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If we believe in saving the earth, then it is our responsibility to support companies that make conservation their priority.
Earlier this year I met with Jay Badgley, the CEO of Phunkshun Wear, when he was in New York from their HQ in Denver, CO. This was the week before the OR and I prepared myself for a slideshow of brightly colored 2017 designs intended to outdo their vibrant competition so normal in winter outerwear. Used to sales pitches that describe arguably unnoticable “advances” in technology with a marginal modicum of improvement in laboratory tests, I asked myself “What could possibly distinguish these products from nearly identical others that line the shelves of any winter store.” Well, and this was well before the current controversy surrounding the outdoor industry and ethics, Jay revealed to me what made Phunkshun so exceptional.
Phunkshun Wear is a company that set out to change the world first, and make profits second. From the very beginning, their company plan included setting up even their office space in a way that regularly minimized how much of a footprint they left on the environment. But, more importantly, they set a goal of designing a product and all the manufacturing around it in a way that left zero pollution.
I was surprised as Jay ignored the bag of samples that sat on the table and instead recounted the company’s journey to today. He described a years-long process that focused on finding partners in the United States that met Phunkshun Wear’s seemingly impossible standards. I learned that every step of the manufacturing process takes place in the US, meaning that they are truly “American Made” in every sense of the word. In addition, he explained that it’s not just the products that they manufacture, but even all of the packaging. Therefore, every tag, bag, and wrapping that you receive when you purchase anything Phunkshun Wear is also recyclable! Just check out this infographic:
Jay continued that it wasn’t an easy process and that they did not just dive into being 100% eco-friendly, but with each year that passes they get closer to the ideal and take more meaningful steps. It all started with changing the space they work in to meet Denver’s Certifiably Green standards. They installed all LED lighting, powered every office, warehouse, and manufacturing facility with wind power, and even set incentives for staff to use transportation that’s better for the environment. As a result, Phunkshun Wear has been recognized as one of the leading environmental companies.
This is a big deal, especially now that the actions companies are taking are center-stage. Phunkshun’s environmentally conscious approach is at the core of our outdoor world. In a society that’s focused on making decisions based on cost and price, it’s easy to be lazy and just pick whatever number is the smallest, or whatever is on sale at the gas station on the way to the mountain. We all know that outdoor gear is expensive and your typical hiker/skier/paddler is not rolling up to the trailhead in a new car every year. Yet, it’s a fact that our strongest voices are spoken through our wallets. Collectively, we are the ones that decide which companies make enough each year to survive and, more importantly, which companies become popular and trendy. And at a time when the government is not taking responsibility, it is more important than ever to make a conscious choice in what companies we support.
That is what distinguishes Phunkshun Wear from the nearly indistinguishable array of loud, vibrant designs standard in winter outerwear. They are the company that we wish for when we complain about how corporations are destroying the environment. But, now that companies like this exist, the onus is back on us to support them and reward them for listening. It doesn’t mean you should go out and buy every piece of Phunkshun Wear gear (though feel free), but the next time you’re looking to replace the balaclava that slipped out of your pocket on the chair lift consider asking whether your ski shop carries Phunkshun. Even asking the question will help the next time your store is looking to restock and support the company, the environment, and outdoor recreation for our kids.
With that introduction, this is what is coming up for Phunkshun Wear forr 2017, all items made with 100% recycled bottles.
The Thermal Ballerclava
The Fleece Lined Thermal Tube
And Unreleased, but coming soon…
Arm Sleeves and Knee Sleeves
Note: We get to keep most of the gear that we test out. While this is a perk, we try hard to give everything an unbiased review no matter what.
If you end up buying something through a link on our site, we generally get a small commission on the referral, this won't cost you more, but helps us keep the lights on around here!
For all media review requests, reach out to our managing editor, David Skinner.