

Everywhere you look, there is storybook perfection in the shadow of Zugspitze, Germany’s tallest mountain, amid an outdoor culture a bit different from our own. You will, of course, find the stunning vistas you imagine when you think of the Alps: tree branches sagging under the weight of snow, castles jutting out of mountainsides, fog that adds an air of mystery to it all. But, you’ll also often find creature comforts we don’t associate with hiking.

Read the full story, sponsored by Deuter, at Backpacker.com.

Get Green or Die Trying: The Future is PFC-Free

One day in July 2017, the shake machine, which tests water resistant properties of hydrophobic down, had been going for 2,000 minutes. Samantha Lee, a then 21-year-old intern at bulk down supplier Sustainable Down Source (SDS), knew she was onto something. So far, the test results indicated that 33 hours of rain wouldn’t rob the feathers, which had been treated with a eco-friendly Durable Water Repellent (DWR), of their insulating properties.

Read the full story at OutsideOnline.com.

Return to glory: Neptune Mountaineering is stronger than ever under new ownership

On a Thursday night in Boulder, hundreds of outdoor enthusiasts crowd into crooked rows of metal folding chairs amid shelves of shoes, racks of sleeping bags, and a wall modeled after Eldorado Canyon and the Flatirons. They’ve paid $5 to watch a screening of Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey, drink free beer, and get a chance at some Patagonia swag being raffled off. 

Read the full story from SNEWS. 

In Search of the Do-It-All Travel Shoe

I have terrible feet. I did not know this until last fall, when I found out that some persistent heel pain was actually plantar fasciitis, which I didn’t even know you could get if you weren’t a runner. Turns out, I’ve also been wearing terrible shoes.

Around this time, I was planning a monthlong trip to Europe, where I knew I’d constantly be on my feet. I started looking at lists of travel shoes and was disappointed to find espadrilles, heels, ballet flats, and sneakers—nothing that was a do-it-all kind of shoe. I wanted to pack one pair, not seven. So I set out to find the best shoes for the traveler who wants to bring one or maybe two pairs on any adventure abroad.

I didn’t quite find the single “unicorn” pair of shoes I was looking for, but I did get pretty darn close. Here are the best, rated on a scale of one to five horns, where one is a one-trick pony and five is a magical, versatile unicorn.

Read the full story at Outside.

First Look: Wenzel's Shenanigan Teepee

I’ve never been much of a big tent kind of person. The idea of having some extra space is really nice, but big tents are usually heavy, bulky and complicated. Plus, who goes camping to hang out inside, anyway?

Enter Wenzel’s upcoming Shenanigan Teepee, available in both five-person and eight-person version models, in two hipster-friendly geometric patterns. I have been converted.

The Shenanigan isn’t an all-season tent, so it’s not a replacement for a waterproof option that will keep you dry and shield you from the wind in a rough storm. But on clear – and mostly-clear nights – it’s a great shelter regardless of how many people you’re putting into it.

Read my full review at Gear Institute.

The Next Outdoor Heirloom

I was commissioned to write this sponsored piece for Backpacker.com and Climbing.com.

Think about the most important object you own. How old is this thing? Who gave it to you?

It might be a pocketknife with a worn leather sheath, well-loved over years of DIY tent fixes and whittling sticks for marshmallow toasting. It might be a pair of your mom’s old hiking boots that you adopted and resoled after she hiked the AT. Or it might be a wallet your dad passed down to you when you were old enough to start adventuring on your own.

Whatever it is, it’s been durable enough to withstand years of memories. It might even be older than you.

Outdoor heirlooms like that are harder to come by now, in an age of mass production where “more” often beats “better.”

“Products are made to fail these days,” says Mark King, founder of Trayvax, which makes wallets, belts, and lanyards. “Products today are made of plastic, and they’re made to break. They never last long enough to take on meaning.”

Read the full story here.

Gifts for Hikers & Campers

Whether you’re shopping for a seasoned backpacker or a high schooler who’s just starting to venture outdoors and get into camping, we’ve got gift ideas to make everyone on your list psyched to head out on the trail before they’ve even finished opening the box.

Read my full guide, of 40 products for men and women, at gearinstitute.com.

Photo courtesy of Glerups.

Cotopaxi's Libre Sweater Doesn't Stink

You’ve no doubt heard of all the benefits merino wool has to offer, and you can likely recite them from memory. You’ve probably even have merino socks or baselayers in your closet. But llama wool? That’s not something you see every day.

Cotopaxi’s Libre Sweater has three key features that set it apart from other wool midlayers: First, it’s made entirely of llama wool. Second, it has wide perforations on the back, which open enough that whatever you are (or aren’t) wearing underneath shows through. And third, Cotopaxi actively discourages washing it.

Read the full story at Gear Institute.