Green Gear for Summer, May 2009 Issue, by Brian Mohr & Emily Johnson

Brian Mohr and Emily Johnson
Posted April 29th, 2009

It is refreshing to see so many businesses and manufacturers in the outdoor industry finding creative ways to reduce their environmental footprint. While we feel that the most environmentally friendly gear is that which has been previously used, neglected, or otherwise restored, we still occasionally have to buy something new. When this consumer urge takes hold, please consider what the following environment-conscience manufacturers in the outdoor world have to offer.
Astral Bouyancy V-Eight PFD
Astral Buoyancy has pioneered the use of PVC-free foam in its U.S. Coastguard-approved Type III PFD life jackets. Its new V-Eight PFD is also one of the world’s first ventilating PFDs, and it is quickly proving itself to be a real improvement over the heavier, unbreathable PFDs that dominate the paddling world. Featuring adjustable vents, strategically placed mesh fabric and a special channeled foam structure that allows air to flow between the jackets fabric and foam, the V-Eight is ideal for Vermont’s warm and humid summer climate. Astral’s dedication to clean waters and environment for paddling goes far beyond the use of PVC-free foam. They are aggressively cutting waste and recycling through all phases of their manufacturing. $108.95.
ProBar Kettle Corn Bar
Cherry Pretzel, Kettle Corn, Sesame Goji… These are just a few of ProBar’s totally irresistible new flavors that have us convinced that ProBar is the energy bar we’ve all been wishing for. Not only does it look freshly homemade and pack some serious nutritional punch, it tastes incredibly delicious, too! Developed in 2001 by a fellow nutrition-conscious powder hound from Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, the ProBar features 100 percent whole, organic, raw, non-GMO foods and is 100 percent vegan. ProBar’s Kettle Corn bar is especially tasty. It’s a yummy popcorn treat with a touch of chocolate, peanut butter, almonds, coconut… you’ll just have to try it for yourself. $3.29.
Osprey Packs Elroy Bag
It appears Osprey is trying to save the world one courier bag at a time. Colorado-based Osprey continues to consistently produce some of the highest quality and most functional backpacks on the market, and with their new Elroy Bag, they are taking things to a new level. Constructed with over 70 percent recycled materials, the Elroy’s roomy 25 liters of space can easily accommodate a laptop, your lunch, business accoutrements, and more. The Elroy also features a removable cell phone pocket on the shoulder strap and a removable waist belt for greater comfort when carrying heavier loads. $98.
IceBreaker Tech T Lite
The snazzy Tech T Lite features IceBreaker’s lightest and finest pure merino, and is as much a summer t-shirt as a winter under layer that you can shed down to when cranking up the heat on a long climb. It is also a great travel layer as the merino fibers resist odor, breathe in the heat to keep you cool, and act as a fine insulating layer when the temps cool down at night. It packs light and dries quickly, too. $55.
Guyot Designs Firefly Water Bottle LED Lamp
The Firefly features an ultra-efficient and adjustable LED light that turns your standard 63mm (wide mouth) translucent or clear water bottle into a handy night light or reading lamp. The light spreads a warm glow throughout the bottle. The Firefly is a watertight lid—the simple electronics remain securely inside. Stand your bottle on a table or hang it inside your tent. Please prevent unnecessary battery waste by using rechargeable batteries with this, and all, portable lights. $20.
Pedro’s ChainJ Lube
Finally, cyclists have a high performance and eco-friendly chain lube at their disposal. Pedro’s newest chain lube uses a rapeseed oil that makes ChainJ (pronounced “change”) environmentally safe to make, safe to use, and completely biodegradable. Designed for the mixed trail and weather conditions we get to enjoy here in the northeast, ChainJ has been tested on pro cycling teams that have won the Tour de Beauce in the humidity of Quebec, the Fitchburg-Longsjo Classic in New England rain, and the U.S. National Cross Country Championships in the dust of Northern California. 4 oz.-$6.99.
Deuter Rack Pack Grocery Bat
If don’t already have a bicycle set up for commuting, or for short trips to the neighbors and town, there is still plenty of prime biking season ahead. Perhaps Deuter’s Rack Pack Grocery Bag will get you motivated to use your bicycle for more than just exercise. If we all replaced one or two of our car trips each week with a bicycle trips, the environmental benefits would be substantial. About the size of a fully loaded grocery bag, the Rack Pack attaches securely to a standard rear bike rack. It can be easily unclipped and carried with its built-in shoulder strap, and cinched down to keep the broccoli from jumping out on your way home. Use two of these for a more balanced load and for adding even more utility to your bicycle. $59.
PrAna Lola Dress
PrAna supports wind energy projects by purchasing renewable energy certificates that they use in their company headquarters, at all of their employee’s homes, two of their prAna retail locations, and 250 of their U.S. retail locations. In addition, they are a member of the Organic Trade Association and the Organic Exchange, and are involved with The Access Fund to help keep climbing areas open.
PrAna produces a great variety of stylish apparel that has been especially popular with climbers and yoga practitioners. Their latest line of women’s apparel features nearly 100 percent recycled fabrics, and, as is the case with nearly all of their designs, excellent comfort and freedom of movement. PrAna’s Lola Dress and Sport Top are no exceptions. The Lola Dress features a built-in Coolmax shelf bra, a shirred front bodice and criss-cross back straps, amd is available in a variety of prints and solid colors. It’s light and packable enough to take camping, and stylish enough to wear out on the town. $65. The Sport Top is a stylish tank with an internal Coolmax shelf bra that is also available in a variety of solid colors or prints. The Sport Top’s impressive shape retention and breathability has gained it a loyal following among active women. $44.
Brian Mohr and Emily Johnson rarely let a day go by without paddling a river, climbing a mountain, or wandering up a stream bed. They can be contacted through their website,