Since we last dropped in on Pacific Outdoor Equipment, they've been busy.
Take, for instance, their Peak Oyl Series sleeping pads, which they are claiming, not only as "the lightest full length, 1 inch thick, fully bonded sleeping mat in the market" but also the"the most environmentally sensitive self inflator made." A noisy trumpet, so how do they compute these claims? Well, the mats are made from a recycled PET polyester shell and filled with a new insulating foam comprising a blend of 40% Palm Oyl polyurethane. Now, as regular TreeHugger readers will no doubt attest, we're not overly fond of palm oil as an eco-alternative material. Issues that Pacific Outdoor Equipment seem cognizant of: "The palm is not a food replacement crop, nor GMO, but it is not without its issues, which we are actively working to resolve. Even with its issues, it is a step in the right direction, because it helps to bring about a market transformation — weaning us off the petroleum that is so prevalent in all the products we use today."
In other lines the company is similarly focused on marrying performance to environmental responsibility. such as their Eco Commute line. Using styles from elsewhere in their line, they've developed a Special Edition collection of luggage that employs renewable carbonized bamboo fabric, recycled PET webbings and wicking meshes, up-cycled buckles and sustainable kapok padding in the backpanels. Those buckles use 40% reclaimed material. additionally to effectively make the Eco Commute line Carbon Neutral they "offset the energy used in production and shipping to your local retailer by purchasing Green Tags (RECs) in the equivalent amount.
More recently Pacific Outdoor Equipment launched at the Outdoor Retailer trade show a bunch of waterproof zippered bags that many reviewers are suggesting will sweep through the outdoor fraternity as a reusable alternative to disposable ziplock bags.
We cheery pick a few words from their 2009 catalog to give you a sense of where Pacific Outdoor Equipment is headed with all this eco stuff:
"We're not an environmental company, but we are innovators that care about the environment."
"A couple of years ago we implemented a program to offset the energy consumed in our Bozeman offices and are in the process of placing one solar panel online for each employee that works here, off-setting the load of their computer, telephone and a desk lamp. "
"Every item that we use in our daily and/or recreational lives has an embodied energy. This is the energy required to create that item and get it to the point of
first use. Durable good gear makes this embodied energy investment go
"A collective group including Pacific Outdoor Equipment, The Biomimicry Institute, Georgia Tech, University of Montana, Ontario College of Arts & Design, and the University of Calgary set out on a product design challenge. Holding weekly web meetings, the group studied the application of the principals of
living design applied to the design of outdoor gear. [...] Stay tuned to our website
for updates on the project."
Photos: Peak Oyl and Eco Commute - Pacific Outdoor Equipment, Zip Pneumo bags - Gear Junkie
More Pacific Outdoor Equipment
• Keep the Drips at Bay With ECO Pneumo Drybags
• Eco Sleeping Mat - Sleeping With a Clearer Conscience