Ethical outdoor clothing? A green adventurers’ guide to clothing and equipment

All the green travel choices in the world mean nothing if your kit lets you down.Ed White, co founder of Much Better Adventures, is in the process of making his kit cupboard ‘muchbetter‘. In this 10 part series he explores the issues and pitfalls behind choosing ethical outdoor clothing and green kit to accompany his next adventure. This is his introduction to the series. Links to articles are below.’The adventure community is agreed : We work in the best office in the world. Love or hate this slightly self congratulating sentiment, it holds true. If I want to achieve one thing in this series of articles on ethical outdoor clothing, equipment and accessories, it is this. That we see beyond our own experience, and acknowledge that the adventure community extends beyond our mountains, our water and our snow, into fields and factories across the world, containment ships on the seas, and trucks on your roads. When you pull on your favourite top and head for the hills, you are taking with you a whole crowd of people, the farmers, miners, refiners, designers; the cutters, sewers, tapers; the cleaners, packers and drivers; the rep, merchandisers and shop staff. That’s a lot of people to hang off one karabiner or shelter under one soft shell or fit into one boot, but there they all are, swinging gently below your adventure. I am in the process of making muchbetter choices in my own outdoor kit cupboard. I would throw it all out and start again, but I hate the waste. As we will discover, the damn stuff is built to last decades. In the process I have noticed the craziest thing. The new, muchbetter kit choices I have found are lighter somehow. It is like those who made the outdoor kit are giving me a leg up. I cannot explain why. I guess guilt is a heavy thing to clip onto your gear loops.’Lets be clear, at no point in these articles do I take myself as an authority on any specific area of production. In many ways that is what makes this process interesting. I am a concerned consumer of outdoor clothing and adventure sports equipment, looking for answers, and not willing to sacrifice performance. Your comments, questions and corrections are always very welcome. Please do get involved in the journey to find the greener, muchbetter adventure choices.Read the Articles1. Transparency what is it, and why does it matter to ethical clothing?2. Raw Materials what goes into your outdoor kit? 3. Design for life building kit to last.4. Employment who made your adventure clothing and equipment?5. Product Components The detail unzipped. It’s not just the fabric that can catch you with your pants down.

Still to come:

6. Life of a Product What does ‘guaranteed for life’ really mean when it comes to outdoor equipment ? 7. Afterlife of a Product Where does your outdoor wear go to die? 8. Distribution Planes Trains, Boats or Trucks? How does your outdoor equipment get around?9. Company Environmental Contribution – Going beyond the damage caused locally.10. Who Cares? Market Stats on the demand for ethical clothing and outdoor wear.

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