It's a sign of quality when companies are willing to stand by the goods they sell.
In a world saturated with cheap fast fashion and quasi-disposable goods, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find high quality products that companies will guarantee, replace, or repair. A few exist, however, and these are the ones that we, as ethical consumers, should be seeking out. The following list is far from exhaustive, but it’s a good place to start when looking for good outdoor gear that’s built to last.
This backpack company guarantees its packs for life and will repair any damages that occur. Its website states: “If your pack ever breaks down, simply return it to our warranty center. We'll fix it or if we can't, we'll replace it or refund it.” All you have to do is fill out a warranty return form and ship it off with the backpack.
2. Mountain Equipment Co-op
This Canadian gear company boasts a “rock-solid guarantee,” meaning that you can return any clean items that don’t meet your expectations. It also guarantees the advice given by employees to customers: “If something you purchased based on this advice turns out to be unsuitable, you can bring it back for an exchange, refund, repair, or credit.” An additional promise from MEC is that it will repair goods for a reasonable fee, if worn out or damaged items are not eligible for replacement. There aren’t many companies that offer repairs anymore, so this is admirable.
Patagonia calls its guarantee “ironclad.” Any unsatisfactory item can be returned for refund, replacement, or repair; and if something has been damaged through heavy wear and tear, it will be fixed for a reasonable cost.
4. Darn Tough
This Vermont-based sock company has an unconditional lifetime warranty “with no strings or conditions.” If you’re unhappy with your socks, which they think is highly unlikely, you can return at any point for an exchange.
5. Sili Sunglasses
This innovative sunglass company allows you to build customized glasses by choosing what frames, lenses, and arms you want. The pieces are easily removable, which means you can purchase replacements at any point.
6. L.L. Bean
This famous outdoor gear company’s founder once said that a sale wasn’t complete until the goods were worn out and the customer was entirely satisfied. L.L. Bean stands by its product quality and allows dissatisfied customers to return items at any point for refund or exchange. Unfortunately, L.L. Bean does not offer repairs.
7. Dr. Martens
If you purchase a pair of boots or shoes from the company’s ‘For Life’ collection, you are eligible for a lifetime warranty, as long as you register the product ahead of time. If they wear out, Dr. Martens will replace or repair them.
Backpack maker Osprey promises to try to repair any of its products and, if that fails, to replace them. It also provides detailed owner’s manuals with every item to ensure that proper care is taken.
9. Maui Jim
This sunglass company will repair broken glasses and scratched lenses at a reasonable cost. Depending on the type of damage, Maui Jim will either send you the parts you need or ask you to send in the glasses for professional repair.
Everyone has owned an umbrella that breaks prematurely. That’s not the case with Davek. As long as you register your Davek umbrella ahead of time, the company will replace or repair it at no extra charge, except shipping and handling. You can even send your umbrella in for ‘maintenance.’