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Making A Commitment To Sustainability In Store & In Our Community

Making A Commitment To Sustainability In Store & In Our Community

Our buyers here at BackTrails are not only committed to bringing you great gear, but also supporting brands that make a positive impact in protecting our planet. Read on to see which brands we love and how they are helping us make a difference locally and globally.

Sustainability is not just a trend; it’s a commitment to preserving the very playgrounds we cherish. Deciding how you want to spend your money when it comes to apparel and gear is challenging enough when you base it on specs alone. Whether its sock companies claiming full circularity by 2025, or brands committing their entire profit margins to climate change organizations, we at Backtrails try to offer a selection of great brands that won’t also challenge your ethics. 


Leading the charge are brands like Patagonia, Cotopaxi, NEMO, and Fjällräven, each making significant strides in reducing waste, improving manufacturing, and offering better materials. 


Of course, we can’t create a post about sustainability without setting Patagonia out as a trailblazer, not only for its high-quality gear but also for its prominent environmental stand. As a Certified B Corporation, Patagonia meets standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Their dedication to sustainable practices include their NetPlus material used in their hats and Baggies, and having well over half of their entire product line manufactured in Fair Trade Certified factories.

Cotopaxi, another Certified B Corp, infuses its vibrant gear with its mission to alleviate poverty and support community development. You can see over a dozen organizations they fund that range from regenerative farming to equal opportunities in education to clean water initiatives. Their products often feature repurposed fabrics from factory floors which reduces waste and extends the life of materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. 

Fjällräven, a swedish brand that has historically built gear to stand the test of time uses G-1000 fabric. It’s not only robust but also environmentally friendly, keeping away from harmful PFC’s by using a wax to create a waterproof barrier on their jackets and pants that can be reapplied indefinitely. It washes out easily without polluting waterways with chemicals. We can get behind that! 


Many of the brands we stock are part of a larger movement, aligning themselves with initiatives like 1% For The Planet. This model encourages businesses to donate at least 1% of their annual sales to environmental causes. Our close relationships with brand representatives can even influence where these donations are sent. 


On the equipment side of things, no one is doing it better than NEMO. They have managed to create a fully circular sleeping bag program called Endless Promise. Every sleeping bag with this stamp is made of recycled materials and is fully and completely recyclable. They’ve recently extended this program into backpacks as of Spring 2024. This is the first program of its kind and they are hoping to move their entire product offering as Endless Promise in the coming years. Incredible innovation coming from NEMO, based out of New England. 

Another great initiative is the BlueSign Certification, of which Osprey Backpacks have certified 95% of their products as of Fall 2023. This certification ensures that products are made with the highest environmental, worker safety, and consumer safety standards throughout the manufacturing process. Look for the hangtags on Osprey and other gear and apparel for this sought after certification.

Many of these companies that promise action actually can make a difference right here. In 2018, we were able to work with Oboz Footwear who boast “Plant A Tree For Every Pair Sold”. With their help, we purchased over 200 silver maple trees from a local nursery and planted them with the Nashwaak Watershed Association to prevent river bank erosion. These slogans aren’t just words, but a call to action. Your purchases can make a real difference right here in your community. 

How and where you buy can make a difference. Your dollars spent locally can impact your community organizations through brand partnerships, and can reduce carbon emissions by eliminating excess shipping. If you have any questions about any of the sustainability practices from any of our companies that we offer, ask any of our staff and we would be proud to tell you what actions they are taking or have taken to help keep our planet greener. It’s tough to make a decision with all the great gear available right at our fingertips, but we’re here to help make the right choice. 


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