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A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.

- John James Audubon

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Gear

Feb 28, 2017

5 Brands at ISPO 2017 NOT Just Jumping on the “Eco-Bandwagon”

ISPO Munich 2017 had no shortage of technically advanced—and neon coloured, outdoor gear and clothing.

WRITTEN BY

Alyssa Fowler

But it was the brands with eco-friendly and sustainability embedded in their DNA that stood-out most.

Each year, over 2,600 international exhibitors in the outdoor, health and fitness, and adventure sports industry make their way to Munich to present their latest and greatest—at an overwhelmingly large event. Knowing the week (or this article) would not be long enough to spend time with every brand and list what they were bringing to the world for 2017, we were instinctively attracted to the brands sharing similar core values as us at The Outdoor Journal.

Experience, enjoy and above all protect the outdoors.

lifestyle_angostura_phil_1
Photo courtesy of Berg Outdoor

While some companies have seemed to hop on the “eco-bandwagon” for marketing purposes (not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, we’ll take their efforts either way), it was those that have these principles embedded everything they do that stuck out most during ISPO Munich 2017.

Patagonia

It comes as no surprise that Patagonia would be on this list. Known for decades as a heavyweight in the the outdoor industry as a company who’s pushed the boundaries on what a company should be and what it should stand for—especially by anyone who’s read Let My People Go Surfing, Patagonia has continued to question how they produce and how that affects the planet.

At this year’s ISPO, the Patagonia stand was not dedicated to their new ‘top of the line’ products and advances in design, but highlighted something that should go entirely against what a brand trying to sell, sell, sell, would do—get people to fix what they already own.


Worn Wear

The idea: take care of the clothes you already have so you don’t have to buy more. They also emphasise the stories behind your favourite clothes and how important it is to keep those memories—along with the jacket that you made them with.

Patagonia If it's broke

Patagonia CEO, Rose Marcario notes that this can be seen as a radical act, “fixing something we might otherwise throw away is almost inconceivable to many in the heyday of fast fashion and rapidly advancing technology, but the impact is enormous.” She said in a press release that “as individual consumers, the single best thing we can do for the planet is to keep our stuff in use longer.”

This year, they’ll be touring around in busses, not only to colleges, to fix your clothes for free and educate people on the benefits as they go. Find out where they’re going and when they’ll be close to you!
USA tour dates
European tour dates starting March 24th and will be announced March 9th (stay tuned!)

Berg Outdoor

Born in Portugal in 2002, Berg Outdoor understands that as an outdoor brand, protecting nature needs to be one of their main interests. They are a member of the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA), raising funds to give directly to conservation projects. Their efforts to find the ideal balance between the high-quality products expected by their consumers and the need to contribute to the planet was clear in their latest ISPO award winning sneaker.

The Jindo
A functional, reinvented version of the original model made 100% from natural and recyclable materials, including artisanal Portuguese Burel wool and cork.

More about who Berg Outdoor is and what they do here.

Houdini

For many years, this Swedish company has been trying to redefine what consumption should be for people. Not only do they rent shell garments and offer second-hand clothes for sale in their stores, thus enabling more people to use fewer products, but have focused their efforts on promoting a circular economy, where products are produced, used and disposed of in a circular system instead of a linear. They have devoted themselves to using as many recycled materials as possible (often from their worn-out products), and making their products easily repaired or recycled after use—no waste. They have even teamed up with Albaeco and the Stockholm Resilience Centre to initiate a holistic environmental evaluation: the first ever corporate Planetary Boundaries Assessment.

rental_3110 Houdini
Introducing rentals in 2013, it is now possible to rent shell garments from all Houdini stores. Photo courtesy of Houdini

Two of their most recent, highlighted products coming out later this year:

Made to move
“Made to Move” with the Houdini Rollercaoster

Rollercoaster
A completely circular product. It’s made from recycled polyester and is fully recyclable. The jacket also features a wax-based water repellent that’s completely free of fluorocarbon (a toxic substance often used as a coating or inside the fabrics themselves which causes harm to both people and the environment). The coat is designed to be easily repairable, but is also intended to be a breakthrough in it’s wearer feeling free to move more than any other before it.

“When we created our most advanced hard shell we wanted to change the way it feels to wear a shell. To achieve a feeling of full freedom of movement, we had to rethink the foundations of the design process. Instead of a traditional 2-dimensional pattern construction, we decided to drape the garment from a single piece of fabric on a body replicating the movements of mountaineering and freeride skiing.” says Jesper Danielsson at Houdini Design Team.

The Cloud
This progressive insulation garment is fully recyclable—at the same level as a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle, and made with recycled polyester. Also using the same fluorocarbon-free water repellant as the Rollercoaster, it is designed to keep you warm and dry whether you’re walking around the city or on a mountaineering expedition. It’s many buttons even enables the wearer to transform it into a blanket, elephant foot for your sleeping bag, a pillow and a baby sleeping bag.

Find out more about all the projects Houdini is involved in to protect our most valuable resource here.

Picture Organic Clothing

Started by three childhood friends from very different backgrounds, the goal was to build their dream outerwear company up from a base of being an environmental action outdoor brand—all product design and principles had to stem from that purpose. They are continuously challenging design practices which has earned them multiple product innovation awards at ISPO, their latest highlight being their most eco-friendly wetsuit.

Picture Organic wetsuits

Picture organic wetsuitPicture Eco Suits
Searching for an alternative to the rarely recyclable and polluting neoprene found in most wetsuits (other companies like Patagonia and Vissla making a big push towards this being set as the norm in wetsuits as well), they cut their carbon footprint in half by inventing NaturalPrene stretch technology—85% natural rubber from a Malaysian plantation and 15% synthetic chlorine-free rubber (made from plants), and adding micro particles to allow it to stretch up to 4 times its size. It boasts maximum comfort and ultra-fast drying. They have the suits available in a wide-range of styles and for both men and women.

For the story behind Picture Organic Clothing and everything else they’re up to, check out their website.

prAna

responsible-forrest-rtPrAna
Forests before fabrics. Photo courtesy of PrAna.

As they’ve done for more than 20 years, this Californian brand centres itself around clothing and gear made with intention—carefully designing every detail to both complement people’s active lifestyles while still considering the needs of tomorrow. Their very first products were even labelled with homemade tags made from recycled paper and the orders shipped in leftover fruit boxes from local grocery stores. As of one of the first major apparel companies to offer Fair Trade certified clothing, they have continued with their commitment in offering more bluesign® certified lines, introducing the use of traceable, responsible down (according to the independent Responsible Down Standard – RDS) and PFC-free durable water repellent (DWR) into production. They have also done a lot of work to promote working with hemp in their own clothes and trying to give it a new, up-graded reputation in the industry.

responsiblePrAna
PrAna products are 100% Responsible Down. Photo courtesy of PrAna.

Hemp
Being called a “kind of wonder crop”, hemp doesn’t require any chemical pesticides, fertilisers or treatments during cultivation, harvest and processing. This makes it safer for the farmers that grow it as well as the land it’s grown on and makes it easier for people to answer the questions consumers are starting to care more about: where did this come from and what is its impact?

To find out more about PrAna’s commitment to sustainability and all the many ways they’re making a difference, head to their website.

Are there any brands we didn’t speak to that you think have always had eco-consciousness and sustainability at the core of what they do? Let us know who they are and why in the comments.

 

Feature image courtesy of Berg Outdoor.

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Events

Jul 10, 2018

The 2018 Whitewater Awards: Nouria Newman and Benny Marr take the spoils.

The Whitewater Awards is a gathering of the world’s best kayakers to show off the biggest and best things that have happened in the sport over the past year.

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WRITTEN BY

Brooke Hess

 To be considered for an award, athletes, photographers, and filmmakers submit media taken over the past year that they believe showcases the best progression in the sport.  

There are sixteen different categories for submission, including separate male and female categories within the “Best of” kayaking categories. Categories include Photographer of the Year, Film of the Year, Expedition of the Year, Best Trick, Best Line, River Stewardship, Grom of the Year, Rider of the Year, along with several others.  Awards are decided upon by a voting process done by the Association of Whitewater Professionals.

This year’s Whitewater Awards was held in the Egyptian Theater in downtown Boise, Idaho. It was hosted on June 14th, the same weekend as the North Fork Championships, which takes place on the North Fork of the Payette River just outside of Boise.  The North Fork Championship is regarded as one of the hardest kayaking races in the world.

The race takes place on Jacob’s Ladder rapid, which is a rapid so difficult and consequential that most kayakers feel accomplished simply by surviving the rapid, much less racing the rapid. Nouria Newman, a 3-time NFC racer and winner of this year’s Whitewater Awards Female Rider of the Year describes it well,

“The NFC is the hardest race in whitewater kayaking. [Jacob’s Ladder] is a scary, consequential rapid. Running it is challenging, and it only gets harder to race it and make the gates.”

In order to minimize the risk involved in the race, event organizers have developed a strict qualification process for racers. 30 racers will qualify to race Jacob’s Ladder. Ten of them are pre-qualified from placing top ten at the event the year before. Those ten then read numerous athlete applications and vote on the next ten racers who will join them.  The last ten racers are decided through a qualification race on S-Turn rapid, another one of the North Fork’s infamous class V rapids.

Every year on this same weekend in June, kayakers, photographers, and filmmakers from around the world flock to Idaho to celebrate quality whitewater, progression of the sport, and the community that surrounds it. Both the North Fork Championship and the Whitewater Awards had great turnouts of athletes and spectators this year.

John Webster

The finalists of each category in the Whitewater Awards were presented in film format at the Egyptian Theater for the entire audience to view, with the winner being announced live. Winners were presented with an award and expected to give a short speech at the event. The big winners of the night were Nouria Newman and Benny Marr, who were awarded with Line of the Year and Rider of the Year in the female and male categories. Nouria says that voting for the “best” in each category is a challenging process, “…voting is always tricky, (look at both French and U.S. presidents, not too sure if they are really the best available option). And it is also very hard to compare lines and rapids. What’s bigger? What’s harder? I got voted Best Line of the Year with a good line down Parque Jurassic, a long technical rapid, but Rata’s line down Graceland, which is a huge slide, was equally as good, if not better.”

No matter how tricky the voting process can be, Nouria agrees that the Whitewater Awards plays a large role in the progression of the sport, “I think it’s super cool to see what people can do in their kayak, how they push the limit of the sport and how they open new possibilities.”

For more information about the Whitewater Awards, you can visit whitewaterawards.com, you can also follow them on Facebook and on Instagram.

You can follow Nouria on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

You can follow Benny on Facebook and Instagram.

Cover photo courtesy of Ari Walker

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