Mystery Ranch has a long history of working with and making packs for the US military, fire departments, and law enforcement. They also make everything from backpacks for everyday use, to packs for backcountry skiing, and the company has quite a unique culture. So we sat down with product designer, Alex Rich, to discuss what it’s like to design packs for US special forces; how their military designs trickle down to outdoor packs (and vice versa); how their design ethos reflects their sustainability culture; and more.
Bison Wool? Bison Down? That’s a thing? Well it’s being used by United By Blue,
who started salvaging otherwise wasted bison fibers, and is now incorporating them into a growing range of products. So we talked with Brendan Raugh at United By Blue about how the company was founded as a waterway cleanup company; how they went on to develop an entire line of apparel around salvaged bison coat fibers; how bison fibers compare to sheep’s wool and goose down; and more.
Picture Organic Clothing is going way beyond common sustainability practices with things like castor bean oil waterproof membranes and sugar cane waste-derived polyester, and they are attempting to eliminate polybags from their entire supply chain. So we talked to Picture’s co-founder, Julien Durant, and their sustainability manager, Florian Palluel about these ambitious projects — including their new air-permeable membrane, Xpore, that they are putting in direction competition with Gore Pro and TNF Futurelight.
We talk with Graham Lonetto, the Alpine Director for the USA at Swix — the company that invented color-coded waxes, and one of the largest manufacturers of ski wax in the world — about different types of waxes and application methods; the most common mistake made when ski waxing; the FIS’s ban on fluorocarbons in waxes; and more.
In part 2 of our conversation with SCARPA CEO, Kim Miller, Kim offers his predictions for the ski industry and how SCARPA is positioning itself for the future; discusses which materials they use in their boots and why; shares the lessons learned from the Maestrale 2017 recall; and unveils a brand-new boot, the F1 LT.
What will the ski & snowboard industry look like 10 years from now? Will backcountry skiing and splitboarding keep growing? Will indoor ski areas become more common? Will there be fewer or more ski companies in existence 10 years from now? We offer our predictions on all of these questions and more.
This week, Sam Shaheen visited SCARPA’s North American headquarters to talk with SCARPA’s CEO, Kim Miller. Here in Part 1 of the conversation, they discuss Kim’s impressive career in the outdoor industry; SCARPA’s philosophy of ski boot design; their position within the market; the specifics of the new Maestrale XT; Kim’s thoughts on boot/binding compatibility; and more.
We’ve been thinking and talking a lot recently about ski quivers, and posted our reviewers’ personal selections for their 5-ski, 4-ski, 3-ski, 2-ski, and 1-ski quivers. And now on our latest episodes of GEAR:30 we discuss some of your related questions; what our biggest takeaways are; the dreaded 1-boot quiver; and more.
DWRs — or “Durable Water Repellent” coatings — play an enormous role in the performance of your outdoor gear, and are used on nearly every waterproof garment on the market. But most DWRs are made with chemicals called PFCs, which can be harmful to you and the environment. Nikwax, however, has never made any of their specialized cleaning, conditioning, or waterproofing products with PFCs. So we talked with Heidi Allen from Nikwax about how DWRs work; the dangers of PFCs; how the industry is attempting to shift away from PFCs; garment care; and more.
The North Face is attempting to do something that many have tried, but few have succeeded: compete head-to-head with Gore-Tex in the waterproof / breathable fabric category. So we talked with Scott Mellin, the Global General Manager of Mountain Sports at The North Face, about their new fabric technology, Futurelight, the ideas behind it; what sets it apart in the waterproof / breathable fabric market; sustainability practices related to Futurelight; some stories from athlete testing, and much more.