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PRODUCTS READ ABOUT AT THE CURRENT OUTDOOR TRADE SHOW

The big deal in the outdoor industry continues to be sustainability and how not to mar the planet.

FOUR YEARS AGO, when a product manager at PrimaLoft asked in the midst of a research and design meeting whether they could make a jacket that would break down if buried in the backyard, people laughed. But that’s exactly what PrimaLoft did. In fall 2020, PrimaLoft’s yet-to-be-named partner brands will roll out a new insulation made entirely from recycled fibers and designed to biodegrade in landfills and oceans.

As I see it the primaloft product should be put into the land fill immediately since it has otherwise no value as a form of insulation.

As sustainability works its way through product designs, what was once laughably impossible is trending toward mainstream as more and more consumers demand products that are earth friendly.

I fully agree that consumers want products that are sustainable, and that is what Wiggy’s is all about. Wiggy’s has been making sleeping bags for 32 years and about 90 percent of them are still in use to this day. That is what I call a sustainable product. The insulation Lamilite/Climashield is a continuous filament fiber versus primaloft a chopped staple fiber. Continuous filament fiber does not breakdown as chopped fiber does so it never gets into landfills. It is like the old Timex commercial, it takes a licking but keeps on ticking or the Energizer bunny that just keeps going.

4. Go ahead, throw it all at Smartwool’s women’s Smartloft-X 60 Hoodie Full Zip ($250): It has breathable insulation, warming merino wool, stretch fabric, and a highly wind- and water-resistant outer shell.

The problem with Smartwool is that it is not very smart to wear wool when out in the woods during the winter months. Wool does exactly the same thing as cotton it absorbs the moisture that the human body generates just like cotton. Ever hear wearing cotton kills well the same thing will happen with wool only at a slower rate. Also do you wear heavy wool socks and what do you experience “cold feet” even if the socks are Smartwool brand! Using wool and in this case merino wool batting will also absorb and retain the moisture. There is not much thickness to these wool battings so they do not trap the heated air that the body produces. It is the heated air that vacates the garment via conductive heat loss.

5. The men’s Baritone Quarter Zip ($89) from Outdoor Research has a thermoregulating treatment, and the soft and stretchy polyester/spandex fabric can function both as a midlayer and baselayer.

I have no idea what a “thermoregulating treatment” is. I can only guess that it is some chemical compound applied to the fabric. How it is able to accomplish this action is a mystery only known to outdoor research. Looking at their web site does not reveal any information about this capability. To further make your situation worse would be if you are wearing their base layers.

In reality each of these companies is offering nothing of value to the customer who buys whatever they are offering. I am sure there will be other offerings of equal lack of quality and performance from other companies that are exhibiting at the outdoor retailer show this week.

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