Recycled fabrics are not new to the outdoor industry—Patagonia and Polartec and others have been using them, often in large volume—but GoLite is walking the talk in a whole new way. For 2010, the company is manufacturing nearly all of its packs and bags (and some apparel) from recycled nylon or polyester, reducing the carbon footprint of key fabrics by up to 70 percent. GoLite expects to realize a 30-percent decrease in the company’s total impact. Best of all, based on our testing, you’ll see no drop-off in performance. That’s because GoLite is using chemically—rather than mechanically—recycled synthetics.
Translation: Waste material is reduced to its basic molecular components through a process called depolymerization before being reprocessed into new fabrics. The result: recycled nylon and polyester—known as Tier 1—that performs like the virgin stuff and, significantly, can be recycled indefinitely in a closed-loop system. All packs (except two H2GO models), sleeping bags, and four jackets, including the Badlands Trinity three-layer shell, are now made with Tier 1 recycled fabrics.
We took one of the new Odyssey packs ($200; 3 lbs. 8 oz.), a perennial staff favorite for its low weight and comfortable suspension, and banged it around Utah and Switzerland. If there’s a difference between the recycled fabric and the virgin nylon used in pervious years, we couldn’t tell. golite.com