Tom: Sustainable choices are sensible choices. The best way to make your outdoor kit more sustainable is to make the right choice by investing in a quality product in the first place and then looking after it as best you can. It will pay you back. Having the right kit is also important because if it isn’t fit for purpose, you’re not going to enjoy your trip, and the item will end up in landfill. Sometimes people don’t realise how long kit can last if you look after it.
Repair & Care is a giant leap forward in sustainability for us. It might seem a bit odd that a retailer would look to make the products they’ve already sold last longer, but for me, it’s a win-win situation. Fewer products end up in landfill and customers get to enjoy their gear for longer in the outdoors. I make sure I wear my kit until the bitter end. I definitely get value for my money!
Aileen: When customers come into the store, I try to educate them as much as I have been about how they can look after their kit. I make them aware that we can prolong the life of their products, be it clothing, tents, boots. We have to change people’s perception of just throwing things away after a year. It’s frightening to think about what's going into landfill, and that throwaway attitude can’t be right. We’ve got to find a way of extending the life of products, and if we can show customers who come into the store how to do so, then we must do it. We do. We have to.
Magda: Sometimes, it’s about telling customers the story behind each item and explaining the effort that goes into making it last longer or how it has is made more sustainably so that they can make informed choices.
I think the care products probably would be the next step, because if you look after your boots and jackets that you take on every trip, then you're more likely to look after the outdoors in the same way, and it will last. Some of our customers have kit that has seen way more places than I’ve seen in my life! When you buy good gear and follow the care advice, it will survive many obstacles and won’t disappoint you.
The next step would be repair: if anything happens, we can help repair the product. Very often, it’s about asking the right questions. Are you sure this jacket can’t be revived? Are you sure these trousers can’t be reproofed? With Repair & Care, quite often, it’s possible to take it back to a new state. Or if it can’t, with Recycle My Gear, you can bring us your old boots, jackets, sleeping bag, and we can give a second life to the item.
Szabi: I think explaining aftercare is essential when anyone buys a new product. I think the importance of keeping your gear running for a long time goes back to the environment. Every bit of kit has stories and memories from different places. One of my oldest items is a waterproof woolly hat. I bought it 22 years ago when I was preparing to go to Tatra, and it’s still going strong, although it's very sweaty! When someone wants to buy cheap kit, I encourage them to invest in decent gear instead. Not only will it last much longer, but it's more sustainable because, for instance, a quality tent might last 15 years rather than a cheap one you can only use for two years before it's no longer up to the job.
Tom: If you’re looking to explore buying sustainable products in-store, the best thing to do would be to speak to a customer expert. We know which brands are actively pushing to be more sustainable in their production practices and can help to close that loop.