By: Logan Reavis @itsloganmarie
Backpacking and camping gear can be expensive. Investing in gear that can be used for years and keeping it from the landfill takes some intention: keeping your gear clean, repairing it, donating, and making it last as long as possible.
At Gregory Mountain Products, we make quality gear that can be passed down generation after generation. Not only is our gear built to last, the materials it is made from are high quality, and responsibly made. For us, that means creating quality packs over mass quantities. We have three pillars of sustainability to hold ourselves accountable: What we Build, How we Build, and Why we Build.
Every year we review our sustainability scorecard and constantly are making improvements and improvisations to be better contributors to our planet. In this blog post, you will learn more about how to make a pack last a lifetime, and what we’re doing to create quality products with sustainability in mind. Let’s get into it!
Pack Care and Cleaning
Get back from a sweaty hike and wonder why your pack stinks? Keeping your gear clean will make your pack last longer by preventing it from breaking down. Tips for caring for your pack:
-Use a rain cover, even in the sun! All synthetic materials are prone to deterioration from UV rays. Even though the packs are coated to withstand UV and long-term exposure to the sun. The sunshine can beat down on a pack on longer hikes, breaking down the material over time. A rain cover never hurts. Plus some of our packs already come with them! Shop rain covers here.
-Clean your pack by using a damp washcloth and wiping off mud and debris after a hike. Let it air dry in a cool dark place.
-For the deepest clean, soak the pack in the bathtub with a mild soap. Rinse the pack in clean water, blot and ring the water out, hang to dry in your shower (never in the sun).
-If you need support visit the care and cleaning portion of our website we have step by step instructions for our packs and 3D Hydro Reservoirs
How to Re-Purpose Well-Loved Gear
If you find yourself wanting to upgrade gear, get a new pack, there are many options for passing on your pack instead of putting it into the landfill. Our packs come with a lifetime warranty, so repair always if possible instead of buying a new one!
-re-sale your pack to a used gear shop if it is in working condition
-donate it to a beginner who is looking to try out backpacking
-donate to a youth group or homeless shelter
-repair your pack with new parts (buckles that break, new zipper)
How Gregory Reduces the Carbon Footprint of a Pack
All packs made by Gregory go through a lifecycle analysis. From start to finish, the energy is calculated based on the input and output of making a backpack. This helps us recognize where we can make a difference for the environment by reducing our overall footprint.
Our Resin backpack is the first of its kind made of recycled materials. The Resin pack has a 57% reduction in carbon footprint compared to a conventional nylon pack.
The process of fine-tuning a quality pack on our end changes over time. This requires new concept models, testing them in the field, and evaluating them over and over again.
In 2018 we altered our shipping process for the Deva and Baltoro pack, which resulted in a 21% improvement in our shipping efficiency. To do this we ship fewer containers and less air, burning less fuel during transport from our factories to warehouses. Most recently we use a biodegradable polyethylene bag instead of cardboard. This saves 7,850 pounds of virgin cardboard from the landfill every year!!
Instead of buying new gear every year, it is important to consider the impact that might have on the planet. While our gear might improve over time, our gear is built to last. Handing it down to a new backpacker, repairing the item, or donating it are great ways to ensure the pack gets the most use over time.
At Gregory, we take this very seriously. As we continue to make quality gear, our commitment to sustainability will increase and improve. We hope this article helped you understand how to be a better outdoor steward in relation to your well-loved gear.
Have tips on making your pack last longer? We would love to hear it in the comments below.