Together We Protect
To us, the outdoors means everything. Which is why we’re on a mission to protect it and play our part in defending and nurturing our environment.
But we know we can’t do it alone. Together, we’re responsible for ensuring we can all enjoy the outdoors now and in the future. It’s about collaboration. And that’s why we’re telling the stories of our in-store experts who not only live and breathe the outdoors but are playing their role in protecting it.
Here, Lily and Andrew explain why protecting the outdoors is so important to them, what responsible changes they’re making in their own lives, and how they’re helping customers make more conscious choices.
Have you noticed the effects of climate change around you?
Lily: Yes, I have - in the Highlands we’re seeing more adverse weather, especially in the mountains. In the summer, you get progressively warmer temperatures that make the rock very unstable, and in winter, there’s less snow. It’s a change that’s becoming more obvious each year.
But it’s something I hope we can work on together to ensure the mountains are safer and prevent rockfalls. Plus, making sure that as a country we still have access to snow and all the incredible outdoor activities it offers.
Have you made any changes in your life to try to help protect the outdoors?
Lily: One of the reasons we chose to move up to the Highlands was for a change of lifestyle. Living here means we can walk 90% of our journeys, so we use our car much less. We also try to shop consciously, buying from local producers and crofts to help reduce our footprint. For me, buying from brands that share our values is also important.
My top tip for anyone looking to make changes would be to explore your local area. Purchasing an OS map and exploring the areas you haven’t been to; you’ll find places and things to do that you never even knew about. And that’s lovely to be able to do.
Andrew: I think it’s realising that you don’t need a car or transport to get outdoors. Wherever you live, there’s the chance to get outdoors - whether it’s a local park or a walk around your neighborhood. I’m lucky to live close to the countryside, but there are still lots of outdoor spaces near me that I didn’t know existed. During lockdown, I discovered a path that went six or seven miles into the country which I’d never noticed before.
What does being environmentally conscious mean to you?
Andrew: Being environmentally conscious means being aware of what you do. It could be the habits you create outdoors, like making sure you leave spaces how you found them and taking everything you’ve used with you. Then when you're buying something, make sure you can use it for a long time, that it's fit for purpose, and when it's at the end of its life, you can and do recycle it.
Lily: Being more environmentally conscious is very important to me because the sooner we act, the sooner we can make changes.
Living in the Scottish Highlands, it's a place that deserves to be protected. It’s so beautiful and diverse and offers so much benefit to the environment in terms of wildlife, fauna, and flora, and it would be such a shame to lose it. Right now, when I go out for a run, I can see deer and buzzards, if I'm really lucky, I may see an eagle, and I don’t want to lose that.
Do you think more people are becoming aware of the need for change?
Lily: I believe that eventually everyone will recognise the need for change and that our outdoors will be protected. I know we can do it, but we need more people to understand what’s happening and how they can make simple, affordable changes that will make a huge difference.
With the right education and support, we have the power to make real change and look after the natural areas we’re so lucky to experience. It’s time to get everybody on board to make it happen.
Does this change how you approach finding the right kit for customers?
Andrew: When I’m buying outdoor kit, the first thing I consider is, will it fit me? Two, is it going to last me for a long time? Three, is it going to do what I want it to do? Even if that means I have to spend a bit more money to get the quality. It's the same with customers - it’s our job to understand what they need so they can make the most of it.
Lily: In-store, customers are becoming much more aware of their purchases, and I’m there to help them make the right choice. It’s just about listening and learning what our customers need and then using my knowledge to make tailored kit recommendations that I’m confident will do the job they want. Having the right kit means it will last longer, and that’s ultimately better for the environment than constantly replacing something because it’s not fit for purpose.
How do you keep your kit performing for longer and why is that important?
Andrew: I make sure I use waterproofing on my jackets and trousers, so they continue to protect me. If I wear my boots out in the snow or the rain, when I get home, I take the insoles out and open them out so the air circulates, and the boots can dry. Just remember to reproof your boots too - our Footwear Protection service gives you up to six weeks of protection.
Our Repair & Care service is also a great way to mend your well-loved kit. We can restore your favourite kit ready to be used on your next adventure. And if that saves you from throwing something away, that’s better for the environment!
Lily: If you make sure what you’re buying is good quality and you look after it, then the product is going to last for years.
With waterproofs, it’s about ensuring that you reproof them, whether that's at home or by bringing them in-store and using our Repair & Care service. Whichever way you decide to do it, caring for your kit has a huge impact on how long it lasts and continues to perform.
Having used our Repair & Care service to have my Down jacket washed and a small hole repaired, I can genuinely recommend it to customers. The process was so straightforward, the communication was clear, and ultimately, it meant that I could keep a jacket that I loved. Plus, it saved me from having to buy a new one, which saves me money and is better for the planet.
How can our Recycle My Gear service help customers?
Lily: Recycle My Gear is a great service where customers can give us their old kit, confident in the knowledge that it’ll be recycled or re-used in the best way possible. It takes the stress and extra effort out of passing kit onto a new home when you no longer need it.
Are you hopeful for the future of the outdoors?
Andrew: There was a time where I wasn't, but I think a lot of people’s ideas have changed. Now there's a lot more information about how to look after your environment, especially on walks and trails themselves. Simple reminders to take your rubbish home with you, not start fires, watch out for wildlife and make sure you stay on marked paths. I think if everyone respects these messages and the outdoors, then our outdoors will be there to enjoy together, forever.
As a lifelong lover of the outdoors, Lily knows how to kit up for even the wildest weather. We sat down with her to learn more about what goes into choosing the perfect footwear, her thoughts on how the outdoors can become more accessible, and the joy of wild camping.
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