Gear Test: The Greening of GoLite

GoLite makes good on green promises
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GoLite makes good on green promises

One of the benefits of being an outdoor blogger is getting the chance to paw over new gear months before anyone else can. Recently, GoLite stopped by our Boulder offices to show off their 2010 line of tents, bags, packs, and more.

And while the quality of the gear at first glance looked great, we were most taken aback at how thoroughly GoLite seems to be going green. Spurred on by their participation in BACKPACKER's Zero Impact Challenge, the vast majority of materials in their 2010 pack and sleeping bag line come from recycled sources, with no drop in performance (as promised at OR). And where some manufacturers might introduce one, more expensive green option, GoLite's gear is green across the board, wherever possible, without incurring an increase in price. Not bad.

Eventually, GoLite hopes to go "light on the planet" with every piece of gear they make, at no additional cost. For now, each item comes packaged with a handy-dandy chart and score letting you know how much recycled content went into its making.

They've also shifted their focus: While the ultralight, extreme endurance athletes that used to be their core won't go away hungry, they're also targeting casual trail lovers who just want to get out more—namely, you and me.

We've got BACKPACKER field testers currently trying out most of the key items in GoLite's line, so we'll soon have results on whether all that recycled content still offers top performance in tents, bags, apparel, and more. And we'll try and get our greasy blogging hands on some kit for Gear Test to see if all the hype is worth it.

But for now, gear manufacturers should take note: The green gauntlet has been thrown. Who's next?

—Ted Alvarez

GoLite