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Backpacker Magazine – September 2007

How to Lighten Your (Planetary) Load

We found 17 pioneering products that will cut your carbon cost without sacrificing performance.

by: Kristin Hostetter

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[Trail runner] GoLite Sun Dragon
A good rule of thumb, say sustainability experts, is the heavier a piece of gear, the larger its carbon footprint. That's one reason the 1.5-pound Sun Dragon earned a spot on this page. Built by Timberland for GoLite, this low-cut is the epitome of minimalist design. It has a synthetic mesh/EVA upper instead of leather, which reduces the greenhouse gases emitted in production of the shoe by about 40 percent. And instead of heavy rubber toe and heel rands, GoLite opted for a pattern of tiny polyurethane dots for protection. (It's also PVC-free.) Golite uses 60 percent solar power in its California distribution center and offsets 100 percent of the total energy used in production in all of its shoes.

So how do these light-treading trail runners perform? We hiked and ran in them in Wyoming, Massachusetts, and points between, and we loved the springy, cushioned feel of the oversized lugs. "They grip like mad on dry, hard, packed dirt littered with rocks and roots," says one tester. But since the lugs are widely spaced, there's minimal surface area for frictioning, so beware of major slippage on smooth slabs–especially wet ones. The Dragons are best for trail running, but because of a stiffened midsole that can handle up to 20 pounds, they'll also appeal to dayhikers and ultralighters. $95; men's 7–13½, women's 5½–11; 1 lb. 7 oz. (per pair men's 9½) (866) 784-6466;

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ernest rando
May 28, 2009

True, however I am one who is in the purchasing phase and while i did not find this particular article helpful in my purchasing i did find it a little informative so that my next purchasing decision will be hopefully a bit wiser. However i have been finding it difficult in my area Central Indiana to find 2nd hand products or vendors with employees that think of green as anything but another colour. Your comment above has encouraged me to look more on the Reuse side of things since 100+ pants are out of the question. Thats like 20 pair of pants at Goodwill and No extreme sporting here in Indiana so Goodwill gear will work fine for now.

Jul 09, 2008

This isn't a guide for people who already own gear that works well, it is for people who need to get gear in the first place.

Eric Nelson
Apr 23, 2008

Is buying MORE reducing your footprint? How about just be happy with what you have and get along with that 10 year old Terraplane. Yeah you can get one more sleeping bag with Climashield, but that means spending more energy. Reducing CO2 means just that. The phrase is Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. There's a reason for the order of the 3 R's.


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