Archive for October, 2008

Religion and Politics

October 30, 2008

Let’s get this straight right off the bat…

Just like your mom taught you, it’s best to avoid talking about religion or politics at the dinner table on your blog. We have no intentions of endorsing a candidate or getting all theological on JustaZipper.com.

But, we got a link to an interesting Polartec story in our inbox via Google Alerts this morning. Here’s a mention of Polartec in an article on RealClearPolitics.com from Steve Chapman:

“All sorts of products that didn’t exist a generation ago are now commonplace even in humble neighborhoods — personal computers, cell phones, high-definition TVs, Polartec jackets, digital cameras, Starbucks coffee and more. If their incomes are steadily falling, how do Americans cart home so much stuff?”

Good to see that Mr. Chapman puts Polartec in the same league as cell phones and high-def T.V.’s.

Add some context to the above pull quote and read the rest of the article here.

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Garment Spotlight – Jakfish Eamon Hoodie

October 29, 2008

Jakfish, a cool little homegrown company out of Vermont that makes maternity clothing for active and athletic women, was the recipient of a Polartec Apex Award for it’s Eamon Hoodie and Ryan Everywhere Pants this year.

The Eamon Lightweight Hoodie is a stylish sweatshirt that uses Polartec® Power Stretch® fabric and innovative side zips to make sure it fits a woman’s growing pregnant belly. The Ryan Everywhere Pants are cut for the pregnant body, giving them unmatched comfort and versatility with Polartec® Power Stretch® for a body hugging four-way stretch.

Check out this great real world review of the Jakfish garments by Jeanne Sager on “Inside Out-Mom Reviews with Attitude.”

The title of the post pretty much says it all. Read “Jakfish-So You Don’t Feel Like and Elephant”

Free CASH! Polartec Challenge Expeditions Grant

October 28, 2008
Andrew McLean celebrates after skiing the Polar Star Couloir with assistance from a Polartec Challenge Grant

Andrew McLean celebrates after skiing the Polar Star Couloir with assistance from a Polartec Challenge Grant

For seventeen years, the Polartec® International Challenge Grant has supported expeditions and adventures to every corner of the Earth. Applications for the $10,000 grant are now available for 2009 expeditions.

Learn more here.

Apply here.

And more from TetonAT: Free CASH!!! Polartec Challenge Expeditions Grant

Denver Post on Gander Mtn Polartec Fleece

October 22, 2008

Denver Post staff writer Scott Willoughby manages the paper’s weekly Outdoor Extremes section. Despite the section’s regrettable name (Scott apparently hates it), he includes engaging stories about the issues, individuals, sports and gear that fuel the outdoors. Scott often scoops the larger, dedicated lifestyle magazines with his timely features on the outdoor scene.

Anyway, Scott has been testing the new Gander Mountain Polartec Mid-Weight Fleece, featuring Polartec’s new High Efficiency Power Dry fabric. Scott gives the base/mid layers from Gander two big thumbs up, noting how the voided construction of the Power Dry provides additional warmth and saves weight.

Read the full review here.

WSJ on Carbon Footprints

October 16, 2008

Jeffery Ball at the Wall Street Journal recently wrote an interesting article about the carbon footprint of six consumer products: a Prius, Timberland hiking boots, laundry detergent, a 1/2 gallon of organic milk, a 6-pack of Fat Tire beer and a Patagonia Talus jacket made with Polartec® Power Shield® fabric. The Talus creates a 66 pound carbon footprint. Check out the results of all 6 products: footprint1.

While Polartec has partnered with Patagonia to develop hundreds of garments with recylced fabric, the Talus is unfortunately not one of them. Essentially, the Talus is manufactured in Asia where recycled yarn is harder to find and more expensive to source. Both Polartec and Patagonia would have preferred for the Talus to be a recycled product but it was just too expensive to produce and keep the price point competitive.

The Talus is a good example of the cost-benefit analysis of going ‘green.’

Of course, carbon footprints are incredibly difficult to calculate. As Mr. Ball notes, “For instance, many products’ global-warming impact depends less on how they’re made than on how they’re used. That means the easiest way to cut carbon emissions may be to buy less of a product or use it in a way that’s less convenient.”

From that perspective, the Talus jacket (and all Polartec fabrics) last an incredibly long time, require very few washings, and no machine drying. Wear it indoors and you can keep your heating bills down! 🙂

Read the full WSJ story here.

“Green” Fabrics are Often Really Grey

October 14, 2008

Cotton, organic cotton and wool are all “natural fibers,” but does that make them green? Check out this detailed document that lists estimated energy and water usage for some common natural and synthetic fibers. synthetic-fabric-vs-natural-fabric.

I’m hoping to find the same data on wool, bamboo, and PLA, but even the cotton data is pretty surprising. Plus one of the largest footprints a garment will have in its life is the energy impact of washing and drying. Polyester and Polypropylene do not stain and dry almost immediately, so they require much less laundering and do not need to be dried. And polyester garments last for many, many years of hard use where others tend to wear out faster (in part due to heavy laundering).

There’s a place for every type of fiber (and sometimes nothing feels better than cotton), but just because polyester is oil based does not make it less green when you look at the whole picture (remember the ethanol hype). For full disclosure, I work with Polartec® which mainly uses polyester fibers, including an increasing amount of recycled-content polyester that saves significant energy compared to virgin polyester.