If you really want to save winter in the years to come, spend your money with companies that are committed to better making the equipment we use.
Historically the manufacturing is dirty, not very environmentally friendly process. Interest in protecting the environment, especially the beautiful snowy winters that we love to play in, has led innovators to find ways to make the equipment we use more environmentally friendly.
Last winter we partnered with the founders of Picture Organic Clothing in Whitefish, Mont. To test their products via a snowcat and a yurt backcountry trip. The brand’s focus on moving away from environmentally harmful apparel manufacturing inspired us to seek out others on a similar mission. There is a little extra cost, so these are not for the bargain hunter, but for the earth warriors.
Here are a few companies leading the way.
Best environmentally friendly winter equipment
Image organic clothing: Demain jacket & pants
In 2008, three French childhood friends gave up their other careers and started a company again to disrupt the standard apparel manufacturing process. The founders are eliminating the use of fossil fuels in every possible way on aspects such as sourcing materials, using packaging and shipping.
The Demain Jacket and Pant, released in autumn, uses organically grown polyester, a PFC-free DWR treatment and the brand’s waterproof, breathable XPore membrane (made from recycled materials). Picture creates the membrane by mechanically stretching the material to create nanopores in which traditional membranes use chemicals. The membrane has a water column rating of 25,000 mm.
Check the jacket price at REICheck Pant Price at Backcountry
Spectrum: Eastern Bio RAW glasses
The Spektrum team, based in northern Sweden, works to create the most environmentally conscious snow goggles ever. The catch? This without sacrificing performance or functionality. All frames are mainly made from (over 60%) renewable, bio-based materials with dye injected. (Injected dye technology saves greenhouse gas emissions and is a safer alternative to dipping frames in aggressive solvents and coatings.)
But this winter, Spektrum is taking another environmentally conscious step forward with Östra Bio RAW. The new technology is a bio-based, biodegradable and polarized laminated lens technology that they call BIOptic. The lens offers 100% UV protection (UV400) and consists of 75% cellulose. The Östra Bio RAW does not use dyes in order to avoid non-essential chemicals in the product. These will be available in autumn 2021.
Check the price at Spektrum
MountainFLOW Eco Wax: Ski and snowboard racing wax
The team was founded in 2017 with a water-based anti-stick spray to minimize snow build-up on the cover sheets of skis and splitboards environmentally friendly glide wax also. According to the brand, it took 2 years and 200 formulations to develop a plant-based wax that could withstand petroleum-based wax. Since then, MountainFLOW has added a skin wax to its product line.
For 2021 MountainFLOW is launching a fluorine-free, race-specific wax with an exclusive hydrophobic ceramic nanotechnology. This 100% biodegradable wax complies with the prohibition of fluorinated waxes by the International Ski Federation (FIS).
Check the price at MountainFLOW
Grown skis: hemp core skis
Instead of the non-renewable glass or carbon fibers traditionally used in skis, Grown Skis use a 100% industrial hemp fiber and paulownia wood composite, as well as a sandwich core construction. Why? As it grows, hemp traps carbon dioxide, which contributes to the greenhouse effect that is causing climate change.
According to the Grown Skis website, “this new hemp technology reduces the ecological footprint of skis by about 47 percent compared to conventional, high-quality skis from the same production and sourcing in Europe.”
Check the price on grown skis
All good products: sunscreen & skin care
Scientific studies have shown that oxybenzone, a component of conventional sunscreens, is a major contributor to coral reef killing. Even if oxybenzone is used high in the mountains, it will not break down and eventually make its way to the ocean through the water cycle. The Morro Bay, Calif. Company has been a leader in the search for reef safe products since its inception in 2006.
Check the price on Amazon
Auclair Sports: Eco Racer Glove
This eco-friendly glove uses eco-friendly products throughout its construction. Similar to Auclair’s original Outseam gloveIt has a leather style and PrimaLoft insulation. The difference is in the outside – the surface of the glove is made of soft, durable, vegetable-tanned leather with Ariaprene eco-foam for impact protection. The glove has also been updated with a recycled polyester lining. And everything contains the new biodegradable silver insulation from PrimaLoft.
The cuff is even made of vegetable neoprene and is held together with hemp stitching. As Auclair cleverly claims: “The Eco Racer leaves a positive handprint with a minimal footprint.”
Check the price at Auclair
Houdini: Mono Air Houdi
If you haven’t heard of circular products, it’s time to start looking for them. This means that a company will take back the product after it has exceeded its useful life. This does two things: (1) keeps products out of landfills, where they can take hundreds of years to break, and (2) allows the company to reuse the materials to make a new product.
The Mono Air Houdi from Houdini in Sweden is one of these products. It uses Polartec Power Air Light fabric to minimize microfiber peeling when worn or washed. What’s the big deal about microfiber shedding? According to goodonyou.eco: “Plastic particles washed off products made from synthetic materials contribute up to 35% to the primary plastic that pollutes our oceans.”
Check the price in the backcountry
Kijaro: Native Comfort Chair
Kijaro used raw aluminum, 100% recycled REPREVE polyester and vegan leather. REPREVE is a polyester fabric made from recycled plastic bottles that the brand cleans and processes into tiny plastic chips. Kijaro then converts these chips into a recycled fiber and then into material.
Since Kijaro did not paint or anodize the aluminum (processes that can damage ecosystems), the aluminum can be recycled immediately at the end of the chair’s life cycle. There are no chemicals in this stool California Proposition 65 perform. Kijaro would like to do this with other products in the future.
Check the price at Kijaro
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