Monday, October 29, 2012

A Profile of Ethical Gear: The North Face

These endlessly rainy days serve as a reminder to many of us that a cold, dark, and wet winter lies ahead.  We feel sad to see the days of our warm, sunny hikes with our children coming to an end for another season, but hang in there... after all, there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear, right?

It can be tempting, for some, to head to Walmart or another cheap box store to buy things like rain coats, boots, and outdoor gear for any season.  After all, why spend tons of money on clothing that won't fit kids for very long?

We agree with the "why spend so much" sentiment when it comes to school or play clothes, but when it comes to outdoor gear, we find you get exactly what you pay for.  A proper seam-sealed, breathable rain coat, for example, can make all the difference in how comfortable and protected your child is while out on outdoor adventure.  And from a more self-serving perspective, we all know that if the littlest members of our excursions aren't satisfied, it's generally game-over for everyone.

For these reasons and more, we always buy outdoor gear from companies that know what they are doing.   Of course, awesome outdoor gear often comes at a premium price and understandably so. There are tons of outdoor gear companies with great products, so how should a consumer decide where to spend their dollars?

One suggestion I will make is to spend your dollars on a company that not only makes reliable products, but a company that gives back to the community and to the environment.  After all, if you have a love of the great outdoors and want to share it with your children, it stands to reason that you want to see these precious resources stick around.

The North Face is one company that truly demonstrates a commitment not only to sustainability and the environment, but to making sure all kids have a chance to connect with it.  As an outdoor enthusiast, blogger, and parent, I was pleased to learn about Planet Explore, an online community designed to help individuals and families learn about and participate in outdoor activities and events in their area. Powered by partner organizations that share their passion, Planet Explore is a portal to the outdoors designed to inspire and enable people of all ages to become regularly active outside, and to develop the benefits gained through a connection to nature.

Planet Explore is not just an online community.  Through the Explore Fund The North Face supports organizations that encourage youth outdoor participation, focusing primarily on creating more connections of children to nature, increasing access to both front & back country recreation, as well as providing education for both personal & environmental health.  You can read more about Planet Explore here, and apply for a grant here.

I feel great purchasing products that I know will keep my child comfortable and safe, but will also contribute to ensuring that every child and person has an opportunity to connect with the environment on a close and personal level.  After all, a child that falls in love with the outdoors from a young age is far more likely to grow up wanting to protect it.

This post inspired by the Blog For Gear contest put on by The North Face Vancouver.  Check them out on Facebook, tell them Aias Dot Ca sent you!
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